tried to eat the safe banana
05 August 2008 @ 09:25 pm
My apologies to people who saw an unfinished version of this on their friends list. Um, it's been a while since I did this; I've lost the knack.

And it really has been a while. But, in my defense, I had a baby. And babies are not so conducive to prolonged sessions of typing, I find. But the earthling is older, and I'm hoping to get back to a more regular recommendations posting schedule. (At this point, once every blue moon, as opposed to every other, would qualify as more regular. But with dedication, I believe I can achieve once every full moon, maybe!)

The One That Made Me Want a Crossover Between Hikaru no Go and SG1. Teal'c v. Touya Meijin! Fine, Fine. I Accept That I Am the Only Person on the Planet Who Wants That. But I Want It Enough for Everyone. Teal'c's Five Favorite Board Games, by paian. Stargate SG-1.

I love the corners of people's personal canon - love it when someone, for example, reveals in a story that she firmly believes that Rodney McKay knows how to knit. (He learned during one long summer month spent in his own personal hell, a cottage by the sea with only a few books and a TV that didn't even get cable; his parents told him to they were all there to relax, but in fact they spent the entire month fighting, and Rodney couldn't sleep with the sea noise and the constant whirring of his understimulated brain, until he finally picked up one of the books - a crafting book from the 1970s with a terrifying picture on the cover - and taught himself to knit. They don't have yarn and needles in Atlantis, and he's always too busy, until the day he gets an eye injury on a mission and is forbidden to read or look at a computer for two weeks. But that's another story.) I love it, basically, when fan fiction writers fill in the details that make people people - the little idiosyncrasies that make them real.

And that's exactly what this story is. The thing is, I never thought of Teal'c in connection with board games until I read this story. And now these five games are a part of my personal Teal'c canon, because they make so much sense and they're so very real and right. And, let's face it, Teal'c isn't necessarily overexplored by the canon writers of SG1, so this really works. I find the Snakes and Ladders one particularly moving, for some reason, but they are all so very perfect.

And there are pictures. Oh my god, do not miss the pictures.

The One That Made Me Want to Send a Letter of Complaint to the Author: "Please Write Less Well. I Need to Sleep. Love and Kisses!" The Kids Aren't All Right, by samdonne. Iron Man.

First and foremost: I love this story for getting the title right. I don't care what The Who thinks, "all right" is two words and ever shall be, and do not speak to me of popular usage. In this case, if everyone is doing it, then everyone is just wrong. (You may be thinking that this is where TFV gets unreasonable, and all I have to say to that is: wait until you hear me talk about the use of "presently.")

Except that's not actually what I love most about this story. (Those of you who don't know me very well are now saying to yourselves, "Oh good, she's sane." Those of you who do know me are staring at the screen in absolute disbelief and saying, "That isn't what she loves best? I...is this the same TFV? Is she feeling okay? Maybe I should call her." You totally should call me, for the record, but I am fine. The story is just so good that it transcends mere considerations of good grammar and correct spelling. And, wow, I feel like a stranger to myself, writing that.) What I love most about it is - well, everything. This is so good that I actually stayed up late to finish it the day it was posted, which seems like faint praise indeed until you consider that I had a two-week-old baby at that point and was so sleep deprived I couldn't consistently remember his name. (This is actually an ongoing problem. For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, we have taken to calling him Squishy, although that is in no way his name. If you ever want to do a comprehensive study of peculiar looks, try calling your new baby Squishy in public.) And yet. I had to finish this.

Why? Well, okay, it's a brilliant example of what might actually happen after the events of the movie, and I'm kind of a sucker for that sort of coming out story, where people don't get to piddle around with secret identities and pretending to be normal and convenient phone booths; I like it when exceptional people have to face the consequences of being exceptional. I am almost faint with love for this story, because it acknowledges that there is likely to be some fallout from, you know, giant mecha duking it out over Los Angeles. (Bad traffic jams, for one. And if you don't think that's a serious consequence meriting a Congressional investigation, you don't live here, that's all.) But this story is also brilliant meta, brilliant commentary on the movie and on our current political climate. And it's done in authentic Vanity Fair style, a classic example of document fan fiction.

I could not love this story more. And I know nearly everyone in fandom has read it, but I'm speaking to the two lone holdouts: read this. Even if you haven't seen the movie. Read it.

The One That Makes Written Sword Fights Compelling. This Is Akin to Making Tax Law Compelling, and Suggests That the Author Can Achieve the Impossible. Gogmagog, Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four, by Sylvia Volk, aka sylviavolk2000. Highlander.

Okay, I need to say something right up front: if you know anything about archeology (and certainly if you spent a semester painstakingly digging up eensy teeny fragments of shells from a trashheap, and when I say "painstakingly," I mean that you can still feel it in your lower back when the wind blows from the southwest), you will scream during the first part of this story. Be strong. Power through it. The rest of the story is worth it. (And some day I am doing a poll about this, about the things we know that make it harder for us to read stories or watch shows or whatever. Like, Best Beloved will shriek and flail and pause a lot during any scene involving bad management - you could seriously run an entire management class just by having the students gather round her while she watched season one of SGA. Although they would have to be froth-resistant students. And people who know me flinch any time a psychiatrist shows up on screen, because - well. You'd think, with all the time they apparently spend in therapy, that writers could write an ethical therapist occasionally. (Yes, I do have a mental list of Good Therapists in Fiction. It is short but detailed.) And I just think it's fascinating, the lenses through which we consume our entertainment, and the knowledge we can't suspend even during happy fun playtime.)

