tried to eat the safe banana
23 December 2007 @ 12:00 pm
So. I have emerged from my traditional Yuletide-related November and December catatonia to the equally traditional late-December intimations of Yuletide doom. (I have written a terrible story that my recipient will surely hate! WOE.) (No, really, Yuletide is lots of fun, I love it every year and I advise everyone to do it. I just have the dooooooom right now.)

And many people are currently gearing up for either a joyous celebration of goodwill and family or a grim marathon of conspicuous consumption and shouting. (If the former, Merry Christmas! If the latter, courage - Christmas comes but once a year, and on Boxing Day I think you're allowed to hit something.) I do believe it's time for a few good vids.

The One That Proves That Bad Guys Really Do Have More Fun. Don't Stop Me Now, by charmax. Doctor Who.

I really do love the Doctor. (Most of all, I love the TARDIS, but the Doctor is a very close second.) I have even seen a whole season of Doctor Who, and I really liked it. So I find it kind of odd that when I truly love a DW vid, it often either a) is about a non-Doctor character or b) has a message I don't actually believe, like "Wow, the Doctor is a total tool." (Like, the other vid I considered recommending in this set was pretty much, "the Doctor ruins lives! If he comes near you, your only hope of future happiness is to punch him in the teeth and flee!")

This is a vid about the Master, who is definitely a non-Doctor character. I know almost nothing about the Master - he's a Time Lord, he's, um, yeah, that's pretty much where it ends - but I will say that, from this vid, it looks like he's the Doctor without brakes. He's also a tremendous amount of fun.

Too often, you see people who are cast down by the burdens of being bad, all crushed under the weight of taking over the world. Which, I mean - live a little, bad guys. No reason to be all angsty. Own your villainy! If you're going to put people in graves, at least have the courtesy to dance on them. And in this, the Master could serve as an inspiration to us all; he does not seem to suffer from Bad Guy Trauma, and he looks like he would dance on any grave you cared to fill. He might even have his own special song to sing while dancing on graves, and if he does, it would be a happy song. I respect that immensely.

And that is why you should totally watch this vid, even if you don't know the canon, even if you have no idea what a Time Lord is, even if you vaguely thought Doctor Who was some kind of medical show focusing on amnesia. This vid will, I promise you, bring a smile to your face even if you're expecting the Doctor to show up with a stethoscope and some memory cards. And if you couldn't pick the Master out of a crowd, not a problem. He's the really happy one. So come! Watch him take over the world with flair and style.

(If you do happen to know the canon, could you tell me what's up with the end bit of this vid, with the kid and the ring? It seems to be suggesting that the Master will rise again, but for all I know it could be a scene from an entirely different source.)

It's Like Slash Goggles for Normal People! Four Years, by Fabella, aka wistful_fever. Stargate: Atlantis.

OMG EEEEEEEEE <3!

Sorry. That really needed to be said. It's the summary of everything that follows, and, really, you can probably skip all my hysterical babbling and just go watch the vid if you'd rather. (This is the recommended course of action.)

But if you're curious about why I'm recommending this even though everyone else on earth has and also it only came out about five minutes ago - um. I can probably find something to say that isn't just dolphin noises. Let me just take a few breaths first.

Okay. Actual English-language commentary commences now. This is the classic, the perfect slash vid. If, in the future, anyone is looking to define the slash vid as a genre, I suggest just smacking this vid down and saying, "Watch." Fabella here shows what source looks like through slash-o-vision, and she does it a) mostly through body language (watch John!), which made me bounce up and down like a little girl, and b) with a narrative.

Because, okay, let's face it. Slash vids are fun when you're deeply into a pairing, but they can sometimes leave you a little bit, "Um. Yes, they're so totally doing it. And...?" Or, at least, they can if you're me, although I am well-known to be equipped with a heart made entirely of recycled tires and crustaceans. (The Grinch is my second cousin. Heart problems run in our family.) But this vid - there's a story in here, a classic slash narrative, and that just makes the vid, turns it from just another slash vid to the ultimate slash vid.

I mean, yes, fine. It's also perfectly (and interestingly) cut, with a great song choice and brilliant clip selection and all that. Yes. It is. But the heart of this vid, for me, is the slash, the pining, the story. (John is in love, and Rodney needs to be clonked on the head a few times.) And although you probably need to be into this pairing to love this vid, even if you're not, it's worth watching because - well, I don't think it can get any better than this.

(Also: OMG EEEEEEEEE <3!)

The Vid That Will Rise Again, and Keep Rising Until You Just Give in and Watch It, So Download It Already. You Will Not Be Sorry. All These Things That I've Done, by Lithium Doll, aka halcyon_shift. Angel the Series.

I dithered for a long time about recommending this one, because it was made for me. But I love it so much, and it makes me so happy, and I've waited almost a year to see if I love it less or want to recommend it less, and - well. Did I mention that I love it still, with all my (non-standard) heart? So, made for me be damned. I am still recommending it.

For me, this is Angel - Angel the series, Angel the person. This vid makes me think of a lot of things - well, I mean, five seasons, one vid, it's going to - but what I really think of is - okay. When I first heard this song, I thought it was just about Angel. When Lithium Doll asked me to explain how I thought it was about Angel, though, I kept talking about other people - Cordelia, Doyle, Wes, Gunn. And now, when I watch the vid, I think of Angel, yes, and I still love that big galoot, but mostly what I think of is something I saw in a Firefly vid: a hero is someone who gets other people killed. And it's interesting to me that a song that I thought was entirely about the hero's journey is actually, in vid form, a lot more about the people who support that journey, sometimes with their lives.

This vid also makes me happy because it's here, and for most of its pre-release existence, it could handily have won the Vid Least Likely to See Tomorrow award. I wasn't involved in the making of it at all, but I got regular updates, and they looked something like this:

LD: I have thirty seconds! Wanna see?
LD: I have a rough vid with blank spots!
LD: ...Now I don't have a computer.
LD: I have a new computer and a new draft!
LD: Um. Hard drives dead.
LD: Hard drives replaced. And now I have betas!
LD: The powers that be hate me and have taken my computer to prove it. Vid just about the only thing to survive. All betas lost. Also my will to live.
LD: I have resurrected the computer and the vid and am soldiering on, ever on. Shall we begin anew?
Me: For the love of god, post it before something ELSE dies.

