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12 April 2006 @ 07:04 pm
Slashy Awards 141: I'm Never in One Place; I Roam from Town to Town  
(True story about the title of this set: I had to look up the actual lyrics. I grew up singing the version of this song that goes, "I'm never in one place/I'm distributed over all space/I'm the electron." I...yeah. I was raised among the physicists, and I learned their tragically geeky native folkways only too well. As shown by the fact that I mutinously refused to transcribe the lyrics as written and just damn well fixed that comma splice.)

So. Last week was crappy for me, the kind of week that might make other people load up the car and drive off into the west (although, given where I live, it had better be a really short drive, 'cause if we didn't stop for pancakes five minutes in, we'd hit the ocean). I'm not a big fan of the random travel, though. (I'm not, um. Actually much of a fan of travel at all. My ideal journey is one taken by someone else, someone who wrote about it and then sent me a free copy of the book. Travel essays? Very much so. Actual travel, with strangers and hotel rooms and unfamiliar food? I need some time to work up to that.) So I just read road trip stories. And then I recommend them to you all, in case you also had a crappy week.

If you did, this set is dedicated to you. With my love and my intentions of staying very much in one place: fan fiction about travel.

The Story from When the World Was Young and Dreamed Not of the Big Gay (Interspecies) Love. But That Didn't Mean the Big Gay Love Wasn't Happening, You Know? Seawrack, by Hossgal, aka leadensky. Lord of the Rings, genish, or maybe it's Legolas/Gimli - who can say?

See, this story illustrates perfectly the problem I have recommending in LotR and all the other universes created back in the days when your average writer thought of The Gay as the unspeakable vice of the Greeks: namely, that it's impossible to tell what's gen and what's non-explicit slash. I mean, on the one hand, here we have a story in which Gimli frantically seeks out a missing Legolas, finds him navigating entirely based on feelings, curls up with him under a blanket, and asks him to swear that they will be together forever. To me, that reads like slash - hell, I've read 3,000 dS stories with that plot line. On the other hand, J.R.R. himself could've written precisely this story, and he didn't even write het romance; as far as I can tell, he deeply, deeply wished that sentient beings reproduced via courtly exchanges of epic poetry.

But, confusion or no, I had to recommend this. It's beautiful - it really does read like something Tolkien could've written, if he'd miraculously recovered from his two most annoying writing habits* - and it fits perfectly into the canon. And it's all about travel - about a trip Gimli takes through Middle Earth, and about a trip he and Legolas will take across the sea. Plus, pretty much all of LotR is about travel, and yet I don't think I've ever put an LotR story into a travel set - obviously a tragic omission, now remedied with this gorgeous, gorgeous (and ambiguously slashy) piece.

The Story That Proves That Psychometric Clairvoyants Bring a Whole New Meaning to the Concept of "Do What You Have to Do." The Big Picture, by cesperanza. Dead Zone, Johnny Smith/Walt Bannerman.

Any summary I could write for this story would sound like the start of a joke. "So, this small-town sheriff and his psychic friend are on a road trip..." (Don't ask me what the punchline would be. You do not want to live the horror that is me trying to tell a joke.) But, you know, that isn't it at all. Well, I mean, Speranza wrote it; the story summary could be "Two characters fuck their way across time, space, and three separate parallel dimensions," and somehow there would be plot and humor and tension, like, all this storytelling everywhere. She's just that way, and I salute her for it.

So. Not a joke. (And, really, we should all be glad. Because the thing is, I get, like, hideously polite silence when I try to tell jokes. Except sometimes people do laugh, but if they do, it will be in the middle. Not at the funny part, in other words. When the punchline comes, it will still be hideously polite silence, sometimes followed by an encouraging, "...Yes. And then what happened?") Instead, there's plot galore - this is pretty much a classic procedural mystery story, with the added kink that the mystery is in the future. And that, right there, is what fascinates me about this story. I don't want to spoil it, but - this story sets up an ethical dilemma that is, um. Damn. It really is impossible to talk about this without spoiling it. Suffice to say that it'd be tough to write this story as anything but fan fiction, and if anyone wants to discuss it further than that, I am all for it, because wow.

The Story That Demonstrates That N'Sync Is a Powerful Force, Uniting People Who, Let's Face It, We Probably Don't Actually Want to Be Together. Anywhere But Here, by Sarah T., aka harriet_spy. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, gen.

You know, I spent this entire story riveted to the screen, and that is just totally unlike me, for the record; generally I have to pause at potentially embarrassing or disturbing or sad moments, play some Spider or Sudoku or something and brace for the inevitable. (It isn't inevitable, of course, but it feels that way. And if that hasn't told you entirely too much about my way of handling change (DENY DENY DENY), this will: I also tend, at those moments, to re-read the paragraphs of the story that I've already enjoyed, as reassurance and encouragement. There are some stories I can recite whole chunks of because of this tendency of mine.) This story is filled with disturbing moments, and yet I couldn't stop. Something about the road trip construction, perhaps; there is always this kind of what-happens-next imperative to a road trip story.