So. That was a tangent. My point is: this story is like settling down with a novel. It's long, it's involving, and you don't need to know the characters or the world in advance, or at least not beyond what you'd get from the back of a book. And, in fact, this story is one of the ones that inspired me to watch Highlander, and also kind of ruined me for it; I was like, "But I want the long, plotty, multilayered, well-researched stories! Oh...right. You can't do that on television." So, if you've got, you know, a vacation or anything coming up, I totally recommend taking this, printing it out, and bringing it along. You could put it between the covers of Ethan Fromme if you don't want anyone to know you're reading fan fiction; no one has ever voluntarily opened that novel. (Except Best Beloved, but she's learned the error of her ways.)

And even if you don't have a vacation coming up, read this. It's fun.

The One That Makes Me Want to Find the "What Is the Shape of Your Left Foot?" Quiz. And Take It. Truly, This Story Is a Dangerous Weapon of Mass Distraction. I Friend You, You Friend Him, by roga. Hercules.

So true it hurts, that's all I have to say about this story.

I sincerely hope you're laughing at that sentence, because of course I have several thousand more words of analysis. (I will attempt to spare you most of them, but it's always a close-run thing.) But the essential message here is that this is in fact so true it hurts, and the specific pain it inflicts is in your abdominal and face muscles, because you have to laugh and laugh and laugh.

And you may be saying to yourself, "But I don't know anything about this fandom!" Fine, whatever. I don't care. You know who Hercules is, yes? (Demigod. All burly and shiny and stuff. Rights wrongs. Fights injustice. Cleans stables.) Well, he has a friend named Iolaus, and together they fight crime, where "crime" usually means gods acting up and monsters getting out of line. There. You have a full education in everything you need to know to read this story.

Or, okay, you need to know one other thing to read this, but, well. If you're reading this, you already know about social networking, and that's what this story is really about. Anyone with a LiveJournal (or Facebook, or MySpace, or, hell, an account on a knitting-based social networking site) needs to read this. It's an important cautionary tale! That will make you laugh until you are flailing weakly in front of the computer and seriously considering calling for emergency rescue. ("9-1-1, what is your emergency?" "Dead. From. Funny.") And if you happen to be relatively new to the social networking scene, this can teach you valuable lessons. Probably the most important one is "stay away from social networking unless you want to destroy your village," but, well, it's too late for most of us on that one. (And if it isn't too late for you, may I interest you in a LiveJournal account? You'll have lots of fun while you're village is falling apart, I promise!")

Bonus: The Art That Will Show You Who the Real Heroes of Pegasus Are. SGA-1? Pfffft. Final Images, by astridv. Stargate: Atlantis.

Poor, poor MALPs. They lead a hard life. And, going by this art, I suspect they also lead rather short lives. John Sheppard? Ronon Dex? Hah. Their so-called "heroism" is built on the backs of the oppressed, and by "the oppressed", I mean MALPs. MALPs are the ones who actually boldly go where no one has gone before! And do they ever get thanked? No. They don't even get any screen time. But astridv has managed to correct that. People, please go inspect these heart-rending final images sent back by five brave, doomed MALPs. And then won't you join the Campaign for MALP Rights? Together, we can fight the injustice inflicted on our MALPy friends across two galaxies.
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
Thanks for all the hard drive advice, folks - operation Save the Vids is underway. And good thing, too, because I am starting to twitch without them.

So. I had a whole introduction here linking 2007 and AUs and stuff, but I managed to delete it in a way that could not be undone. (The technological disaster front is weakening, but still present. Exorcism of our premises may be required if this keeps up much longer.) Instead, I will just say this:

Hey. Here are some AUs I think you should read.

The One That Proves That the World May Change, but Macaroni Sculptures Stay the Same. A Chip off the Old Blog, by Salieri, aka troyswann. due South, gen.

Okay, two things: I'm not going to spoil this (not not not, no matter how much I want to, and oh god I so do) and I am going to warn for something. There is a suggestion of animal harm. The harmed animal is not Dief. The animal harm does not appear onscreen, as it were. And yet, it bothered the hell out of me, and I know there are a few people out there who might also be bothered. Hence, warning.

But here's the thing: I love this story anyway. And those of you who know me will know how stunning that is. Normally, if there's animal harm of any kind, that's it - my brain wipes and the rest of the story becomes meaningless. In extreme cases, this ends with me sobbing helplessly against a fence in Disney World (Curse that animation demo, with the clips from Certain Animated Classics We Won't Mention, Because Just the Names Sometimes Make Me Cry!) to the degree that Disney employees grow worried and offer to "help," for which read, "Take you somewhere where you won't disturb the people who are having fun in the happiest place on the earth, unlike you, you - um. Are you all right? God, can you even breathe?" (Yes, that really happened. It wasn't a shining moment for my dignity. Also, please keep in mind that I was twenty-four at the time. And I couldn't talk, so Best Beloved had to reassure people that no, really, I was perfectly fine - not easy against a background of choking sobs - and then tow me out and keep me from bonking into random tourists, because I also couldn't see very well because of all the crying. Disney animators: destroying hearts, minds, and lives since the 1930s!)

