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16 December 2008 @ 03:09 pm
184: It's Been a Long Time.  
My Yuletide stories are in the hands of my betas. I am trembling with fear. Obviously, it's time for some nice long distracting fan fiction!

The One That Will Make You Want a Pair of Rust-Colored Trousers. Resist the Temptation. Please. Get Loved, Make More, Try to Stay Alive, by dsudis. Torchwood, Captain Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones.

Here's what I know about Torchwood: there's this guy named Jack, who was introduced on Doctor Who in the SCARIEST EPISODE I HAVE EVER SEEN OF ANYTHING. (From this, you may conclude that I am a wimp. You are entirely right.) He caught a nasty case of immortality a while back. Now he works for Torchwood, an agency that monitors alien presence on the planet Earth. (And where are the Torchwood x MiB crossovers? That's so obvious it has to be, like, a whole sub-genre of the fandom!) He's head of Torchwood in Cardiff. Cardiff is a very strange place. He and his team manage to fit some alien-fighting and world-saving in between their frequent orgies.

Okay. I'm making the orgies part up. It's just, every time I see pictures of the Torchwood cast on my friends list, someone is always macking on someone else, and so in my mind Torchwood is a story about alien fighters who fuck. Or fuckers who fight aliens. Whatever.

ANYWAY. I'm not an expert on Torchwood, but I can tell you that this story is shiny perfection. It's like Dira took perfection and then somehow polished it up and found a whole new level of perfect underneath. There is time travel! There is the future! There is romance and love and loss and what people wore! There is...okay, yes, there's MPreg. But it's the good kind of MPreg. (And, yes, there is such a thing.) Also, there isn't very much MPreg, or any description of, you know, pregnancy-related fluids and suchlike. Please do not run screaming.

This story features something I have always wanted to see done and never before witnessed in all of fan fiction: a guy gets pregnant and does not immediately decide that he's keeping his baby. (Not that there is anything wrong with either that concept or that vid. Far, far from.) For that alone, I would have loved this story, and then Dira had to go and add about 50,000 more words of wonderfulness just so that I would have to figure out what is even more love than love. (The answer, by the way, would be "love." It's very deep.)

This story is everything in the world that makes me happy.

The One Where We Get All That Unpleasant Character Death Business out of the Way before the Story Starts, and the Character Himself Doesn't Really Take Any Notice of It. The Difference Engine, by copperbadge. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay.

When I went to write this set, I got all pouty because I couldn't rec this, on account of some dickwad hacked the community and deleted it. But now it is back, and I am recommending it while I can, because I love it. And who doesn't love stories in which John Sheppard is a robot? (Or, in this case, I think he's technically a cyborg. I don't know. I didn't major in cyberpunk or whatever.)

The first lines of this story are pretty much the textbook definition of a narrative hook - seriously, why can't I do that? It takes me like 2,000 words just to get to the part that might vaguely interest at least a few of my readers - and it just gets better from there.

I've always loved stories that offered solid explanations for John Sheppard's occasional, you know, oddness. ("He's a big ol' gay queer homosexual" is perhaps the most frequently offered explanation, but sucking cock can't explain everything, people! I know, I know. I'm heartbroken too.) And this explains it better than most. He has subroutines! He has programming! He has technically already died!

Wait. Does that mean this story is about an undead robot? Because I think if we start combining those two genres, we could end up with the kind of mutant subgenre that proves to have superstrength and mind control and starts taking over all of fiction.

And I for one will not be sorry if that proves to be the case. Only rarely is fiction this wonderful. Going on the available evidence, undead robots make everything better.

The One That Has Robot Space Mounties. Why Are There No Robot Space Mounties Right Now? Forget the Flying Car. The Future Will Only Arrive When We Have Robot Space Mounties. Real Boys and Real Worlds, by troyswann. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.

Okay. I realize that, taken in conjunction with the previous recommendation, this set makes it look like I have some sort of deep need to see various characters as robots. That would be totally, entirely false. A scurrilous lie. For the record, I have not even considered, for example, the AU where all the immortals in Highlander are immortal because they're self-repairing robots (and their permanent deactivation switch is buried deep in their neck). Nor do I frequently ponder Jim Ellison as a robot with a superior sensory processor and a minor chip malfunction. And I never think about how I could totally read Supernatural if only Dean Winchester was a robot.

...Possibly I am a liar. It's totally not my fault, though; I imprinted early on I, Robot, which taught me the joys of robot-adjacent slash. It just took fandom to show me how much better it is if the robot is more fully involved.