What can we learn from this? Well, first, that Lithium Doll is a doughty fighter. And, second, that this is the vid that would not die - sort of an immortal, undead vid. But it sure got a lot of the files and hardware around it killed. In retrospect, I suppose we both should have been less surprised by this than we were.

But it hasn't gotten anything killed since its release (that I know about), so it's safe to download it and watch it now. And obviously you were meant to; a vid survives that many major computer disasters for a reason, people.

Sometimes a Cigar Is Just a Cigar. This Would Not Be One of Those Times. Detachable Penis, by the Media Cannibals: Sandy (sherrold), Alex (alexfandra), Gwyn (gwyn_r), Tina (who does not have a journal), and Rache (wickedwords); remastered by justacat. The Professionals.

Watching this for the first time earlier this year, I fully and clearly understood why justacat felt the need to digitally remaster this and thus preserve it for the fannish ages. Few vids have made me start laughing on the first clip, but this did. Actually, I was kind of giggling just from the opening screen, because people vidded this song! I would have bet, if you'd asked me, that this song was totally unviddable. I mean, it's a classic, yes - certainly a classic of penis minstrelsy - but it has spoken lyrics. And it's about a dude misplacing his detachable penis. These things do not say "vid song" to me. But that is why I am not a vidder, and also why the Media Cannibals are geniuses, because this is just about the best vid ever.

And, no, you don't need to know anything about the Professionals to watch this. (Trust me. At Vividcon, nestra did a pop quiz on me during a Pros vid. She said, "Which one is Doyle?" I had a fifty-fifty chance, and I got it wrong. My fannish shame is great, but my point is: I don't know from the Professionals.) Here's what you need to know: they're guys. With guns. And the Media Cannibals took those two salient facts and made - well. This vid.

It is wonderful and hysterical. It does a better job of cheering me up than all of YouTube. And it's about guns and penises. I don't see how anyone who calls herself a fangirl could not want to see this vid. And, thanks to justacat's dedicated remastering of the classics, you can. Go watch!
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
05 November 2006 @ 08:12 am
Dear Amazing and Wonderfully Kindly One,

Thank you for the Frank-o-Lantern! I would offer a story in return, but, well. I can't. So instead I will give a gift in your honor. (And if you want to suggest a recs set theme or something, my comments are here for you.)

Much love and many happy returns of the season,
TFV

Dear Ants,

Fuck the fuck off. My house is not your house. No, not even a tiny part. No, not even if it's cold and moist outside, because - look, I'm sure it sucks to be an ant, but if you want a nice warm house to keep you safe from moisture, develop your own technological society and get your own mortgage.

Also, stop whining about moisture. We live in Los Angeles. It's a fucking desert. If you can't cope with this level of water in your environment, move to Mars. You will not be missed.

Please consider this as your final eviction notice before I poison you hideously ha ha ha,
TFV

Dear Symantec,

Do you - do you hate customers? Or is this some sort of incredibly comical performance art type prank? Or are you maybe, just maybe, run by evil troglodytes with mud for brains? Because I find your insistence that I run Internet Explorer, aka the least safe browser on the planet, in order to use your webstore to buy a subscription to update my anti-virus definitions to be - well, somewhat nonsensical, in the same way that setting my own toes on fire because I might soon have a headache would be nonsensical.

Also, if you want to outsource your CS, fine. That is your choice. But if you cannot find people who can accurately transcribe addresses after not one but three repetitions, thus resulting in the delivery of my product - which I had to order by phone, because see above in re: IE, and how I would not be at all sorry if someone set your toes on fire - to some random address to be signed for by some other random person, and fourteen email exchanges before I even managed to get my money refunded, then perhaps you should think about how the C in CS stands for "customer," not "crappy."

Off to see if some other anti-virus software vendor wants my money and is willing to take it via Opera or Firefox,
TFV

Dear daegaer,

Thank you. I think. Because the snippets of my imaginary fandom were gorgeous and wonderful and seeing it in text was perhaps the strangest kick of my life - and I'm including my teenage years in that - but now I am writing stories about it myself. Many of them. This can only end badly. Especially since you write one of the main characters far better than I do.

Love, hate, and authorial convenience,
TFV

As you may have guessed from the above, it is time for a hearty round of document-related stories - specifically, letters. And their ilk.

The One That Proves That Your Mother Was Right When She Told You Not to Put It in Writing. (Well, My Mother Told Me That, Anyway. And She Was Right. Because Telepaths and Schoolkids Could Be Reading It.) Repair, by penknife. X-Men movieverse, Scott Summers/Jean Grey.

This one is going to feel deeply, deeply familiar to anyone who has ever been in a long-term relationship. And I'm not restricting that to romantic relationships, either; I think any not-precisely-fight-but-definitely-not-a-non-fight with anyone you've known for a very, very long time works like this. (Although, for your sake, I hope yours have ended better than this one does; it ends on kind of a hopeful note, yes, but - well. Only kind of.) Familiar as it is, though, we can all learn an important lesson from this: do not make innocent faucets the victims in your semi-fights. They don't need to suffer.

Also, if you live in a building housing many people, including the occasional telepath, remember that Miss Manners, if she was an entirely different kind of person than she is, would tell you that there are two things you should keep decently behind closed doors: fighting and fucking. Your fellow residents do not need to know about your orgasms, your arguments, or your arguments with the people who give you orgasms.

My college experience would have been greatly improved if other people had followed this simple rule. (Frankly, I'd rather they'd covered this in freshman orientation than how to buy books. Why would you be in college if you didn't know how to buy books? But almost no one knew how to live with a person not a relative, do laundry, or cook food. Were those topics covered? No.) And I'm sure the people at Xavier's School for the Mutant Arts or whatever it's called are wishing Scott and Jean would follow it, too. (Probably loud enough for Jean to hear. I would. If she's going to go be telepathic all over the place, by god I'm going to make my thoughts as embarrassing and unpleasant for her as possible. Not that I have, you know, telepathophobia or anything.)

The One in Which We Learn That Peace of Mind Isn't Possible When Lex Luthor Has Your Email Address. Of Epistles and Epiphanies, by nifra_idril. Smallville, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor.

It was once said of Dave Lister that when he got drunk, he really got drrrrr-unk, and all he did was end up broke, diseased, and 793 million miles from home. Lex Luthor would naturally not do anything that simple. Well. I mean. If he woke up broke, diseased, passportless, and in the wrong part of the solar system, it'd take him about two weeks to get home, and he'd conquer the solar system as a byproduct. So obviously he can't go with the tried-and-true for his drunk fuck-ups. No, Lex - if Lex is going to do something stupid, it's going to involve Clark.