Anyway. My point is: I love this story so much that I just deal with the whole animal unhappiness. Because this story is incredible. I have an unhealthy love for science fiction anyway, and this is like a tribute to certain SF classics (which I am not saying, because remember how I am not spoiling this?) and the most perfect dS AU ever. The casting is - oh, it is so perfect that I get light-headed from glee just thinking about it. (You can tell because of all the italics. I get crazy with the emphasis when I'm gleeful.) I - I kind of want a dS v 2.0 TV show, based on this premise, because I tell you and I tell you true: the only thing better than a sexual-tension laden buddy cop show filled with magical realism and Diefenbaker is that same show in a classic SF setting.

Oh, I can't even begin to communicate the perfection of this story. Or, okay, I could, but I'd end up spoiling it. Which I am not going to do. Just - just read it, okay? Please. Otherwise I'll be forced to keep babbling, and since I can't talk about the story (which is oh my god so perfect), I'd end up talking about other cruel things Disney animators have done to me and mine. You don't want to hear about how my father (yes, it's genetic) and I both cried all the way through dinner on my 16th birthday, alarming waitstaff and fellow diners and forcing my mother and sister to come up with topics of conversation that didn't revolve around the two freaks weeping into their linguine across the table. (The restaurant manager refused to charge us for our meals, even though my father tried to explain that it wasn't the food that was the problem.) Neither do you want to hear about my first and only childhood moving-going experience. Really you don't. So just read this story, okay?

ETA: The day I after I posted this recommendation, Salieri posted an extended version of this: Real Boys (A Chip off the Old Blog), due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. It is all of the awesomeness described above times about fifteen.

The One That Will Heal the Wounds Left on Your Soul by Long, Stilted Sentences. And Classic Fiction. Seriously, This Is the Anodyne for 90% of English Class Related Scarring. Jane Narf, by Parhelion, aka parhelion_aloft.** Pinky and the Brain, and the pairing is - Pinky/Brain, maybe? Assuming Jane Narf is Pinky? I don't know. I'm a little shaky on this, as I have never seen or even heard of the canon. (I'm just assuming this is an AU, actually; I don't know for sure. If the canon is really like this, oh my god someone please tell me, because I will immediately procure it even if I have to commit illegal acts to do so.)

So. I don't know Pinky and the Brain. But I do know Jane Eyre, and let me tell you, reading it was an unfortunate experience. I was 8 or 9, and as far as I was concerned, the book started well. Orphans! Injustice! Picturesque diseases! All it needed was a magic amulet or something, and it would have been on the road to greatness. And then it deteriorated into this long story about exceedingly boring old people who, in my 8-or-9-year-old opinion, were pathetic: they spent long periods of time whining and then deliberately making life worse for themselves, apparently so they could have more to whine about. I just could not believe how stupid they were. I kept reading only because of my sincere conviction that sooner or later the magic would turn up. I finished with a feeling of great betrayal: where was the magic? Stupidity was not okay without magic!

Well, as it turns out, the magic is here, in this story. Clearly, Pinky and the Brain is the secret ingredient that makes Jane Eyre magical and right, at long long last. Well, okay, the actual equation would probably look more like this: Parhelion(Jane Eyre + Pinky and the Brain) = awesomeness of a previously undiscovered caliber. Because, obviously, it took a mind of great genius to produce this work. It is - god. The voice, the tone, the sheer joy this brought me. I cannot begin to describe it.

I will say, though, that this story healed me. I've been carrying around resentment about Jane Eyre since, well, I was 8 or 9. No longer. Now it is and forever will be a wonderful story - a classic work about a young lab rat and her forbidden romance with the mysterious Mr. Brainchester. And it will remain forever on my list of Things That Bring Me Great Joy.

Narf.

The One in Which We Learn That We Must Throw off the Shackles of Superstition, for It Can Stand in the Way of Orgasms. String Theory, a Concerto for Violin in D Minor, by toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

I have a great fondness for the alternate occupation AU. If there's a story where Beecher is a bartender and Chris Keller is the bar's bouncer, I will read it with pleasure, even though there are well-documented problems with taking Beecher and Keller out of a prison setting. Same with, for example, a story about Ray Kowalski and Benton Fraser, zoo employees - I will read that one and likely chortle with delight as I'm doing so. And if you make Batman a ship's captain running down the Dread Pirate Joker, I will not only read it but likely die of unbounded fannish glee in the process.

SGA gives me an unusually high dose (even dangerously high, but that's fine: my tolerance is astonishing) of this kind of happiness, because the characters fit anywhere. Seriously. I'm not sure why, but it's tough to think of alternate occupations you couldn't give the SGA crew. (It's just like - I have this game I play with Best Beloved: name a movie, and I'll recast it with SGA characters. Classic romance is especially good for this, but almost anything works. The Matrix! Master and Commander! The Godfather! Pride and Prejudice! No, wait, I think someone already wrote that last one.)

So, here we have Rodney McKay the brilliant composer and conductor and John Sheppard the fuckup violinist. And I just - I have such love for this, because it works. These are recognizably our Friends of Pegasus even as they slot perfectly into the orchestra AU roles. (And Ronon is a percussionist. I was a percussionist once, so I practically collapsed at my keyboard when I read that. Seriously, Ronon was born to play percussion.)

And it's just - it works. It's wonderful, and it's fun, and it makes my heart turn cartwheels from happiness. What more can I say?

The One That Made Me Like a Creepy Talking Monkey. And I Loathe Monkeys, People; As Far As I'm Concerned, Hell Is Talking Monkeys.* Home Is Where the Heart Is, by Martha Wilson, aka ltlj, and Kimberley Rector, aka researchgrrrl. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, gen. Ish. (It's hard to say with Hercules, unless someone's cock is in someone else's mouth, because if you're writing in line with the canon, it feels slashy even when it's totally gen.)