Anyway. This story is so much more than just Benton Fraser as a robot. (Although you can hardly deny that that is the best concept to come down the pike in a very long time.) It's real SF, with a background world of extreme awesomeness and Kowalski as a queer (Not that kind of queer. Or, okay, not only that kind of queer) cop and Frannie as something so incredibly wonderful I will not describe it to you, but trust me, I nearly fainted with happiness when I read Real Boys for the first time. There was risk of joy-induced head trauma, I tell you what. This story has ACTION. And PLOT. (Basically, this story has all those really hard bits that I remember I can't write, every damn Yuletide.)

You know what this is? This is what Philip K. Dick would have written if he could actually write. (Look, the man had some great ideas, but he wrote like he was on massive quantities of opiates and had only a glancing acquaintance with reality and, you know, people.) Well, I mean, assuming he also had developed an interest in gay robots.

But, really, who is not interested in gay robots? NOT ME.

The One Where It's Totally in Character to Use the Word "Lover," and in Fact I'm Kind of Surprised the PoV Character Doesn't Surround That with Little Hearts, Too. Diplomatic Relations, by maldoror_gw. Naruto, Gaara/Rock Lee.

He's an overeager hopeless romantic! And he is a psychopathic serial killer possessed by a demon! Together, they fight crime! No, really, they do. It's very touching and sweet.

I have only the vaguest understanding of Naruto, and even my reaction to the idea of Gaara hooking up with anyone (for purposes of sex and romance - I mean, if Gaara hooked up with someone for a worldwide killing spree, that I would believe) was blank disbelief. And Rock Lee is not exactly - he's not exactly the mate for Gaara, is all I'm saying.

And yet. And yet. This so works. I'm not sure why it works - we're talking about a lengthy romance conducted between a guy who has only a passing acquaintance with humanity and a guy who sincerely believes in Truth! And Beauty! And Love! Above all things, he believes in Love. (Okay, and martial arts.) It's inexplicably wonderful, is what it is, and you don't need to know anything about Naruto at all to love this. (Here's what I know: there's these people, like ninjas except with extra super ninja goodness, and they fight. Um, each other, and also bad guys. Some of them are possessed by demons, which gives them even more extra special abilities, but causes them to have traumatic childhoods. The main character is Naruto, also known, in this case, as Sir Barely Appearing in This Story. And...that's really pretty much it. Oh, and the series apparently eats people's brains.)

This story is funny (turns out there is endless humor to be found in the fact that Gaara knows 3000 ways to kill people but only two and a half emotions) and engrossing. I mean, it's not like you don't kind of suspect that these crazy kids will make a go of it, and yet I, at least, was totally riveted to the screen, deeply anxious to know if, you know, they'd manage to deal with the inevitable disapproval of pretty much everyone! Fall in love without destroying major villages! Defeat the bad ninjas! Okay, really - here's the deal: this story just makes me feel good.

Oh, quick warning for media fans: don't read the author's notes. They will just confuse you. But read the story. You'll love it.
 
 
 
Lucelucia_tanaka on December 16th, 2008 11:26 pm (UTC)
If I am remembering my scifi right... Robots and androids are completely mechanical. Cyborgs are a mesh of natural and mechanical.

:starts reading recs:
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on December 16th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
Robots and androids are completely mechanical. Cyborgs are a mesh of natural and mechanical.

And yet both are made of awesome! It's a futuristic miracle!

:starts reading recs:

*approves of this behavior*
The sanest lunatic you've ever met: duesouth: all about the hatsdwolfpup on December 16th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
who was introduced on Doctor Who in the SCARIEST EPISODE I HAVE EVER SEEN OF ANYTHING.

The first episode of that two-parter STILL creeps me out just THINKING about it.

*shudder*
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on December 16th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
The first episode of that two-parter STILL creeps me out just THINKING about it.

I only have to think the words "Are you my mummy?" and my heart achieves bpm previously found only in certain kinds of techno. I think I left inch-deep fingernail marks in Best Beloved the first time we saw that. (And then it turned out that it was STILL scary on second viewing, so Best Beloved got more scars. I love the episodes! I really do! It's just that I think I should get, at minimum, Superman to stand by while I watch them.)
(no subject) - dramaturgca on December 17th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 06:46 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dramaturgca on December 17th, 2008 06:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
_medley_: jack's up to something by becky_h_medley_ on December 16th, 2008 11:44 pm (UTC)
Are you sure you haven't seen Torchwood? Because that IS what it's about. *nods*

Also, have you ever read any of Kage Baker's "Company" series? Immortal cyborgs who rescue things that were lost in the past. Lost books and plays and plants and things. The first one is "The Garden of Iden," yes, bad pun, sorry, and you can kind of tell it was her first book, but it's still entertaining and they get better (and more complicated) fast.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 12:02 am (UTC)
I have not seen Torchwood! But I am a skilled guesser when it comes to media. Also, my friends list talks about it a lot. (And posts links to things. Mostly to pictures of people kissing, or maybe having anal sex right there on a stage. The Torchwood cast doesn't seem to be shy, is what I'm saying.)