In this case, it involves writing the whole truth and nothing but the truth to Clark and then sending the email. The story is about Clark's reaction to said email, and it is delightful and perfect and I don't think I need to go into it here.

But what I love, once I've reveled in the actual story for another re-read, is to picture the other side. Because, okay - we've all had moments where, seconds after we clicked "send," we wished we could get the message back. Or maybe just die a merciful, humiliated death and be buried under a nameless stone that merely reads: "She clicked 'Send' too soon." But Lex - Lex really must've wanted to cancel that message, and he's not good at not getting what he wants. He must've woken up the next morning and tried to, like, buy out the internet. Or maybe he knew better. After all, if there's anyone who can keep Lex from doing something, it's Lex, so maybe he just laid there in bed, one arm over his eyes, and thought, Well-played, Self. But next time the drunken mistake calls, I think I'd rather just nuke Metropolis.

I'm betting he still wiped out a few telecommunications conglomerates after he thought that, though. It's just his way. And that's why we love him, am I right?

The One in Which We Learn That You Shouldn't Try to Hack the Afterlife. Sincerely, by rageprufrock. Angel, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce/Charles Gunn.

Fred teaches Angel to use email. This is, as you might expect, fraught with difficulty - frankly, only a person used to fighting against long odds would even have considered such a thing. But the biggest problem doesn't exactly come from the places you might think - Angel getting involve with Nigerian scammers or penis enlargement schemes, Angel discovering that "the god in the machine" is actually a demon, Angel accidentally taking down the entire internet for seventeen hours and nearly kicking off a worldwide economic collapse.

No. The problem is that he's getting email from Cordelia. Who is, actually, dead.

What I love about this is the hope of it. It argues that some things never change, and even when they do, and even when the change is for the worst, some things can be salvaged, and the important things keep on. I also love that it shows what Cordelia meant to the Angel crew, what a pivotal place she had. Because, you know, the Angel team? Totally a family. And when you lose a family member, things go into unstable orbits for a while.

Basically, this is a story about finding new stable orbits. Well, and email from beyond the grave. And I am quite aware that it is very thoroughly jossed, and I do not care. In my head, they're still out there, helping the hopeless forever. And dealing with the inevitable disasters and tragedies pretty much like this - with romantic comedies and Lush bath products and the occasional technological seance.

The One in Which We Learn That Boys Being Naked Together Can Be Quite a Problem. Unless You're Invited, Too. A Change in Relationship Dynamics, by debchan. Samurai Champloo, Jin/Mugen/Fuu.

You probably don't need to know the canon to read this, although it would help. But some stories are as old as time, and we all know them - two warriors and a girl with a squirrel, wandering through ancient Japan to a background of hip-hop music, chasing and being chased by prostitutes, organized and disorganized criminals, foreigners, politicians, and fighters of all shapes and sizes. I think we've read and seen that one countless times, yes? (And if you haven't, well. Maybe you should try watching Samurai Champloo, you big dork.)

Plus, this story is mostly about a girl thinking about two boys being naked together, and if you can't relate to that, well, why exactly are you here? So you can certainly read this without the canon.

What I love about this, though, is not the indubitably right Samurai Champloo feel, or the way it acknowledges that Jin and Mugen and Fuu are all essential to the story, or the way this is one of the few threesome stories I see leading to a stable relationship, or even the diary entries. (Although I do love the diary entries.) No, I love the way it makes me giggle, pure and simple. Every time I read it, the word "naked" seems funny for days afterward. It's as fun and shiny as the canon can be.

With added sex. I really don't see how you could ask for more than that.

Bonus:

The One That Elucidates Several Methods of Coping with Boredom. The Only One I'd Recommend You Try at Home, Though, Is the Sex. The Fuu Diaries, by gogoangelgunboy. Samurai Champloo, Jin/Mugen.

This is a bonus because - well, you really do need to know a bit of the canon to appreciate this, um, diary entry. But, hey. I think I've already made it clear that the canon is very much worth getting to know. Get thee to some Champloo. It's worth it in its own right. And to read stories like this one.

Because if you know the canon, this story is wonderful. I can hear Fuu's voice reading this out loud, and the focus (on the last piece of sushi) is so very right for her, because if there's one thing that Fuu teaches us in the canon, it's that food is more important than. Um. Basically anything.

And if there's one thing that Fuu teaches us in this story, it's that there's no point in trying to deny the sexual tension. Just succumb to it. Saves a lot of wear and tear on the swords (...No. Really. That was not a double entendre. I did in fact mean actual swords. Okay. And cocks, but there are swords here. You can't deny that.), and you don't miss out on the food, either.

Plus, I had to recommend this alongside "A Change in Relationship Dynamics," because in my head they will always go together. I think, when you read it, you'll see why.

After you stop giggling, that is.
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
I've been trying del.icio.us for a while, and I've come to the conclusion - well, it's nice to have all my bookmarks resident on the web. And it's nice to be able to put everything up there. But - well, okay. It makes me not want to do actual recommendations sets, and that's kind of why I have this journal, and it's the thing I love most. So that doesn't seem like such a great idea, basically.

And then I got to thinking - maybe there's a different bookmark system, probably not a social one, that's web-resident. Maybe someone out there knows about it! So, hey, if you do - tell me, okay? Actually, there's a few other things I'd like you to recommend to me.

Find me a find, catch me a catch.Collapse )

Anyway. My point is, for those of you who have just read through the cut tag and have thus forgotten what the hell this post is about, even, is: del.icio.us is sapping my will to rec. So I says to myself, says I, "Return to the classics. Crossovers will bring meaning back to your journal!" And then, just to throw in even greater incentive, I lifted my usual stricture on crossovers. I mean, normally I get all on my high horse and say, "There shall be no repeats in any of the crossed over fandoms in a given crossover set." But life is too short, people.

The One That Is a Delightful Blend of Two Tasty Flavors of John. Plus Added Hotness in the Form of Claudia Black, Which Is Just Never a Bad Thing. Flying Low at Night, by cofax7. Farscape x Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Aeryn Sun. Have you ever found yourself standing in a TV on DVD aisle saying, "Sci Fi channel series about guys named John with special Ancient mojo who are stranded in distant universes. I wonder what the difference is?" Well, okay, first: if you have, don't admit it. You will bring shame on all of fandom. Just read this story and you'll be able to tell real, real well. A quick cheat sheet, though: Farscape has the John whose life kind of defines "out of the frying pan, into the fire." (And almost no one writes stories about his hair.) Whereas Stargate has the John whose life kind of defines "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." (And his hair has about the same number of fans as he does.)

