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19 May 2005 @ 11:29 am
Slashy Nominations 119: In Small Fandoms We Great Beauties See  
Oh, how I love the small fandoms, the smaller the better. The first one in today's set can be considered, at any rate, an actual fandom; the other three are...a wee bit rarer than that.

So why should you read FF from a fandom you have no interest in based on canon you've never heard of? Well, in this case, because they're all absolutely brilliant. (There's other reasons - like, oh, the strange unworldly beauty of a perfect story written in a fandom so rare that only eight people will ever read it. Plus, you know, authors really have to be driven to write in such tiny fandoms, and sometimes what's driving them is genius. Think on it.)

Small fandoms are love, folks. Trust me on this. And read on.

Best FF That Proves That the Right Kind of Friend Can Always Think of Something Gripping to Do, Even When You're Stuck up a Tree with Distressingly Poky Branches. Priorities, by penknife. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent/Ford Prefect. Sort of. But, for me, this verges on gen; Ford always struck me as omnisexual, after all, and game for anything - ideally, something fairly perverse and sticky. (Well, OK, not the first time I read the first book, but I was nine. "Sexual" was not a word then in my vocabulary, except as translated "something boring that appears in a surprising number of otherwise interesting books." Although, oddly enough, I read I, Robot at the same age, and picked up on the slash in it to a degree that has, to this day, made Donovan/Powell my original OTP.) And this (I'm back to the story now) is so mild and subtle Douglas Adams could have written it. The story is bitty, but it's perfect in characterization and tone and just generally so in line with canon that I suspect Penknife of channeling Adams himself. Well, if he'd also had an interest in guy-on-guy porn, magical school kids, and mutants, which is actually sort of a horrifying thought. So. Moving right along - the great part about this story is what isn't in here. The more I write FF, the more I realize how hard it is to include just the bits you need and pare off all the extraneous bits. Penknife did brilliantly at that with this one, cutting out the explanations (totally unnecessary and unlikely to make sense in the Hitchhiker's universe anyway) in favor of pure, delightful dialog. And, you know, menacing towel-ripping spidery things, but surely that goes without saying.

Best FF That Proves Herman Melville Should've Spent Less Time Staring at a Supposedly Whale-Shaped Mountain and More Time with a Certain Tattooed Gentleman. Way, Way More Time. Taniwha, by norah. Moby Dick, Ishmael/Queequeg. OK, first: how much do I love MMWD that I had to choose between several of her stories for this category? But of course I had to go with this piece. It's Moby Dick, people: the original Big Gay Book Featuring a Very Symbolic Whale (And Did I, Herman Melville, Mention the Gay? Many Times, Actually). But now: new, improved, with added Queequeg and gay! (Which doesn't even seem possible, but turns out to be.) And, best of all? This story was written for meeeeee*. (The book itself was not. Had it been, I would've said to Herman, very sternly: "Fewer and better whale butchering scenes, Herm. And when I say 'better,' what I mean is 'even less than fewer.' Get me? Whereas feel free to throw in all the gay you can lay hands on.") So my love for this story knows knows no bounds; every time I visit it, I spend a few moments being quietly but thoroughly happy. And then I read the story, and I'm really happy, because it is, well, the first part of the Big Gay Book, but from the point of view of Queequeg, also known as "the most interesting character in the book by a margin too high to calculate." Ever since I first read the Big Gay, I've wanted to know more about him - what he thought, who he was, how he ended up sleeping with (canon, my friends!) an American schoolteacher. And now I do. Because I am totally convinced that this is what Melville would've written if he'd a) been in control of his novel or b) been less distracted by the shiny glories of dead whales. For me, this is canon now. After you read it, you'll think so, too. Bonus: if you've never read Moby Dick, not to worry; you can get this just fine without it.

Best FF That Proves You Should Never, Ever Turn Your Back on Furniture. And If That Means You Never Sit Down Again? Trust Me, After This You Won't Want To. Wings, by stiletto. The Wishing Chair, Chair/Chinky. OK. I already know that there are two reactions in the reading audience right now. Many, maybe most, of you are saying, "Wishing Chair wuh-huh?" For you, I say: it is a children's book, actually a children's book series, by Enid Blyton, who had a really unsettling effect on my childhood. Unsettling, at any rate, when I try to read those stories as an adult, because subtext? Oh yes, my dears, but not the good kind. Still, I read everything the woman ever wrote, including the books out of print and the books never published in my country, and that has to mean something. Even if it mostly means that I tend to talk a lot more about lashings of ginger beer than any American or anyone of my age should. So, quick summary of the canon: children's book. Magic. A chair that grows wings and flies. A disturbing pixie thing named Chinky. Insipid children. Got it? Let's all now move on to the second prevailing reaction, which is, "Oh my god no no no eeee my brain my eyes oh god my precious internal organs all turned to ash and salt at the very thought, damn you. The pain...it is too much...dying. Dying, now - my sight grows dim. Alas, woe, dead." This comes, obviously, from those familiar with the series. My first message to that bunch is: get over it. I did. Yes, I died at the very thought, but I returned from eternity and read the thing, because nothing comes betwixt me and my FF. And you know, when you get past the horrid-bad-wrong-ness of it all, the story is actually...rather amazingly good. And it really puts the right frame around the disturbing subtext of the Blyton canon, you know? Read. Marvel. And while you do, try to avoid swearing purity and chastity in all things for the rest of your life, because that never works out well.