Also, have you ever read any of Kage Baker's "Company" series?

I made an attempt at "The Garden of Iden" once and kind of...did not get engrossed. At all. But it sounds like something I would LOVE, and since you say it gets better (first novels happen to everyone, after all), I will definitely try it again. I wonder if it is available for the Kindle?
(no subject) - _medley_ on December 17th, 2008 12:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - _medley_ on December 17th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
macey muse: Sai ^_^ - hikagomacey_muse on December 16th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
...you know, I feel Old and Experienced in fandom now. Because I've read 3/4s of those. (The one I haven't read, fortherecord, is the DueSouth ~ it's in a spare tab ready for when I've typed up this comment). I'm fairly sure there's been at least one Torchwood fic with tangential MiB appearances. Also, Torchwood is the show with the /love square/. Oh, and Jack, who is just a love octopus allllll on his own.

And, Maldoror! \o/ nothing can be wrong in the world when the joy of people being introduced to Mal's fic is still bouncing round the stratosphere. or. something. ^.^'

I'm curious - has the Merlin bug bitten you yet? Because it's /really bad/, by which I mean 'on crack' and 'possibly slashier than QaF', but mainly 'horribly innacurate' but yet, everyone seems to love it. and be writing insane amounts for a show that's only existed 13 weeks...
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
you know, I feel Old and Experienced in fandom now.

*envious* I still feel like a total n00b.

And, Maldoror! \o/ nothing can be wrong in the world when the joy of people being introduced to Mal's fic is still bouncing round the stratosphere.

I agree with this! Are there other authors you've been TOTALLY FAILING TO MENTION TO ME? Not that I am blaming you for the fact that you knew about her and yet I had to get the link from Best Beloved, who for some reason is on quite the Naruto kick even though she has never seen the series. No. There is no blame here.

has the Merlin bug bitten you yet?

Not yet! But I am extremely hopeful. (Yes, I want to be bitten. I am averse to both incest and RPS, meaning I have missed out on the last two Big Things to hit fandom. I am READY.) And, see, I'm totally immune to horribleness, because I very cleverly do not watch the canon. That solves so many problems, I can't even tell you.
(no subject) - macey_muse on December 17th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on December 17th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 06:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - macey_muse on December 17th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - melannen on December 17th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
the cry of strange birds: hello claricefuturesoon on December 16th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
And I never think about how I could totally read Supernatural if only Dean Winchester was a robot.

You should know by now not to say such things where people can hear you.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)
Eeeeee! Does that mean that someone is even now linking me to Immortals = robots and Jim Ellison = robot? BECAUSE THEN MY LIFE WOULD BE COMPLETE.

*off to read*
(no subject) - cellia on December 17th, 2008 01:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
awkward and potentially life-threatening: owenpocketmouse on December 16th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
so in my mind Torchwood is a story about alien fighters who fuck. Or fuckers who fight aliens. Whatever.


This is NOT UNTRUE.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV Katamari Damacythefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC)
Then it's basically...fan fiction? Only on television?
(no subject) - travels_in_time on December 17th, 2008 12:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pocketmouse on December 17th, 2008 02:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - macey_muse on December 17th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
travels_in_time: TW--gay in the coffeetravels_in_time on December 17th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
Okay. I'm making the orgies part up.

No. No, you are not. That is an excellent description of Torchwood.

Jack, who was introduced on Doctor Who in the SCARIEST EPISODE I HAVE EVER SEEN OF ANYTHING.

If you're a wimp, then so am I, because yes.
tried to eat the safe banana: TARDISthefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
No. No, you are not. That is an excellent description of Torchwood.

I am trying to visualize the concept meetings on this.

Writer 1: "So I thought, what does everyone like?"

Writer 2: "ORGIES!"

Writer 1: "...Well, no, I meant time travel. But orgies are great, too."

Writer 3: "OH MY GOD YOU GUYS, I HAVE THE BEST IDEA EVER."

If you're a wimp, then so am I, because yes.