So what I love about this story is that it - no, okay. I need to be honest. I love a lot about this story. I mean, I adore that it starts after the crossover - way after, in fact. We don't worry about how John (Hair-John, as I will be calling him for the rest of this summary, so as to avoid confusion) got to the Farscape end of the universe. He's there, and it's pretty consistent with the way his life has gone thus far, so that's fine. We pick up with him after years in Farscape, in fact, and we get to see what it's done to him. (Basically, it's turned him back into the guy in Antarctica. With about four hundred years' worth of added world weariness.) And then we get to see him cope with the other John's (Can I just call him Crichton? I'm getting kind of lost amongst all the Johns, here.) situation. It's just...wow. But what I was going to say (just re-read the beginning of this paragraph; if I go into it again we'll never get out of here) is that most of all I love the ending. It's hopeful and it's - it's just - god. I want a million more stories telling what happens after this, because I think that part of the universe is in for some very interesting times.

The One in Which Charles Gunn Is Confused about Why Everyone in Pegasus Speaks English. Right There with You, Gunn. Outward Bound, by Hth, aka hth_the_first. Stargate: Atlantis x Angel the Series, Charles Gunn/Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, Charles Gunn/Ronon Dex. Before, we had a character from SGA sucked into another universe. Now we have a character from another universe sucked into SGA. And this...okay. First, let me just admit that I couldn't face watching any of Angel after season one - frankly, I think it was very brave of me to keep watching after Doyle did his Flying Wallenda - and so I never really got to know Gunn that well. I didn't ever meet Fred, or follow the whole Arc of Incredibly Complex Complexity that characterized Wesley's, um, last few seasons. But I love this story anyway.

Hth makes an excellent point, here - the Angel crew and the SGA crew aren't that different. They're both operating without much of a plan, and sometimes they both fuck up royally. And all the characters in both have kind of grown accustomed to living in greater danger - a higher state of alert, if you will - than most humans even know is possible, from creatures that aren't supposed to exist. So, you know, I wasn't too sure about this concept at first, but then I realized it is perfect. Plus, Gunn and Ronon get it on. Pretty much your ideal universe, right there. Well. If you discount the very high probability of death, and I totally couldn't, but I think Gunn and Ronon have both reached the point where "constant threat of death" equals "situation normal" in their minds.

The One That Explores Humanity's Basic Inability to Follow the Rules. And Isn't That What Makes People Great? The Sound of One Hand Clapping, by Gale, aka iphignia939. Firefly x Stargate: SG-1, gen. (Ha! I bet you totally thought this would be another SGA crossover. But once again, the hand was quicker than the eye!) Um. I am unfamiliar with Firefly, but I think this story is about a Major Spoiler. Yes. And I'm not sure if it's the kind of thing that everyone in all of fandom knows, or if it's more of a new thing. So I'm going to slip this summary behind a cut, just in case, and can someone please tell me if it's necessary or not? It"s also about a Major Spoiler from SG1, but I think everyone knows that one by now.Collapse )

The One That Gives a Lot of Depth to a Certain Hair-Bedecked Guy Named John. And, Hey - This Totally Explains That, Too, Come to Think of It. Just As Required, Without Excess, by liviapenn. Stargate: Atlantis x DCU, gen. (Yep, it's the all Stargate crossover set. If you wish this trend not to continue, check under the first cut tag.) Okay. This story made me swoon with joy. When I tried to write up a description in del.icio.us, I ended up with a lot of exclamation points and random squealing. (Of course you can squeal in print. I'm not saying it's pretty, but it can be done.) I'm not sure if it'll be quite the same orgasmic experience if you don't know the DCU, but if you don't recognize the crossover character, Livia provides a helpful link at the end. And I'm pretty sure it will still work. Just - it's worth learning a bit about the DCU just so you can wave your hands about incoherently right along with me, okay?

You know, we all read (and sometimes write) a lot of stories trying to explain John's weirdness. (No, I can't describe it better than that. If I could, I'd write my own damn story, 'kay?) And this one did it so well. I don't really want to spoil it, and I really don't want to add another damn cut tag to this entry, but - look. This story provides a back story for John that I can absolutely and totally buy into. After you read it, I invite you to reflect upon what it says about the character (and the actor and the writers, maybe) that this had me nodding and saying, "Yeah! Oh my god YES! That so totally works! And also, RODNEY IS TIM AND TEYLA IS BATGIRL." (Lately I've discovered that all my fandoms can be translated into the Batverse. Like, Fraser is Tim and Ray K. is Nightwing and Stella is Oracle and Frannie is Steph and Ray Vecchio is Jason Todd. Um. Not that I've put a lot of thought into this or anything. Really. And I haven't even considered writing a paper about how Batman is the only character that doesn't usually have an analog, possibly because he's too fucked up for there to be more than one of him in the multiverse.)
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
This was going to be a set of stories about the undead, because of Halloween. (Yes, it was started before Halloween. I'm the Pokey Little Poster!) And then it was going to be a vid recs set, because, well, vids. But somehow I got completely sidetracked into crossovers, and I'm not the least bit sorry. I don't think you'll regret it, either (especially when I tell you that there were no zombies in the undead set), because who doesn't love a good crossover? And these are great crossovers.

But, hey. Does anyone know what kind of crossover the first story is? I've been calling it a fusionesque, because it brings elements (but not characters) of one universe into another, but I'd love a proper, dignified term. And obviously nothing I come up with is going to qualify for words like those.

And as long as I'm asking questions - Best Beloved is getting an iPod for an act of devotion above and beyond the call of any marital contract, so obviously it needs to be a good iPod. An exceptional one, even. Those of you who have them - do you like yours? Hate it? What would you buy if you were getting one today? (A video iPod is definitely not what we want here.) Are there accessories I should get, too? Give me advice, people, please. And, if you're feeling especially loving, links. Links would be very nice.