Okay. So. You don't know Hercules? I don't care. You can read this as original fiction - it's that good, and that original, and that much fun. Here's what you need to know: there's this guy named Hercules, who you may already have heard of in other contexts. He's a demigod, in case you didn't know. His friend and long-time companion Iolaus died, and he tried to find another one, but it didn't work out. There. Now you're ready to read this.

And read it you should, because - oh my god, this is so good. The Egyptian elements made my heart leap with joy. (People with heart conditions that preclude leaping should consult their doctors before reading this story.) I can't even talk about how wonderful this is, and partly that's because I don't want to spoil it, but also because I get incoherent and babble-ish, and this soon after my re-reading of Jane Narf, that could be dangerous.

And if you do know Hercules? Well, you may remember a spot of unpleasantness that those in the know call "the fifth season." This fixes that. It's an AU that doesn't just erase the whole whatever-it-was that ended up with Iolaus dead and replaced by WTF-that's-not-Iolaus (because, seriously, I don't know for sure what happened there - Best Beloved stopped watching Hercules after season four, thanks to some advice I got from marycrawford, who is my Hercules consultant). It takes those events, accepts them, and then somehow makes them all better, in a way that is both brilliant and perfectly in line with the canon. And is also full of Egyptian mythology. Did I mention that?

(By the way, if you read this story and think, "I want more Egyptian mythology influenced fantasy. But, by god, this time I want it with time travel and Lord Byron," let me know. I'll have an original fiction recommendation for you.)

-Footnote-

* Yes. Ironic, isn't it?

** Thanks, mutecornett!
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
05 January 2007 @ 09:22 pm
So. Someone on my friends list linked to the YouTube clip about the T.S. Eliot Equation, and I realized it could be used to prove three things about me:
  1. I won't have any cats in my old age, because zero divided by anything is always zero. This is good, because I am tragically allergic to cats.

  2. I won't live to be old, because some right-thinking citizen will throttle me before then. I can best explain this via a conversation I had upon viewing the YouTube clip.

    Me: But...okay, I get the concept, and yet. Well. Shouldn't the number of exclamation points be an intensifying rather than a mitigating factor?
    BB: What?
    Me: Because if you divide by the number of exclamation points, then that reduces the total number of cats. Whereas obviously more exclamation points should increase the total number of cats, and -
    BB: Are you arguing the terms of an equation from a YouTube comedy clip?
    Me, quietly: I just think it's important to be accurate, and that's obviously inaccurate, because -
    BB, loudly: I said, are you arguing the terms of an equation from a YouTube comedy clip?
    Me, very quietly: Possibly.
    [There is a long silence.]
    BB: Oh my god. Do you hear yourself?
    [There is another long silence in which I reflect upon my life to date.]
    Me: ...Maybe I need a hobby.

  3. I need to post. Yes, I had my usual December quietness, induced by Yuletide + work + seasonal depression, but obviously if I want to live through this year, never mind to a (sadly cat-free) old age, I need a hobby. One that doesn't involve critiquing YouTube math. And, as it turns out, I already have a hobby: fan fiction! It's time to get in touch with my hobby again, ideally before the person who throttles me is Best Beloved.
So, courtesy of the math in some guy's YouTube comedy bit, here I bring you: crossovers.

Yeah. That transition sucked, but in my defense: a) I think you'll find, if you think about it, that there is no possible good transition there, so I can hardly be blamed for not finding it, b) I have to get this post done before I turn into a Crazy Pedant Lady, which is much much worse than a Crazy Cat Lady, and c) I'm sick, so I am excused from having to have smooth transitions and polished prose and stuff. (No, really. I have a note and everything.)

That said, shall we get right to the crossovers?

The One That Features Draco Malfoy in a Cage and Yet Is Somehow Still Gen. Five Have a Magical Time, by lazy_neutrino. Harry Potter x Enid Blyton's Famous Five, gen.

I - I don't know if other people will react to this one the way I did. (My reaction, for the record, was laughter interspersed with broken sobs, because I was obsessed with the Famous Five books in my youth, people, and they read just like this, and oh my god I've wasted my entire life.) You pretty much need to have spent three years of your childhood hiding in your closet with a flashlight and a stack of Famous Five books.

Yes. I was just that cool as a kid. Fear me.

But I think even if you had a more normal childhood - one featuring light and good literature and a total lack of lashings of ginger beer, a phrase that can still cause my entire right side to cramp up from phantom flashlight-holding pain - you can enjoy this. Just know that lazy_neutrino has hit the style of the Famous Five so perfectly that I would actually suspect her of being the reincarnation of Enid Blyton if that wasn't such a horrible thing to say about a person who clearly a) is a very talented writer and b) spent much of her childhood in the same kind of thrall I did, and therefore has suffered enough.

And, of course, the Harry Potter elements are perfect. I just - I love this brilliant (smashing!) clash of two subgenres of British children's literature (the magical and the Blyton, and yes, Blyton is entirely deserving of her own subgenre), and the way the Harry Potter world looks through the eyes of the Famous Five, and, well, every flashback-to-my-unfortunate-youth-inducing word of the narrative.

Bonus: after re-reading this, I felt a lot better about my need to argue YouTube math, because obviously I was broken from the start. Which means I can blame my parents. Or, possibly, Enid Blyton. Both are, obviously, excellent choices that take the burden of normalcy off me. And that, my friends, is the key to mental health.