Or, hey, it could be the people who are on the road trip: Ethan Rayne and Dawn Summers are not precisely the perfect candidates for a fun buddy-movie style drive to Vegas. (As a total side note, people, please: link me to the story about Ethan, Giles, and John Constantine hanging out together in the 1970s, and maybe being in a bad band and doing a lot of really bad-ass magic. Please. They were meant to be, seriously.) There's a surprising amount of fun on the way to the seriously-I-mean-it-this-time inevitable chaos and disaster, though, and it made me - it made me want to see even more of this. Which should tell you precisely how amazing and compelling this story is, since I am not usually the person who wants to see good characters go bad, and I am so not a fan of chaos. But it's just - yeah. It's a story that I would've said couldn't work, and now I can't help wanting to see a whole universe based on it. Wow.

The Story That Will Fill You with a Strange Desire to Seek Cold, Cold Places and Order Wine in Them. Fight This Urge. Antarctica Has Some Down Sides, I Hear. Harsh Continent, by 30toseoul. Stargate: Atlantis, gen. (Look. It was posted in a slash community, but I see nothing in here that I don't see in the canon, so...gen, I guess, is what I'm gonna call it.)

This is just - this is just the most perfect Sheppard-in-Antarctica story ever. For one thing, it feels real. (I read this story a lot, trying to figure out what it is, stylistically speaking, that gives it the air of authenticity. I have no answer as yet, although I have, as you might expect, several theories.) For another - this is Sheppard at the end of the road; this story made me realize that when Sheppard said, in Rising, that Antarctica was the only continent he'd never been on, what he meant was that it was the only continent he wasn't finished with. Which makes the whole Pegasus Galaxy trip rather unsurprising, and now I want to poke him and make fun, all: "No matter what the coin said, you were going through the wormhole, 'cause where else could you go? But some people are just so good at their little denial games."

And, at the core, that's what this story is for me: an incredibly revealing look at the character of one John Sheppard, USAF. He handles Antarctica precisely the same way we'll see him handling unfamiliar planets in Pegasus - basically, he's lost most of the time, and never really knows what he's doing when he's on the ground, but he manages surprisingly well anyway. And he interacts with the assembled McMurdo, SGC, and military staff pretty much the way he will with people on Atlantis: he smiles, gets people to like him without letting them know him, and gives in way too much to Rodney McKay. So, you know, I love this story. A lot. Yup yup yup.

-Footnote-

* Namely, PoV disorders (like, he's always telling us about a battle from the perspective of a character who is hearing about it from a guy who wasn't there but heard it from these two other guys who were) and inability to break up the narrative to indicate simultaneity; if two characters were separate - and they often were - but doing things at the same time, he'd tell all of character A's story, even if it lasted for 100 pages and most of a century, and then switch over to character B, slam the plot into reverse, and start all over again, back in Rivendell or wherever. What, you thought I didn't actually have a list? I always have a list, people.
 
 
 
frostfirefrostfire_17 on April 12th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
Heh. I don't know about the 70's, and okay, no Giles, but for Ethan and Constantine...

http://www.ravenswing.com/~mirrorgirl/border.html

Yeah.
tried to eat the safe banana: Sorrow's end fractalthefourthvine on April 13th, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)
Oh, god, I'd completely forgotten about that one, which is amusing, since I recommended it back when the universe (or, okay, this LJ) was new.

But! There has to be a story of Ethan, Giles, and John in London in the '70s. With a band. And magic. Because oh my *god* the similarities. And the intersection of time is more or less perfect - John would've been in London in, um - starting in about 1969, I think. His major hobbies for the next ten to fifteen years were bad punk bands, drugs, and black magic. (Actually, his major hobbies to date have been drugs and black magic. He got over the band, though.)

And in an AU somewhere, John Constantine is a watcher and Rupert Giles is the Hellblazer. I can totally, totally see it.

*whimpers*

Now I'm experiencing two of those hideous story ideas that you know you'll never write, and in fact shouldn't write, but that will not leave you alone. Because they would work! They would so work!

*mutters incoherently*

*raves*
frostfirefrostfire_17 on April 13th, 2006 10:03 am (UTC)
Man, I *would* write those, but I *can't*. Because a) I haven't seen the Buffy canon in years, b) I've read like one issue of Hellblazer ever, c) I've never been to London, and d) I wasn't born until like six years after the 70's ended, so I know nothing about them, either.

Dammit.

SOMEBODY should write those.