Best FF That Once Again Proves That, in Defiance of All Reason and Logic and Sanity, Snakes Are Sexy. Daemonology, by trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis x His Dark Materials, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. So I guess the first question here is, have you read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy? And if not, why not? These are brilliant books, people, and they include one of the best concepts introduced in any book anywhere ever: daemons. If you don't know what those are, trinityofone has provided a handy guide that will tell you everything you need to know to read this story. Which you should obviously do at once. But after that, well, know that I will weep tragic Victorian-heroine tears if you don't try at least the first book of HDM, The Golden Compass. (And let me just say that daemons are not the only marvelous concept incorporated into this book's universe.) Okay. I'm getting off-track even for me, so enough with the mixed pimping and back to the story. Except - there's not a lot I can say without spoiling this. These are precisely the characters we know and love from SGA; the HDM add-in may even have made them slightly more themselves. And, hey, there's sex, and it is amazingly appropriate, and also weirdly sexy, considering that it mostly involves a lot of mouse-touching. Hmmm. I think I'm doing a terrible job of conveying just how good this story is, and just how much love I have for it, and just exactly how cool the mouse-touching is. (Although I imagine I have now done an excellent job of persuading you that I am sick.) Just read it, okay?

Best FF with More Cops Than the LA Freeways on Three-Day Weekends. Five Homicides Never Investigated, by Samantha, aka inlovewithnight. Homicide: Life on the Street x Angel x Battlestar Galactica x Firefly x Horatio Hornblower x Stargate: Atlantis, gen. I warn you, I'm not familiar with all of these fandoms - I mean, I can just about spell Firefly and Battlestar Galactica, and that's it - but I still totally get, and love, the point of this story. See, we know who the good guys are, and why what they're doing is right and good and necessary (unless it is totally not, like for example marrying Rowena instead of Rebecca), but - well, in their local universes, the cops usually don't. So, yeah, we all understand why the Mayor on BtVS had to die, but to people who weren't there, it must've looked remarkably like a graduating class going insane, rioting, killing the Mayor (and their own principal), and torching the school. Which is unusual even in California. (Well, in the suburbs, anyway.) I'm usually happy to suspend my disbelief about these things; after all, the alternative would've been for Buffy to turn into a courtroom procedural in its fourth season. (Maybe with Spike as the slouchy, smiling, weirdly scary prosecutor who does all the cross-examining - team him up with Lindsey McDonald for an extra-scary Joss-cross DA team! - and Ethan Rayne as an extremely worrying judge.) But one of the reasons I love FF is that I can find stories that give some much-needed attention to real-world outcomes without having a full season of episodes with titles like "The Process Server Always Rings Twice."

Best FF in Which a Fork Is Used As an Aphrodisiac. No, I'm Not Kidding. And No, It's Not Icky. What, Don't You Trust Me? Thrift, by Te, aka thete1, and Pares, aka kormantic. Buffy the Vampire Slayer x The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg/Faith Lehane. Um, yeah, you read that right. I don't usually enjoy crossover pairings that much, and we all know I get seriously bitey, if not downright rabid, when people trifle with my OTPs, but, well, this is an exception. Because Faith works with anyone. She's the super-sexy little black dress of fandom (and if this makes anyone think of pairing her with that other little black dress, John Sheppard - huh. You know, I was going to say don't, but...) and it turns out she looks excellent on Blair. Or all over him. Whatever. But in this story, my greatest joy actually comes from watching Blair Sandburg deal with the assorted oddities of Sunnydale - vampires, mechanical failure, sexy minors with mysterious fork abilities. I won't say he manages with panache, precisely, but when you consider everything that happens to him in this - well, let's just say that life with Jim Ellison is apparently excellent training for dealing with strange with a side order of dangerous. (At this point, Blair could probably write a whole self-help book called Listening to Adrenalin: When to Run, When to Fight, and When to Call for Backup.) And I'm sure Giles will have a fascinating chat with Blair. Once Faith's done with him, of course.

Best FF in Which It Really Is Vasculitis. Evil Vasculitis. Change Is the Only Constant, by Mara, aka marag. House x DCU, gen. Well. Okay. Some crossovers just don't work. You can, like, find them on some crack-pairing list, and giggle about them, and maybe test your brain's flexibility by imagining them, but the fandoms just don't mesh. You know what I mean: Crossovers That Woman Was Not Meant to Read, Let Alone Write, God Help Her. I would have said that House x DCU is one of those, except that I totally do want you to read this, and furthmore I encourage all kinds of writing like this, because it so totally does work. (Which suggests that any crossover can work in the right hands. I have long suspected this, though no one should write Pride and Prejudice x Backstreet Boys just to prove it.) I'm not spoiling anything when I tell you that the central concept here is Tim Drake = Gregory House. And, wow. That's an equals sign that just has no business at all existing, right? But marag does a fabulous job of showing how point A gets to point B, which is way the hell out of spandex, without breaking any characters. (As far as I know, I mean. I've read, like, four House stories and seen absolutely zip of the canon, so I'm making no promises there.) And, okay, I should probably mention that this story contains spoilers for Identity Crisis and WTF Games, or whatever the hell those canon clusterfucks were called, but the thing is - it resolves those arcs in a way we probably won't get to see in canon. Plus, this story has Cass, and she always elevates the level of discourse. So - grown-up, snarky Tim. Grown-up Cass. Batfamily guilt trips. Emotional resolution. This story has it all. And did I mention the whacked-out crossover aspect?
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
29 January 2005 @ 03:25 am
I'm going to be out of town for a few days, and I'm experiencing my usual pre-trip discombobulation as a result. (Actually, I'm mostly wondering why the hell I did this and what I was thinking and how I can avoid ever doing it again. I don't like traveling. Hell, in my ideal universe I wouldn't even have to leave my house.) I'm also doing the so-much-to-do-that-I-can't-do-any-of-it panic. What happens when you combine procrastination and panic and impending separation from the internet? Well, at least in these parts, recommendations sets. In this case, a crossover set, because I have a huge list of fantastic FF in this category that I've shamefully neglected lately. And also because slightly surreal stories are excellent preparation for this trip.

Best FF That Proves That There Are Things You Always Want to Remember, and Things You'd Love to Forget. And You Don't Know What Screwed Means Until You Have a Memory That Falls into Both Categories. The Complication of Memory, by Jennifer-Oksana, aka jennyo*. Angel x Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (and you'll need to be at least somewhat familiar with both canons for this to work), Wesley Wyndham-Pryce/Lilah Morgan. Yes, het. Canon het. I'm not the least bit sorry. And neither will you be when you read this. That goes even for die-hard slashers, because the sex is so not the point here. The real draw of this story is - well, put it this way: this just may be the archetypal crossover vignette. It blends two universes that you'd think had nothing to say to each other, and does that without changing a thing about either of them. And it makes a point about both canons in the process. I suppose I should mention that this story is an overtaken-by-events AU; I think (I'm not sure, mind you, but wouldn't you be surprised if I was?) the events of the last episode of Angel rendered this story an impossibility. But, hey, who cares? Anyway, this road is probably the better way to go. Although maybe not for Wes.