The One That Is Perfectly Timed for Post-Holiday Reading, Since It Will Make You Feel Good About How Functional and Healthy Your Family Is. Really. The Gods Might Offer Gifts, by iseult_variante. Supernatural x American Gods, gen.

I think it's safe to say you'll enjoy this story if you know either fandom. I don't know Supernatural (well, beyond what I pick up from vids, which is: two brothers, a car, and a woman in plastic wrap taped to the ceiling, plus a lot of scary stuff that means I could never, ever watch the show) at all, but I totally got this. And, going by the comments, people who don't know American Gods also love this story.

Of course, if you love Supernatural, I have to wonder why you don't know American Gods, because you'd probably love it, for the same reason that this crossover is such a fucking brilliant idea. (Brilliantly executed, too, let me just add.) Both canons address similar themes, albeit in a different way, and they are just such a natural fit that I am now wondering where the Dean/Shadow is. Or the John/Loki. (Oh, come on, I can't be the only person thinking that.)

But if there's only going to be one Supernatural x American Gods crossover, I'm glad this was it, because this is so damn perfect. iseult_variante picked just the right characters, just the right moment, and just the right themes - oh my god, people, this hits my family complications kink so hard that I think it might actually have broken it - and does it all so well that it looks easy. Which it manifestly is not.

Bonus: I'm glad I re-read this one immediately after Five Have a Magical Time, because I now feel better about my childhood. I mean, okay, I was a weird, closet-dwelling (ha ha ha - no, literally), book-obsessed little troll, but obviously that is, in the grand scheme of things, both normal and healthy. (No one should point out that neither of the families in this story are ideal barometers of mental health, okay? Let me be pleased with my newfound normalcy.)

The One That Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Concept of Teyla's People. X, by trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis x X-Men, gen.

This one you can definitely follow if you only know one canon or the other, but if you know both, it is so very wonderful that I would recommend acquiring whichever canon you don't know (or, hell, both canons) just so you can obtain full enjoyment of it. trinityofone does an incredible job of fusing these canons, of mapping the X-verse onto the Gateverse; every time I read this, I experience a vague sense of shock when I finish it and realize, oh, right, this isn't canon. They don't actually have these powers and they aren't actually these people.

But if they were. Oh, god, I would faint from glee. Seriously. I might even die: first ever fannishness-induced implosion. Because it is so right.

If by some chance you haven't read this story (and, really, I don't see how anyone could have missed it, but just in case), I don't want to spoil it for you - the slow reveal is part of the joy of this, figuring out how things fit together and what's going on. I will say, though, that I have special and unholy glee for Zelenka's, um, form in this - the only thing that could have been better is if he'd been Beast. (Oh, god, who is Beast in this universe? Is there anyone awesome enough?)

And now I'm going to shut up, because, really, I am bouncing with eagerness to spoil this whole story for you, all, "And then - and also - and oh my god, you will not even believe but it's so -" Obviously I need to be quiet. Now.

Bonus: I think a few of you know that I am a recovering X-Addict. So many of us went through these little stages in college, and I was not immune. But because I got my sex and drugs and rough-approximation-of-music issues out of the way in high school (a total time-saver, but nonetheless not recommended unless you have excellent mental health coverage), I was left with nothing but geekiness to explore in college. I'd like to say, oh, there was this boy, and it was his fault, and I was totally innocent, but I know damn well I can't shift the blame on this one. It was my inner fan emerging, and she bought every damn comic book that had an X on it. Those of you who have been there will understand what this translates to, in terms of dollars, shame, and square feet of our guest room consumed by long boxes. My point is: this story made it all worth it. It made my heart glad. It also kind of made me want to relapse, but I am stronger than that.

I hope.

The One That Proves That Observer Bias Was Alive and Well and Living in Pseudo-Ancient Greece. Hercules ex Machina, by falzalot. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys x The Bible, gen.

This one you can read with only a vague knowledge of both canons. Yes, I am actually the only person I know who hasn't read the Bible. It's - I tried, okay? All I remember is that there was a chapter that was a lot like that one chapter of the Iliad that lists all the ships everyone brought: just an endless series of people begetting other people, is what I recall. It broke me. (The potluck chapter of the Iliad - "And Ajax of Salamis brought a tasty casserole that served twelve," or whatever it was - didn't break me, but I was a lot older. Also, it was required reading. That helped. And, um, do I need to mention the extremely motivating slash factor? No. I thought not.)

So. Hercules and the Bible. You can see why I chose this as the fourth perfect-fit crossover, right? Hercules: set in ancient times, all about gods. The Bible: set in ancient times, all about God. And, as far as I can tell, the Hercules canon is all about running roughshod through every god-related story on the planet (plus the occasional disco, for which I have still not found an adequate explanation that doesn't involve illegal chemicals in the drinking water), so why not a run-in with, well, I'm not going to say. The beauty of this story, for me, is the moment when it goes off the rails: you're not expecting a crossover, and then suddenly whoops! You're in the Bible. It's fabulous.

Plus, I love the way Hercules reacts to his situation, which is both very Hercules and very appropriate. And, most of all, I love that none of this really merits a blink. Sure, there's the occasional complaint, but this isn't actually different than your average day in the lives of Hercules and Iolaus, professional monsterbait.

Which is, of course, why it's a perfect crossover.