Then we can hold each other if we ever watch that episode again. (Great ep! SO SCARY OMG.)
xnicholle on December 17th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
Torchwood is a story about alien fighters who fuck.
Really, that is the most accurate description for the show ever. It should be the quote on the DVD boxes.
tried to eat the safe banana: Yay!thefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 02:48 am (UTC)
*pleased* It's good to know I've got the gist. I just hope there's an unrated director's cut on DVD.
Admission to the Burning Ruins — 10¢: Flash Gordon  -  Flaming Rocket of Lurvelaughingacademy on December 17th, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
Its a little known fact that Fuckers Who Fight Aliens was RTD’s working title for Torchwood before he decided to use the anagram they put on the Doctor Who material. *nods*


tried to eat the safe banana: TFV lettersthefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 06:40 am (UTC)
...Better than Alien Fuckers Who Fight, at any rate. (I'd be interested in that show, though. Very much. I guess you really can't go wrong when you've got aliens, fucking, and fighting in your show's concept.)
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV menorahthefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 06:40 am (UTC)
I don't entirely grok the canon, but my suspicion is that if they were, I wouldn't be allowed to tell you.

In fact, if they were, near-total ignorance would be an extremely good cover. Not that I am suggesting anything.
Gwynevere1: Doctor Who -- Jack gwynevere1 on December 17th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
And where are the Torchwood x MiB crossovers? That's so obvious it has to be, like, a whole sub-genre of the fandom!)

WHY DOES THIS NOT EXIST! WHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYY?

ETA: Why do I always enjoy your recs more when you know nothing about the canon?

Edited at 2008-12-17 12:42 am (UTC)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV umbrellathefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 06:42 am (UTC)
WHY DOES THIS NOT EXIST! WHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYY?

Because the universe does not love us. Obviously. *sniffles pathetically*

Why do I always enjoy your recs more when you know nothing about the canon?

...Do you enjoy the write ups more, or do you enjoy the actual stories I rec more? I am curious! Very curious!
(no subject) - gwynevere1 on December 17th, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - nora_charles on December 27th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Zigismunda formosamelannen on December 17th, 2008 12:48 am (UTC)
Oh, recs from you! Yayayay!

Now to ponder if I dare read the Naruto fic, and risk being sucked into the canon, or play it safe and just re-read the ones I already know...
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 06:44 am (UTC)
Now to ponder if I dare read the Naruto fic, and risk being sucked into the canon, or play it safe and just re-read the ones I already know...

READ THE NARUTO ONE. Even if you did get sucked in, it would be worth it! And then you could educate me on the topic, and perhaps say whether or not I should force Best Beloved to watch the series. Everyone wins!
(no subject) - melannen on December 17th, 2008 07:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - raucousraven on December 17th, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Proactively Untwist Octagonal Hippopotamus Pants: ratatouille - why? emiledramaturgca on December 17th, 2008 12:53 am (UTC)
Why didn't you WARN that the Jack/Ianto would make me cry? I didn't NEED to cry...
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 06:44 am (UTC)
I'm sorry! It made me snuffly, too, in places, but the ending is happy! Um.

*hugs you*
(no subject) - dramaturgca on December 17th, 2008 06:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
Dira Sudis: Jack/Ianto - Kissdsudis on December 17th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
Eeeeeee, thank you for the rec! ♥
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 06:45 am (UTC)
Thank you for the STORY. It's like you made a list of all the things I love, and then took it as some kind of challenge!
stranger: sky captain jackstrangerian on December 17th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
Let me summarize the early Torchwood eps:
1) Revivification, death, alien monster, blood, incidental orgy with one-off characters, death, revivification, New Girl and Jack make eyes at each other.
2) Alien incursion, the alien has sex with every man in sight and kills most of them, fails to kill New Girl while seducing her by accident, alien is trapped by Torchwood and Jack brings someone back from the dead by kissing her.

They kind of went with that pattern. Sex, death, life, sex.

MIBs as such are kinda American, in style more than setting, which might be thought to clash with the uber-British Doctor Who vibes (another style-over-location thing). Jack himself uses up the entire possible quotient of transatlantic cooperation. However, it would be immensely amusing to have Torchwood, between orgies, run up against an MI7 where the black suits wear bowlers instead of sunglasses. I, too, wonder why this isn't tried (between orgies) in fanfic.
Nobody said it was easy: fandom compasscopperbadge on December 17th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
They kind of went with that pattern. Sex, death, life, sex.

This is the best structural summary I've seen of Torchwood ever.

Comments hijacker hijacks comments! Film at 11.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on December 17th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - strangerian on December 18th, 2008 05:33 am (UTC) (Expand)