Best FF That Will Burn into Your Brain a Number of Mental Images You'd Pay Good Money to Get Burned out Again. For Example, Rip Torn and Tommy Lee Jones Perving on Will Smith's Ass. See? Now You Want a Neuralyzer, Don't You? Well, You Won't Get One; I'm Not Going Through This Alone. Decoy, by Julian Lee, aka julianlee*. Men in Black x Smallville, J/K, Clark Kent/Lex Luthor. This crossover makes perfect sense, provided you've been keeping to a regular regime of Disbelief Suspension Mental Yoga, which is pretty much a mandatory practice for reading any crossover. Why does it make sense? Well, consider the facts. Clark Kent: alien! The Men in Black: cope with aliens! Lex Luthor: wears well-tailored suits! The Men in Black: also wear suits, although generally not purple ones! Smallville: regularly ravaged by mutant aggressive weirdos! The Men in Black: suspiciously fond of the oeuvre of Elvis Presley! So what could be more natural than a combination of the two? I mean, besides everything. Because - well, look back up at the pairing list. Yes, you're reading that right - this story involves J and K getting, well, together. And maybe I just failed my slash detection roll - highly unusual for me - but I've never, not even once, thought "they are so doing it" while watching Men in Black. And, frankly, the mere thought of K engaging in acts of...I'm sorry. I can't even write it. Nor can I bring myself to write about Zed, who can arrange an extraterrestrial anal probe at the drop of a hat, taking an unhealthy interest in J's...um. Fortunately for me, though, the sex isn't all that explicit, and in any case the story is amusing enough that it's well worth the occasional unavoidable thought of - you know. Those. Those things we won't discuss anymore, because I want to retain full use of my limited mental faculties, and I'm pretty sure my brain will opt out of further communication with me if I keep subjecting it to these sorts of thoughts.

Best FF That Proves Two Things: First, That Even in Gen No Intelligent Human Can Avoid Wondering About the Relationship Between Jim and Blair, and, Second, That There Actually Are a Few Bad Things That Haven't Yet Happened to Daniel Jackson. In the Canon, I Mean. Lovely, by Martha, aka saffronhouse. The Sentinel x Stargate SG-1, gen. There's a lot to love about this story. Lots and lots, and not just the plot and the characterization; this is definitely a case of god being in the details. I knew I was going to like this piece as soon as I saw how Martha handled the meeting of Daniel Jackson and Blair Sandburg. And I knew I was going to love it when the aliens showed up. (No, I don't need to tell you which aliens; you'll definitely know them when you meet them.) And then there's the whole crossover thing - this is another story in which both universes retain all their characteristics without sacrificing realism. And this is, for once, a Stargate crossover that really works. For some reason, that fandom is highly resistant to incursion from other canons; most crossovers involving SG-1 just feel forced. Or maybe unbalanced. But that's not true here, which proves that a) Martha is a great writer and b) Jim and Blair are very flexible and can easily slide in anywhere. (I know, bad pun, but it's true. Half the stories on my crossover list involve The Sentinel.)

Best FF That Proves That Guy Talk Is the Conversational Equivalent of Hilton Hotels: the Same Wherever You Go, and Not Especially Interesting or Fun Unless You Mix in a Lot of Sex. Ego Collision, by lynnmonster. Due South x Hard Core Logo, Billy Talent/Ray Kowalski/Joe Dick. lynnmonster has a scary superpower: she can write the unwriteable story. This woman has written great tentacle porn and mpreg wingfic and even feathercock, which last hideous mutant subgenre I had never even known existed until she wrote in it. In short, she is a menace to the sanity of the human race and we should all treasure her. But if you're also scared by her - in which case you're a lot smarter than I am, or a lot closer to the beginning of your Inevitable FF-Related Morals Decline - don't worry. This one isn't quite as improbable or disturbing as the ones I mentioned above; it's just, well, OK. A little weird, maybe. Because we're talking about sex between two characters played by the same actor (plus a third character played by an entirely different actor), for one thing, and then there's what I think of as the Unbearable Weirdness of Hard Core Logo, a film that features animal sacrifice and suicide and rape and yet is still a comedy. But despite all this strangeness, this story is not even slightly crackfic. I totally buy this aged-down version of Ray Kowalski, and the rest of the story is so realistic and right and in-character that...well, I'm not going into any more detail; I'll just say that if you've done your time in the scuzzier kind of club you'll feel right at home with this story, and if you've got knowledge of both canons, you'll feel right at home with the characters.

And that's it for this time. See you all on Wednesday. 'Til then, read a little extra FF for me, OK?

* Thanks, fraught and flambeau!
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
01 December 2004 @ 05:08 pm
I was going to do something special for the 100th nominations set, because - that's more than four hundred stories I've recommended. More than four hundred story summaries I've written. You guys have to be getting sick of this, and it seemed like I'd better take the opportunity to do something different.

So I had this post about the slashiest fandom ever all written, and I was going to do a recs set entirely based on that, even if I had to acquire a new fandom to do it.

But then norah left for India. (Technically, she's still around, but she's offline and she'll be leaving tomorrow and not coming back for three weeks.) This is depressing, folks. Plus, it's December, and I've just realized that I have no clue how to write regular recommendations, which is going to make a month behind the SN wheel at crack_van just...so very special. And I have bought no presents for the holiday season, and we're getting into the seriously scary shopping time, and anyway I'm sort of gloomily wondering where I'll get the money to do said shopping. And it seems like my family-of-origin might be going for the traditional Holiday Implosion this year, which, trust me - not pretty, and I'm talking about the kind of "not pretty" likely to require professional intervention. And...and I feel like whining some more, but I'm going to stop, because Jesus, that's pathetic.

Instead, I'll summarize: it's been a day of petty annoyances and looming dread and self-pity. I need to snap myself out of this somehow, and how better than to read about characters I love having that same sort of day? So instead of a special 100th celebration, you get - bad days. Sorry.