Best FF That Proves That Love Is Really the Key to the Universe. Well, Given Certain Vaguely Creepy Definitions of Love. Artificial Devotion, by katie_m. Galaxy Quest, but not the movie - the made-up TV show the movie was about. Oh. And the pairing? Let's just call it gen, shall we? So, OK, wow. This is FF for a canon that doesn't even exist. Fandoms don't get a lot smaller than that. And yet this piece patches holes in the show so perfectly and neatly that I kind of wish there really was a show, just so I could read more stuff like this. Or, hey, I'm not picky - I'll take RPF (like Livia's phenomenal and previously recommended Habitation). Or how 'bout the future of the Thermians? I'll go for anything. As long as it is as good and funny and downright brilliant as "Artificial Devotion," which shakes out and totally remakes an ancient SF cliche. (Basically, early SF writers' unfortunate answer to the puzzler, "We need girls to keep the guys happy. But what could females possibly do in space? Or science? Thinking is right out, and that leaves...huh. Wowee geewhilikers, that's a poser!") katie_m has a gift for seeing from unusual points of view, for telling the fascinating stories lurking just out of sight in a canon, and in this story, she writes very true to form indeed. She shows us Tawny Madison as a real person and her job as a real job, and it is utterly convincing and right and good and...and I just get wibbly thinking about it, obviously. So my advice: stop listening to me; I've got no sense left in me now. Go read these stories, instead. Because...wow. Just, wow.

-Footnote-

* I haven't forgotten about Pirates, by the way, MMWD. My ability to write it would be greatly facilitated if someone would release a single decent version of it on DVD, or, alternatively, if Opera a la Carte or someone would come back to LA sometime this century, ideally with Pirates of Penzance in tow. Working from the script, I'm finding, is not quite the same. But it progresses. Slowly. I did give up on the idea of not recommending your story until I finished mine, though, because - really. I'm not out to deprive people.
 
 
 
A Certain Ms Uneslemslempike on May 19th, 2005 11:42 am (UTC)
Oh, that Galaxy Quest one is incredible! I was expecting something completely different, and I can quite see why you get wibbly about it. Amazing.

(That Chair thing is rather creepy. In a crazed genius kind of way.)
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on May 21st, 2005 12:12 am (UTC)
You know, for a moment I considered not including the Chair one. Not, mind you, because I didn't want to scar people for life; anyone who has been reading this LJ for a while - or FF in general - is much too tough to suffer in any lasting way. No, I just wondered if anyone besides me had read the Blyton books. I mean, you can get the story without knowing the canon, but having read the canon adds whole new levels of amazement and fascination.

And then I thought, well, I bet slemslempike has read them, at any rate. And I posted it. So you brought the creepy into your own life! Nifty, huh?
Isobel: Voyagermissizzy on May 19th, 2005 11:43 am (UTC)
I remember reading a fic depicting the Thermian leader's thoughts after the humans leave for earth, which tried to provide a bit of explanation as to why the Thermians didn't understand deception for so long. Unfortunatly, I've never been able to find it again.
erjika: Santa Cruz/Feulnererjika on May 19th, 2005 11:43 am (UTC)
!!! Must run to campus, but the very idea that you have recced not only a Moby Dick fanfic but Moby Dick itself is... YES. Gayest book ever. And I still haven't gotten to the actual whaling part. XD
aliquid stat pro aliquomaygra on May 19th, 2005 11:57 am (UTC)
I am off to read Wings because! Guh, I'd forogotten I read that and so glad you synopsized it becasue I would never have recalled ghe author's name (it was forever ago!)


also...bean sprout...and other edibles.
cimness on May 19th, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC)
the link for "habitation" leads to "artificial devotion" again.
tried to eat the safe banana: I've been badthefourthvine on May 19th, 2005 03:21 pm (UTC)
Damn. Thank you for letting me know.

And arg. Since I switched to Firefox, that's been happening way more - ctrl-c is not what we'd call reliable in this browser, apparently - but this time it was weird; I couldn't get any of the key commands to work at all and ended up typing in the link by hand.