Not Actually a Bonus: I should never have brought up the Iliad in close conjunction with Hercules. I see this now, but it's too late. I'm already picturing Hercules and Iolaus encountering Achilles and Patroclus. (Which, huh, I guess they pretty much could have. Did they?) My head is ground zero of a very unfortunate crossover that involves a hell of a lot of pouting, people. Yikes.
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
In the past, I've gone into the concept of the Aliens Make Them Do It story - oh, have I ever - but aliens can't take full responsibility for all the sexing, you know. Even the most assiduously lascivious extra-terrestrial needs a break sometime. But never fear, because anything, properly applied, can get the characters into the appropriately compromising positions. So today I salute the creativity and thoughtfulness and downright old-fashioned gumption of those authors who move beyond mere aliens to embrace a world in which everything makes the characters have sex.

The Story That Demonstrates Just How Embarrassing It Can Be to Have Your Father Take an Active Interest in Your Sex Life. Especially When Your Father Is Famous for Having Sex While Wearing a Swan Costume. (Huh. Does That Make Zeus a Furry?) An Affair to Remember, by Scarlette Sky and Randi DuMois. (Does anyone have LJ names or websites for them?) Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, Hercules/Iolaus. (Note: this story has some formatting issues, but it's so worth it.) Clearly, there's been some discrimination going on; I mean, gods can be just as perverse as any alien you care to name, and yet this is the first story I've ever read in which the Gods Make Them Do It. Which is a pity. Obviously, Hercules should be absolutely full of gods with NC-17 agendas, but according to my Fandom Informer (marycrawford, and seriously, people - don't ever let her come near you with links unless you just want to spend upwards of a day giggling over a little pig in a Hercules outfit), it isn't. This story makes up for a lot, though, particularly with Hercules's spectacular cluelessness and his seriously inappropriate triumph. (Note for the denser demigods out there: "Take that, Ares!" really isn't appropriate pillow talk.)

And, seriously, do not even tell me you don't know this fandom well enough to read in it, because those Greek myths you read as a kid are all the orientation you need for this story. But, okay, want a summary of it? Ares: war god with anger management issues. Zeus: slut who looks nice on a throne. Hercules: son of Zeus and a mortal woman (I'm not even sure if it's still Alcmene in this canon) who looks heroic in costumes that would make any average mortal despair. Iolaus: witty, scrappy sidekick. Xena: unnaturally fond of leather. Joxer: I haven't a clue - something I have in common with him, judging by this story - but he seems like one of those guys who is bags of fun to have around right up until you have to punch him in the mouth, and sometimes he's still fun after that, especially given how he really doesn't hold it against you. There you go. Now go read this and be inspired to write lots of other stories in which the Gods Make Them Do It. It would be a blight on all of fandom if a handful of old-time myth writers beat us on the perviness score, and yet have I seen the story in which Rodney McKay is seduced by a golden shower? Uh, no. And I don't want to. But the gods are totally fair game.

The Story That Focuses on the Unexpected Bonuses People Get for Being Touched by a Psychic. And, Wow, "Touched by a Psychic" Would Totally Work As an AU Title for This Canon. Walt Bannerman Is Gay, by Tangerine, aka tangeriner. Dead Zone, Walt Bannerman/Bruce Lewis. You know, I really didn't think a Johnnyless pairing could work in this fandom. The canon is very focused on him, on his visions, his point of view - unusually so for a TV series. (Actually, maybe lots of TV shows do this. But I only know TV shows from fandom, and usually fannish TV shows are about either a duo or an ensemble, and the point of view isn't so locked onto just one character.) So, you know, this story, written from Bruce's point of view and with Johnny only making cameos, has the potential to feel very much out of line, very off. It doesn't, or it doesn't to me. Instead, it's a look at the world surrounding Johnny, this more mundane Cleaves Mills where people just try to do their jobs, sometimes with the help of Johnny's visions, yeah, but never with OMGWTFArmageddon, not to mention a totally malfunctioning brain, looming over them every minute of every day.

And that's what made this pairing work for me. Turns out there's a weird symmetry about it, because these are the two people whose lives have been most warped, but not fundamentally altered, by Johnny's dead zone. In other words, these are the two people who best qualify to have the Psychic Make Them Do It. And there's a twist in that which I am not going to spoil for you, but that twist made me even more happy that I'd gone along for this nearly vision-free ride. Because, yeah, Bruce and Walt are still affected by the Psychic Mojo here, but they're also their own people, and the thing about people is that things never go according to plan once they get involved. Even the psychic can't change that. Maybe it's just my delight in ornery displays of free will talking, but I love that.

The Story in Which Ray and Fraser Prove That It Is Entirely Possible to Die of Stubbornness, and They're Just the Boys to Do It. An Incident Along a Poorly Guarded Border, by kindkit. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. And from psychics with - well, not specifically needs, more like a mystical imperative, we go to an entirely other kind of mystical imperative. Specifically, here we have the Vaguely Ethnic Spirits of Magical Realism Make Them Do It. Well, so does they weather, but - seriously, sometimes Ray and Fraser get into this place of being total blockheads, and it takes being hit over the head with their impending deaths to get them to kiss. (And this despite the fact that they've already done it in the canon.) This is what happens to them here (hardly surprising, I'm guessing, given that I elected to bring it up in the story summary), and the metaphorical clue-in-the-form-of-a-brick is a snarky Inuit, which I just love beyond the telling of it. I mean, it's bad enough when you need a near death experience and a spiritual intervention to get you together with someone, but when your Big Fat Honking Clue is mocking your denseness, well, it's time to loosen up and fuck right, folks.