(Maybe we can celebrate the, um, 111th post instead. 111 is a nice number, right? Nothing wrong with 111. No, sir; 111 is going to be great.)

Best FF in Which We Learn, to Our Surprise, the Secret Identity of the Reincarnation of Isak Dinesen. In Which Dan Has a Bad Day, by Sinead, aka smallbeer. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey. See, now, this perked me right up, because Danny's day? So much worse than mine. For one thing, I have soap. And a working toilet. For another, I haven't encountered any surfers of any kind, which is impressive, considering that they're one of the primary indigenous species where I live, and certainly no airhead Nazi surfboy bimbos, although those would definitely add an original touch to anyone's day. And, finally, I have smutty FF like this to get me through the day - FF that is funny and just a touch angsty and ends with sex. Scented sex. Re-reading this made me 50% happier. Bonus: those of you with clothing fetishes will encounter ripped t-shirt Danny in here, which should make you at least 50% happier. So come on, folks - get happy! Read this!

Best FF in Which We Learn Precisely What Wyndham-Pryces Are Famous for. And No, It's Nothing to Do with That, You Total Perv. A Bad Day, by The Brat Queen, aka thebratqueen. Angel, Angel/Wesley Wyndham-Pryce. I don't want you to think I'm recommending this story just because I've been calling my dog Brat Queen for five years. No, I could recommend any of TBQ's stories if that was the reasoning here, and the same with my love for the way TBQ writes Angel and Wes in an established relationship - i.e., happily and humorously. (I mean, I enjoy the Wes angst as much as the next girl, but this fandom needs the occasional dose of sweetness and light, and TBQ brings it by the sackful.) I'm recommending this story because it shows the importance of wallowing as a coping mechanism. If more people understood that, this world would be - OK, a whinier place. But also one in which people didn't, you know, hit strangers or break valuable things after a bad day, but rather got down with the Scotch and the self-pity. Tell me you wouldn't prefer living in that world, and, well, I'll have to believe you. But I'll believe you while I myself am moving to Wallowland.

Best FF in Which We Learn a Helpful Telephone Cord Detangling Technique, and Then, Even More Helpfully, Learn Why We Should Probably Not Practice It. Madagascar, by Rhipodon Society, for whom I have no links of any kind. Anyone else have one? The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. Why, yes, I am sticking pretty much to my old favorite fandoms today. Why, yes, you will be seeing a due South rec very soon. Why, yes, I am predictable. But it's the good kind of predictable, right? OK. This is just hysterical, from the section epigraphs to the interconnections of the various unfortunate events in Jim's day to Jim's planned strategy for dealing with his troubles, which is moving to, yes, Madagascar. (Or Antarctica.) I myself would choose to move to South America and raise llamas, but we all cope in our own individual ways. The important thing is that this story manages to blend phone cords, illicit Valium-feeding, and a cashier we've all encountered at some point in our lives (fanofall should be thinking the words "Federal Express" right about now) into a delightfully springy and satisfying whole. Unsolved Mystery: what is it with The Sentinel FF and lasagna? My lasagna manufacture and consumption has increased at least tenfold since I began reading in this fandom, because something like 88% of all TS stories (note: hyperbole spoken here!) feature lasagna as the ultimate in comfort and sexiness. And, yes, OK, that's entirely correct, but it doesn't make it easy for those of us who haven't got the right ingredients on hand. Won't someone please think of the lasagna-less?

Best FF in Which We Learn What Happens to People Who Do Not Have Access to the Food They Are Craving. And to Everyone in the Vicinity, Too. Out of Range, by SA, aka sathinks, who, incidentally, has a marvelous recs LJ at sareads. Due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. Even Rays have bad bad days, but they can be solved with the judicious application of Mounties. OK, one Mountie. And - critical lesson, here - nicotine (hush, dSfen), caffeine, carbohydrates, cheese - none of these things can substitute for said Mountie, or your local equivalent. You may think they can, but really you're just fooling yourself, and the sooner you accept that and go get your Mountie the happier you'll be. Um. But no one should take that as an attempt to incite felonious behavior towards our big-hatted, red-coated Northern Friends, because they should be handled with respect and love, not live-capture traps. (Also, they are notoriously skittish, so luring them with bait works better in the long run. I recommend maple candy, myself, or pemmican for the more extreme Mountie.)

P.S. This post is dedicated to fanofall, who had a day that was much worse than mine. Nothing like the suffering of one's friends to put a little suckiness into perspective! (And, um. That was a joke.)
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
Canon repair is one of the most common and most irritating types of fan fiction. Why common? Well, canon creators seem to delight in breaking our hearts, hurting the characters and destroying the worlds we love. It's only natural to want to make it right, to fix the owie owie badness somehow. (Or, alternatively, bite the creators. Or, in many cases, both.) Why irritating? Because it doesn't work, is why. You have to dance with them what brung you, and that means you have to work within the canon instead of fighting it. Yes, you can write AUs, and if you're good then they will be, too, but we all know that a story in which Sirius miraculously turns out to be just pining for the fjords - and the Veil just teleports you to northern Norway (which some would argue is not all that far from the truth) - isn't an AU. It's a dream world. (A weird dream world.) Denial may be the third most popular fan sport, but it's fundamentally useless when it comes to fiction.

Except, of course, when it isn't. Because sometimes denial and fury and desperation produce works of phenomenal quality, stories so good, so perfect, so right, that I find myself cursing the canon writers for failing to think of this themselves and save us all this trouble.

That's what we have here. Repair work as it should be: better than the canon itself. Some of these are AUs. Others are interpolation or extrapolation built around the troublesome canon. But they all fix what I consider to be errors. (And of course we're using my own definition of canon errors; this is a supremely self-centered LJ, after all.)

The Best FF That Almost - Almost - Makes a Whole Wretched Season Worthwhile, Though I Imagine That I Might Feel Differently on That Point If I'd Actually Seen the Season in Question, as Opposed to Just Reading the Summaries with Ever-Increasing Horror: Poison, by Mandy, aka geneticallydead. Oz, Tobias Beecher/Chris Keller. OK, so we all know that season 6 of Oz was one big fan-fuck in a show full of fan-fucks, right? Some people have tried to deal with this by expunging the very memory from their minds. Others have regressed, fleeing to happier times in earlier seasons (and when you're defining the second season of Oz as a better place, you know you're in some kind of trouble). Mandy's taken a different approach; she twists the results of Keller's suicidal leap a bit, and suddenly we're back on the right path. Well, back on the true path; it's not like anything could be right and good and happy in Oz. But this comes as close as anything will, and it's satisfying on other levels, too; we get a really good look at what's going on in Keller's mind - a scary proposition, I'll grant you, but a worthwhile one - and we get to see Beecher using his brain and his will together for once.