*raves with you*
amescarta on April 12th, 2006 09:13 pm (UTC)
he'd tell all of character A's story, even if it lasted for 100 pages and most of a century

Which is precisely why it took me years to appreciate or even remotely enjoy The Two Towers. Gah.
tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on April 13th, 2006 03:43 am (UTC)
Oh, I hear that. Yes. I gave up on LotR halfway through TTT, the first time I tried the series; that incredible narrative break - "And now, gentle reader, let me tell you what Sam and Frodo were doing all this time, and by 'all this time' I mean since the book started" - just killed my 12-year-old attention span dead.

I now choose to view that book as two novellas. For some reason, that helps a lot.
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glass: Eowyn by annamichaelsdzurlady on April 13th, 2006 07:10 am (UTC)
Well, Tolkien did intend it to be published as six seperate books, IIRC - the publishers just decided three actual books of two books each would be better.
I actually thought it was kinda cool - I mean, I get the frustration, but if he'd leap-frogged from scene to scene I think the build and the impact would have been less.
(Deleted comment)
Do not taunt Happy Fun Ballrokeon on April 12th, 2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
No matter what the coin said, you were going through the wormhole

I agree completely.
tried to eat the safe banana: All the bees are ded.thefourthvine on April 13th, 2006 03:47 am (UTC)
Yes! Yes, that's it precisely.

*admires your brilliance*
Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball: Wheee!rokeon on April 13th, 2006 07:01 am (UTC)
*beams*
Wychwood: SGA - Shep choiceswychwood on April 13th, 2006 02:25 am (UTC)
Awesome recs, as ever *g*.

On the other hand, J.R.R. himself could've written precisely this story, and he didn't even write het romance; as far as I can tell, he deeply, deeply wished that sentient beings reproduced via courtly exchanges of epic poetry.

So true! *g*

I loved Harsh Continent, too. The authenticity - um, probably comes at least in part from the fact that 30toseoul spent something like three years in Antarctica. That was one of the things I really liked about it, though - it wasn't "Antarctica the beautiful continent", lots of vistas of ice and snow; it was Antarctica the military / scientific base, with all the messiness and the good and bad elements you get from that.
tried to eat the safe banana: three globesthefourthvine on April 13th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)
Awesome recs, as ever *g*.

Thank you!

The authenticity - um, probably comes at least in part from the fact that 30toseoul spent something like three years in Antarctica.

*blushes*

Um, yeah. That just might explain it. (I feel like a dork; I mean, since it's right on her user info page, I probably should've, you know, already known that. But mostly I feel the satisfaction of a mystery solved. So thank you; I would probably have missed that altogether if you hadn't pointed it out.)

it was Antarctica the military / scientific base, with all the messiness and the good and bad elements you get from that.

Yes, exactly. It was Antarctica the dress rehearsal for Atlantis, in fact.

Well, no wonder John is happy in Atlantis; he liked Antarctica, and really they're not that different. (Except, to the best of my knowledge, there are no space vampires in Antarctica.)
Wychwood: SGA - Rodney illegal idiocywychwood on April 13th, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)
Hey, no reason why you would have checked! :)

And yes, Antarctica the isolated base and all, you're right; I hadn't thought of that before. Which, um, is a sign of my dumbness right there :)
leadensky on April 13th, 2006 04:47 am (UTC)
If I had had a list - like, say, a list of the things I expected to find when I woke up this morning - which I did not, but let's pretend I did -

had I had that list, a handful of feedback comments and this entry would not have been on that list at all.

Thank you for pointing out Harsh Continent.

- hossgal
tried to eat the safe banana: Sorrow's end fractalthefourthvine on April 14th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)
If I had had a list - like, say, a list of the things I expected to find when I woke up this morning - which I did not, but let's pretend I did -

I find myself wondering what would have been on that list (Earth still orbiting the sun? Bed refuses to make itself? Yogurt?), but, okay. Pretending.

*pretends*

had I had that list, a handful of feedback comments and this entry would not have been on that list at all.

Yup! Because it's fandom: a never-ending source of surprises. (Uh, the good kind of surprise, right? I mean, no one who came from here said bad things or anything, right?)

Thank you for pointing out Harsh Continent.

You are entirely welcome. It's a wonderful story.
leadensky on April 14th, 2006 08:04 pm (UTC)
It was the *best* sort of surprise - everyone was very kind and delightful. Again, thank you.

- hg
ReginaGiraffe: Raffe Radiation - Heuradysreginagiraffe on April 13th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC)
You made me stay up very late, rereading The Big Picture. Hmmph.

Fortunately my boss is out today so I don't have to pretend coherence. (Huh, which is actually kind of a pun, considering what I do. And therefore, I'll use my laser icon.)
tried to eat the safe banana: Orbitalthefourthvine on April 14th, 2006 07:58 pm (UTC)
You made me stay up very late, rereading The Big Picture. Hmmph.