Fortunately, Ray and Fraser manage to do just that. And there are so many joys here - seeing Ray and Fraser tag-team on their spiritual advisor is worth the price of admission (well, I mean, it would be if there was a price) all by itself. And it's wonderful to see that Ray and Fraser have standards, because, yeah, okay - it's one thing to initiate sexual relations at the behest of a deceased Inuit, but letting that Inuit watch crosses the line. Frankly, we could all stand to follow their example. (Or at least I could. My lines are not what they once were. And I don't mean when I was wee and innocent; I mean my lines have migrated substantially since this time last week. Fandom: consistently enabling me to achieve new moral lows.)

The Story That Is Going to Give Your Universal Remote a Serious Complex. The Scientific Method, by cupidsbow. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/A Whole Bunch of Bystanders, Innocent and Otherwise, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. What, you thought I could get all the way through a "by god, something makes them do it" set without bringing SGA into it? Allow me to chortle heartily, because this is the fandom that brings all the inexplicably sex-focused deii ex machina to the yard. (And ceremonial altar and science lab and emergency snow shelter and prison cell and alien brothel and rustic glade.) So here we have that great favorite of mine: Ancient Technology Makes Them Do It, and when I say "them," I mean, well - see the pairing label. Because, you know, maybe Rodney can kill people with his brain. None of us is surprised by that, really. But John can make people come with his brain, totally without meaning to, and that is even less surprising. (Let's face it. If ever there was a man who could have an orgy accidentally, John would be that guy. Hell, is that guy.)

I'm as disturbingly vocal a fan of something-makes-them-do-it stories as you would ever fear to find, but it's actually the little details that make me love this story. I love Exceedingly Competent Rodney demonstrating that all that field experience is good for something. I love the way John and Rodney negotiate one of those embarrassing mess hall scenes with such consummate skill that you'd think they had uncomfortable post-sex conversations all the time. I love, love, love the name Rodney and Zelenka gave the Ancient device in question; I assume it's a tip of the hat to James Randi, and it made me snicker helplessly the first time I read this. All in all, this story is fan fiction equivalent of chocolate ice cream, and I don't mean some newfangled, flash-in-the-pan thing like brownie superfudge chunk; I mean chocolate ice cream: sweet, satisfying, and classic.
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
Okay, first, a public service advisory: I am having a blast bidding on the folks over at Sweet Charity (and this despite the fact that that site is responsible for the way "Sweet Caroline" keeps boinging through my head, killing brain cells and generally laying waste to my fragile neurochemical makeup as it goes). Mostly, I'm bidding on vidders, 'cause who hasn't wanted a personal vidder? I'd take that over a personal chef any day.

But here's the thing: you people don't want me to win a vidder. It's better for us all if I don't. Because every time I bid on one, I say to myself, "Yes...and if I win her, I will ask for SGA set to The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything. That will be my first choice, I think. Yes." And it's a different idea every time I bid, and it's always a terrible idea, and frankly I think you all owe it to the world to go out there and overbid me.

If you don't, I don't want to hear any whining later on.

And now, on to the recommendations. (Yes, I know: actual recommendations. It's a stunning, stunning thing.)

I've been feeling kind of, well, bummed lately. Don't know why. Sometimes the squee just doesn't happen. So when I went to write up this set, I thought to myself: what brings the sunshine back to my fannish day? And the answer was, of course: crack. Crack makes everything better.

So I wandered over to the to-be-recommended crack stories and noticed that there was a set that was not marked rec'd that I really thought I'd already done. Genderswitch and genderfuck stories? Is this ringing anyone's bells? Because it's ringing mine, and yet I can't find the set where I recommended these. So I'm going to assume I'm having some weird posting version of deja vu (I guess that'd be deja...huh. What word do people use in French to describe the act of posting to one's journal or blog?), and just plunge ahead with the posting. Let me know if I'm wrong, though, huh?

The Story That Really Makes a Disturbing Amount of Sense, When You Think About It, and Wow. What Does That Say About SGA? Human Vacillation, by trinityofone. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. And, okay, I don't want to spoil this one too much, so can I just kind of, I don't know, talk around this story rather than about it? (Yes, fine, go right ahead and say it. "That's what you always do anyway." Thank you very much.) What I can say is that for once we have a minor character changing sexes. (I mean, relatively minor - we're not talking about that Canadian, um, you know, console guy or anything*.) Which is interesting to me because we get the reaction not from the point of view of the character (and, damn, writing this is hard because pronouns just totally suck monkeys in English) who has been genderswapped, but from the bystanders.

This story is also very, very much worth reading from a stylegeek perspective. See, when you start it - or, okay, when I started it the first time I read it - it seems kind of slow, kind of like there are parts missing. (And not just Lorne's parts. Yes, I did have to say that. I did.) And then there's this moment of epiphany, and suddenly it becomes very, very interesting. At which point you can go back and read the beginning part and it won't be dull at all. I've read this story maybe three dozen times to track the reasons why that happens and the things that change meaning, and it's fascinating. To me, anyway.