Best FF in Which the Grounds of the Beverly Hills Hotel Have the Same Effect on the Characters That They Do on Me, Namely a Strange Sense of Unreality, As Though I'd Been Transported to Las Vegas, and a Strong Desire to Be Elsewhere: The Memory of Hurts, by Sinead, aka smallbeer. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. It's not like Sports Night ever broke the way, for example, Oz or Homicide or Buffy did. It wasn't around long enough to deteriorate that badly. But the second season is harder to take than the first for a lot of reasons, most of which arose, I suspect, from Sorkin angst. (Hint to all TV writers out there: we use therapists to deal with our problems. We use television for entertainment. Try to keep the two separate, OK?) It's hard to explain the abrupt changes in Danny's personality from season one to season two, for example. And when you look at the way Casey and Danny behave right at the end of the show and compare it to the way they behave in the pilot, it's clear something has changed a lot. But we're never shown what that is, so it's jarring. Sinead fixes all that, and blends her story seamlessly with canon. (Note for sensitive Danny/Casey shippers: This story is definitely a season two story, but it does have a happy ending.)

Best FF That I Love Even Though Everyone I Know Who Has Read It Has a Different Opinion About What Happens in It (and Do Feel Free to Weigh in on That Point, Because - Surprise! - I Am Convinced I'm Right): What You Wish For, by nwhepcat. Buffy the Vampire Slayer x Angel the Series, gen. This story is amazing because it fixes two major canon irritations (which isn't to say that there aren't lots left in the Whedonverse for other aspiring writers to address) - one for each show. And, in the process, it shows just how much better FF writers can do on occasion than, for example, Joss Whedon. In season four of Buffy, Giles and Xander get sort of lost - it's like the writers just couldn't think what to do with two handsome, strapping men who had lots of experience at fighting demons and bouncing back from personal trauma, even though that is the ideal resume in Buffy's world. And in season one, episode nine of Angel, Doyle dies. For no real reason. Just because the writers wanted to prove that they'd damn well kill whoever they wanted to kill. (Yeah, right. We believe that. Because they were so likely to kill off, say, Angel, right?) The problem of Xander's aimlessness is totally solved in this story. And even though Doyle doesn't actually live on in this fic, somehow it made me feel a whole lot better about his death.

Best FF Featuring a Title That Sums up Both the Story and the Canon Problem the Story Fixes. Plus I Just Really, Really Love the Title and I Wanted to Spend Some Extra Time Talking About It. Tepid Apocalypse, by Molly, aka molly36.* The Sentinel, Blair Sandburg/Jim Ellison. And here we have a series ender that just made no sense. Because, OK, I've never actually watched the series, but I know enough about the situation in "The Sentinel by Blair Sandburg" to know that a) there were other and better ways of resolving it and b) the way they picked wouldn't actually work. So that's fairly irritating. Also, way to destroy the character of Blair and the relationship balance between Blair and Jim, folks. Just in general, this episode's plot says to me, "We needed a dramatic last episode, and after 20 minutes of vodka-ridden thought, this was the best idea we had on the table." So post-TSbyBS stories that make that concept work impress me - I mean, the fic author is doing way better than canon writers did, yeah? And "Tepid Apocalypse" also manages to find a new balance between Blair and Jim, repair the character damage the episode did, and just generally fix what went wrong when the fine writers of The Sentinel had whatever massive brainstroke they did. In other words, this is a textbook case of canon repair. Go, Molly.

* Thanks, pearl_o!
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
15 April 2004 @ 10:45 pm
Today I present a very loosely-bound fiction set that has built-in appeal for the book-lovers among us.

Best FF That Has Forever Changed the Way I Think of Unicorns: Like a Good Book, by Kyra Cullinan. Harry Potter, Hermione/Ginny. Yes, folks, it's femslash. And not only that, it's bad sex femslash - gritty and grim and painfully realistic. But even though the sex ain't pretty, the story itself is excellent, so please don't rule this one out if you don't normally do f/f. The book connection, of course, comes from the title, which in turns comes from a Tori Amos song, so we're talking about tenuous links, here. But this nominations set is all about being tenuous. Total tenuousity, that is my motto today.

Best FF That Shows How the Dewey Decimal System Leads to Good Lovin': Reference, by Resonant. Due South, Fraser/Kowalski. If the last nominee left you a bit raw, here's a sweet little story to take the hurt away. This one just makes my library-loving heart melt. And it's lovely to see Fraser being given a bit of non-canon history that doesn't involve death, loss, guilt, or repression. Seriously, Fraser's collected backstory reads like a Shakespearean tragedy (five acts of misunderstandings and long sad speeches, and by the end everyone's dead), so I love Resonant all the more for giving Ray the traumatic memory in this one.

Best FF That Demonstrates That the Library of Congress* Is Even More Arousing Than the Dewey Decimal System: Library Porn: Say Bibliotheque Again, Baby, by Nestra and shrift (sorry I left you out, shrift). Angel, Wesley/Gunn. You say the sour story didn't do it for you and the sweet story made you gag? Perhaps mademoiselle would prefer something light from our PWP menu. Because it doesn't get any better than sex in a library. And no, I do not want any angry comments from librarians on this one; I get all I need at home. (But, for the record, you really shouldn't have sex in a library. Coitus Interruptus Librarianus can kill your libido for your natural life, not to mention playing hell with your book-borrowing privileges.) And you don't need the slightest familiarity with Angel to understand this one, either, because the language of this kind of book-loving is universal.

Best FF That Will Make You Really Thirsty: Liquid, by Jane St. Clair. X-Force comics, Rictor/Shatterstar. (Links go to character bios, because even the bios don't make much sense, never mind the comic books.) This one makes this nominations set solely because it features the best sex disclaimer ever: "Never ever have I ever done it with a friend as part of elaborate trade negotiations for a rare book I desired." (Neither have I, Jane, and now that it's been mentioned, I must say I feel the lack.) In this story, we learn about the importance of water to the human body and to love. You will probably want to have a nice frosty beverage on hand before you start reading.

* Yes, actually, I suspect the authors of this story did intend that to be a pun.