*adds this to the List of Things I'm Proud Of*

ortunately my boss is out today so I don't have to pretend coherence. (Huh, which is actually kind of a pun, considering what I do. And therefore, I'll use my laser icon.)

Lasers, huh? Am I allowed to ask what sort?
ReginaGiraffereginagiraffe on April 14th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC)
Lasers, huh? Am I allowed to ask what sort?

Oh, sure!

I work on one of these. It's called a flow cytometer and it measures various properties of cells by using antibodies tagged with fluorescent molecules which are excited by a laser (our set-up actually has three different lasers). They're all fairly low power, the highest is only 100mW.

It's pretty cool. *g*
Bettybrown_betty on April 13th, 2006 07:42 am (UTC)
I would like to randomly admire "J.R.R. himself could've written precisely this story, and he didn't even write het romance; as far as I can tell, he deeply, deeply wished that sentient beings reproduced via courtly exchanges of epic poetry." Yes.
tried to eat the safe banana: Non-human surfacesthefourthvine on April 14th, 2006 08:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

It is a source of constant wonderment to me that J.R.R. managed to reproduce at all. Either his wife was a very patient, wily woman, or he actually did find a way to do it with epic poetry.
Sue30toseoul on April 14th, 2006 10:35 am (UTC)
Thank you for the incredible rec! I've been following your rec posts for a long time (from another LJ name where I wrote pointless porn) and it was a real shock to see my own story listed here. It's my first piece of real fanfiction and I'm blown away by the response. Thank god I did justice to both Sheppard and the Ice. *g*

Thanks again!
tried to eat the safe banana: SGA smart/prettythefourthvine on April 14th, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC)
Oooo. Do I know you under your other name? (Because, hey, I'm all for pointless porn. It makes my world a better place.)

it was a real shock to see my own story listed here.

Well, I totally needed to recommend it; it's a gorgeous piece. But I myself am somewhat shocked that I managed to get it up here the same week it was posted.

*takes a moment to be awed by her timeliness*

And thanks again for the story. I loved, loved, loved John's Antarctica. It made me want to go live there. Like, tomorrow.
insanenekoinsaneneko on April 16th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
Hi, I'm just commenting because I friended you (after checking out your journal periodically for quite a while now). I am basically here for your SGA recs. Though because I read and seek out new fics obsessively I generally have read the recced fics already, I enjoy what you have to say about them. I'm terrible at objective analysis and/or commentary, and I love reading that kind of thing by other people.

And regarding Harsh Continent, I loved: "For another - this is Sheppard at the end of the road; this story made me realize that when Sheppard said, in Rising, that Antarctica was the only continent he'd never been on, what he meant was that it was the only continent he wasn't finished with." Exactly.
c-dub, She Who Smirks: rice krispies: THE ENEMYcdubyah on April 23rd, 2006 11:30 pm (UTC)
Hi there, I just discovered your journal and wanted to thank you for all the great recs you put up here! Also, I was filled with joy at the Vash/Trigun reference in your info ("This is all about love, people - love and peace, to quote a man much crazier (and better at dodging bullets) than I am.), so thanks for that too.
Sue30toseoul on July 31st, 2011 02:06 am (UTC)
Harsh Continent is here now: http://archiveofourown.org/works/226547

(And thank you again years later for the rec, love. You're awesome.)
japankasasagijapankasasagi on November 1st, 2013 12:19 am (UTC)
Hello! I left a comment on your dreamdwidth, but I'll leave the same one here, in the hopes that you get a notification for at least one of them..! I am trying desperately to find a hard copy of Leadensky's "Seawrack", since they've deleted their LJ, and I can't find them by their other name. Do you have it saved as a document by any chance at all? If you do, could you PM me, and I can tell you my email address? I really, really appreciate it. Thank you!
tried to eat the safe banana: Andthefourthvine on November 1st, 2013 06:30 am (UTC)
Hi! I responded on DW, but I'm not sure a notification there will get to you (I genuinely have no idea how openID works), and anyway, I have an update with good news.

When I responded on DW, I said I didn't have it and I didn't know anyone who did, but I'd ask around. I did, and a friend of mine managed to get in touch with hossgal, who said you can find the story here. Yay!
japankasasagijapankasasagi on November 1st, 2013 04:02 pm (UTC)
wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee~!! Thank you SO MUCH! I don't know why I didn't think to just plug in Hossgal to LJ and find her that way. I'm so glad that Hossgal kept it on the web. I noticed that she seems to have left LJ, which is a shame, but I'm glad she was generous enough to keep her work up. I do have it saved to word now, and the link saved too. Thank you again for getting back to me, I really, really appreciate it!