The Story Featuring Daniel Jackson Among the Women. Going Native, As It Were. This Is the Alternative, by scrollgirl. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. This is a two-for-the-price-of-one genderswitch story - Jack and Daniel both get switched (and the story doesn't really say how, but after all this time reading SGA, all I could think was, "Oh, those wacky Ancients"). Daniel, of course, views it this as the ultimate anthropological opportunity: he will live among the women and discover their arcane rituals. (And also paint his toenails.) Jack, on the other hand, pulls an Achilles and spends three days sulking in the Colorado Springs equivalent of his tent. (And, yes, then they have sex. You can trust me, people; when I rec a story that should have sex in it, by god, the sex will be there.) Classic genderswitch, my friends, classic. (And I find it interesting, too, that Jack is probably the oldest character I've seen swapped - I mean, biological age, not chronological, 'cause I've seen girl Spike and so on. Gives rise to a lot of gender and age related random geekery that I'll spare y'all.)

So I have, obviously, a whole bucket of love for this story. (I love the Daniel Goodall thing more than words can express. I once even wrote a comment on this story with extracts from his Secret Field Research Journal: "Today, the 'pod' of women has accepted me as its own. Perhaps I will at last be able to divine the mysteries behind the ritual known as the 'chick flick.'" I deleted the comment without posting it, thank god, but I will totally own my dorkishness in just writing it at all.) But I also have love for the other story I see lurking inside it. Because I totally want to see the AU version, where Sam and Teal'c got genderswapped. Because, okay - Teal'c would make a fucking fabulous woman, and Sam would get a good, solid, first-hand look at how much easier things are in her chosen fields - science, the military - when you're male. So, really, this story is not just two genderswaps but also two loves for the price of one. Economical and fun.

The Story That at Last Answers the Burning Question: What Would a Mountie Do If He Was Sent to Buy Panties for His Temporarily Girl-Parts-Enhanced Boyfriend? Girls, Girls, Girls, by brooklinegirl. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. And this, right here, is why I will always love dS. Because BLG starts off this story with, "for reasons that didn't need exploring at this juncture, Ray had breasts." And every dS fan in the world nods and is just fine with that - thinks, like, "Okay. Probably some kind of Inuit story or magical realism thing in there, but no big deal, no need to explore it at this juncture. Ray has breasts. Fine and dandy." You have to love a fandom in which explanations are totally optional. (I suspect that you could start off a story with, "For reasons that didn't need exploring at this juncture, Ray was a zebra, and he just hoped like Christ he wasn't in the Chicago Zoo, because he was living outdoors now, and it was September, and if Fraser didn't get his ass to this zoo soon, well, Ray didn't want to have to live through a Chicago winter outdoors as a zebra. Far as he could tell, they weren't designed for the cold." And everyone would be like, "Okay, cool, zebra. I can go with that.")

You also have to love a fandom that can produce so much excellent genderfuck in the first place. Because when ds_flashfiction started the genderfuck challenge, I said: "Not for me." But then people started writing it, so of course I had to read it, and it turned out that I can get down with the random assorted parts swappage. (Just another boundary forever destroyed by fan fiction!) And this, actually, is the story that made it happen. I read the Very Special Note about beta-reading and I had to read the story. And when I was finished with this, I had to go read everything else in this challenge, and then loads of genderfuck in other fandoms. Which led, absolutely and completely, to this post. (Yup, this does mean you should blame brooklinegirl if you don't like the topic of this post. Not my fault! Hers!)

The Vid That Turns Grey Skies to Blue. Blue Skies Filled with Men in Drag Flying Via Parasol, to Be Precise. Holding out for a Hero, by marycrawford. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, and, um. Hercules/the Widow Twanky? Yeah, that's pretty much the pairing, I guess. So, okay. This is a vid, not fan fiction. And you need to download it right now. Don't even try to get out of it by saying you don't like Hercules, or you don't know from Hercules, or you get hives when you watch Holding out for a Hero vids, because, seriously. This vid is the best thing ever. Don't download it for the song, people, or for the characters: download it for the breakdancing demigod and the sequined matador outfit and the giant bitey snake head of doom. (Don't miss the flatly terrified expression on Hercules's face when he's being touched by girls, either.) Most of all, download it for its mood elevating effect, because, seriously, if you tried to score this on the Joy-Inducing Pharmaceuticals Scale, it would end up in the "strictly illegal but seriously fun" category. Get the vid now before the FDA takes it off the market!

Also, I want you to think about this: I'm recommending a vid in a genderfuck set. Which means that there has to be some kind of canonical genderfuckery, since we can't randomly swap parts in and out on the characters in the actual source. (Soon, my pets, soon; the technology just isn't there yet.) And I - I don't know, cannot even imagine what possible rational plotline could have produced the Widow Twanky (or most of the other shots in here), but I don't need to be able to. (There's also canonical speciesfuck, apparently, as Hercules is transformed into a pig in a clip in this vid. English has no words sufficient to express my glee at the pig's little Hercules costume.) I can just watch this and revel in the pure, pure cheesy goodness of it, and also apparently the series from whence it came. (Which - wow. It makes Wisconsin look totally cheeseless. It's like our nation's secret stockpile of truly excellent cheese, stored up for a time when the world is sad and lonely and bereft of dairy goods.) And you should, too. Go forth and download. You'll thank me later.

-Footnote-
* Although that'd be hysterical: all the minor characters on Atlantis change sexes. I can picture the senior staff meeting now:

Weir, looking tense: "Maybe a counseling program? Group therapy?"

Sheppard, looking helpless: "The Marines keep coming to me because we don't have enough regulation bras. What am I supposed to do? And one of them tried to hug me yesterday. A Marine tried to hug me."

McKay, looking like someone who has just solved a challenging crossword puzzle: "You know, I thought something was different around here!"