But it should work now. And if it doesn't, I will fix it again, because it is an amazing story that everyone in the world should read. (Sometimes I think I should go back and do a great big Things I Rec'd Early on That Recent Joiners May Have Missed but Would Probably Prefer Not To post, because, seriously. I don't want anyone to miss those early ones just because I now have too many entries for people to page back through them.)
a chaotically swirling popsicle of confusion: insomniacjoyfulseeker on May 19th, 2005 10:48 pm (UTC)
What? You mean people didn't actually go through starting from 1 and reading up to the present (at that point I think you were in the eighties)? Okay, admittedly I was bored and desperate, but nonetheless. Also, that Moby Dick rec is awesome. I should go tell MMWD.
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cimness on May 20th, 2005 01:06 am (UTC)
it would be a lot of trouble, but it might be worth it to organise them in your memories by fandom or something too.
Katie M.katie_m on May 19th, 2005 12:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the rec! Poor trapped Tawny.
Iphiginia Saberhagen: Cleo flying squirrel tacklefanofall on May 19th, 2005 04:54 pm (UTC)
Do you know why there aren't any decent versions of Pirates on DVD? Because live, it's pretty good, but on DVD, it's ANNOYING. Really. I Netflixed a version from...I don't know, Toronto Summer Theatre, or something, and THE CHEESE MY GOD THE CHEESE.

In other news, YAY BIG GAY WHALES!
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Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on May 20th, 2005 08:03 am (UTC)
What is the good version? Seriously, I'm asking. I made Bean watch it, and even she thought it was cheezy with a capital "chee", and she's EIGHT. So, suggestions welcome.
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Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glass: I used to be sane by Dzurladydzurlady on May 19th, 2005 09:14 pm (UTC)
Usually I stay away from the small fandoms. One of the shineiest I stumbled across had about 8 stories, and only one really good author. Woe.

And Pirates! I sang that last year! And then we watched A Pirate Movie which was beautifully hilarious in its cheesiness and even better with the subtitles on. An added bonus was that it was filmed in Melbourne, where I live, and I recognised many of the sets. *loves* So bad that it's good.
amber: l&w - frankbentley on May 20th, 2005 01:33 am (UTC)
People talk about their past coming back to haunt them but I never thought it actually happened. Oh, my god.
Luminositysockkpuppett on May 23rd, 2005 07:30 am (UTC)
Totally OT
I tried to send you an email yesterday in answer to your Sunday morning mail to me, and I just got back a "delivery failed" notification. Please advise. :)
tried to eat the safe banana: Big eyesthefourthvine on May 23rd, 2005 08:54 am (UTC)
Re: Totally OT
*eyes email server warily*

Because, see, I got that email. The delivery notification, I mean. If it was another one, please resend it. My fannish email is intermittently cantankerous (seriously; those servers have capital-I Issues), but it shouldn't reject you twice in a row.

Unless you've forgotten to propitiate the computer gods, of course.

But, really - got the notification and dl'd and thank you and am impatiently waiting for Best Beloved to become available so I can watch it (Ring Vid Snark is a very popular genre in this household). Didn't get anything else, so if there was anything, please resend. If we all work together, we can stamp out grouchy servers! (Provided someone remembered to bring an axe.)
cupidsbowcupidsbow on May 24th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC)
This was a particularly good rec set. I'd already read, loved and recced MMWD's Moby Dick epic, but it was nice to re-visit. I adored both the HHGTTG and the Galaxy Quest. OMG, Tawny! I want *more* dammit!

The Wishing Chair fic wasn't my thing, although I share your fascination with Edid Blyton stories. I was obsessed with the Famous Five books as a kid. And Noddy! I think he and Big Ears plus Bert and Ernie were close to my original OTPs.

Thanks for such a great set.
a.k.a. Katie: does my geek look big in this?soupytwist on May 30th, 2005 12:07 pm (UTC)
Oh my Lord Wishing Chair fanfic. I'm... not entirely sure whether I love you or hate you for that one, but probably love cause your recs have an annoying tendency of doing that to me, damn you. :) Plus, Blyton canon is one of the dodgiest things in the world ever when read as an adult, so the fic was probably inevitable.

Also, good Hitchhiker's fic is wonderful, but even more so is the knowledge that someone other than me shipped Donovan/Powell. Cause, yay.
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on June 1st, 2005 08:30 am (UTC)
Oh my god. I think I love you. I was seriously starting to think I was the only person on the planet who had a) read I, Robot and b) seen the slashiness in it.

But - have you ever actually found Donovan/Powell? Because I haven't, and it's just - it's a tragedy, totally. So, you know, there is both joy and sorrow for me today: joy that I've found another (maybe we could start a support group!), but sorrow that Donovan/Powell exists only in imagination.

(Plus, I love you doubly for this:

Blyton canon is one of the dodgiest things in the world ever when read as an adult

Because it does not get more true than that. I was astonished, the first time I picked up a Blyton as a grownup, to discover how the book had mutated.)
a.k.a. Katiesoupytwist on June 2nd, 2005 07:07 pm (UTC)
I've never found any Donovan/Powell either, though I looked. Which is just wrong, because damn, the whole freaking situation might as well have been designed for slash, even without the "space pants make everyone gay" effect. And ooh, the punny potential for a support group name! *snickers*

I was astonished, the first time I picked up a Blyton as a grownup, to discover how the book had mutated.

Oh man, me too. I found the fact one of the Famous Five was called Dick funny even when I was nine, but I missed a whole load of the even less intentional doginess. And there's Aunt Fanny and all the ridiculous situations and then there's all the school stories, which might as well be pseudo lesbian porn. Hee.