tried to eat the safe banana
24 September 2010 @ 10:58 pm
Those of you who were on the earthling filter way back when he was still leasing space in my body may remember that I suffer from a very severe case of Familial Lyrics Disorder, as did my father and my grandmother before me. (Some of our incorrect songs have been handed down through three generations!) It's not just that I mishear and misremember lyrics, it's that my brain hardwires the wrong things in and will not admit any correction. (It's worse with traditional songs that you mostly sing rather than hear. Never sing these with me. Ever.)

So. Recently, thanks to a certain Star Trek: TOS YouTube vid, I have been listening to Justin Timberlake's Sexyback from time to time. And. Well. There's a portion of the lyrics that goes like this (and I am copying these from a lyrics site, because god knows you shouldn't trust my brain on this one):

Come here girl
Go ahead, be gone with it
Come to the back
Go ahead, be gone with it
VIP
Go ahead, be gone with it
Drinks on me
Go ahead, be gone with it
Let me see what you're working with
Go ahead, be gone with it
Look at those hips
Go ahead, be gone with it
You make me smile
Go ahead, be gone with it

...And then my brain just INSISTS that the next line is:

Julia Child
Go ahead, be gone with it

Now. Best Beloved (and the aforementioned lyrics site) has pointed out to me many times that he is actually saying GO AHEAD, child, but my brain of course cannot possibly believe this. Every time I hear the song, I find myself singing about Julia Child.

Which means that my brain now believes it to be canon that Julia Child is pretty much Justin Timberlake's ideal woman. (He tells her to get her sexy on!) It just does. Nothing can convince it otherwise. And so I will be driving in my car and thinking about how sad their true love is, what with her being married and, you know, dead and stuff. I picture him secretly owning the complete Julia Child collection, including the extremely rare early public access shows, and saying to his bandmates (and I don't even remember which band he's from, which I know will get me soundly scorned in fandom, but probably not nearly as much as pairing Justin Timberlake with Julia Child), "No, guys, go ahead, I have - uh, some stuff I need to do here."

And then he puts on a DVD - ooo, forcemeat! - and sighs wistfully at the screen, thinking, Man, they don't make them like this anymore. And then later he does a perfect Julia Child imitation, and everyone laughs, and he smiles too, but inside he's dying, of course.

A long time ago (11 internet millennia), Bone told me that sooner or later, I'd find the RPF fandom that would drag me in. I considered it a promise. Ever since then, I have tried to read one story in every RPF fandom that came down the pike, always hoping that this would be the magical one that broke whatever it is in my brain that can't deal with RPF. And now I'm afraid I have, and the fandom in question is Justin Timberlake/Julia Child. I mean, what if this is the only RPF pairing my brain will ever accept? It's too weird even for Yuletide! No one else anywhere is interested in this pairing! It's just me and my defective brain!

It's very sad. And yet I experience such joy every time I hear Justin Timberlake say "look at those hips" and my brain pictures Julia Child. (Try it! You'll like it!) So really I have no regrets.

Now. Obviously, with a lead in like that, I have no choice but to offer you rare pairings. (And I would offer you Justin Timberlake/Julia Child, but unfortunately the entire archive is located in my head.)

The One That Features Very Serious Neckcloth Hurt/Comfort. Ascots and Ties May Wish to Skip This One. Clean Linen, by [dreamwidth.org profile] cimorene. Georgette Heyer novels, Claud Darracott/Felix Hethersett. (And, yes, even if you have read every Heyer novel ever, you may be sort of groping through your mind for who these people are. That's why they are a rare pairing! (Which I just almost wrote as rairing. OH GOD NO.) And if you've never read any Heyer, you may be thinking you shouldn't read this. Go right ahead! You don't need to know the canon, and it will allow you to see if you like Heyer's style, since this is basically Heyer, but with gay sex.)

So. One of the weird things about Heyer for me is that - okay, sometimes, reading older books, I have the sense that the author is sneaking gay people into the margins - leaving clues for people who know but not saying anything so as not to scare the horses. And generally I assume I'm right. I suspect Dorothy Sayers was really doing that, for example. But with Heyer I know I can't be. I learned this from one of her detective novels, which features a canonically gay character. Heyer was not the woman you wanted to be writing those, turns out. Her coded-as-gay characters are much, much more realistic than her ham-handed attempt to write an actual gay man. Also, she appears to have believed, in all seriousness, that homosexuality could be caused by childhood asthma. (Wait - I had childhood asthma! And I'm a lesbian! SHE WAS ON TO SOMETHING, PEOPLE.)

And yet. With so many of her male characters - often including the ones who end up, you know, married and all that - she seems to be standing on a rooftop shrieking, "GAAAAAAAAY. They are ALL GAY. MY MALE CHARACTERS LOVVVVVVE COCK!"

Cimorene appears to have been hearing something similar. And, wow, she does this up right. She gives the character an actual gay life, appropriate to the times and the country in question, in addition to Heyer's apparently unconsciously inserted (but nonetheless very clear) desire for cock.

So, here are the reasons to read this story:
  1. A secret gay Regency lifestyle!
  2. Hijinks and shenanigans!
  3. It's awesome!
  4. It's like it was written by a Georgette Heyer who owned her intense interest in gay men. So, basically, a healthier, happier Heyer. Who doesn't want that?

The One That Suggests That the Holidays Will Be More Interesting Than Ever in the Kirk Household This Year. Common Bond, by florahart. Star Trek Reboot (with TOS references, as one does). Winona Kirk/Sarek.

For reasons that do not need exploring at this juncture, it took a lot of temptation on the part of fan fiction writers before I could face up to reading Winona Kirk stories. (It will not surprise you to hear that this story was my gateway drug.) But I've started to love stories about her. Partly that's just because it's really rare in any canon to see the mother of a hero treated like a person. (Her most typical role is as a gravestone, and in any case, she exists primarily to give him interesting issues. Which is perfectly fine; that's the price you pay for having a hero, lady! Next time, have an accountant. They probably remember their mothers' birthdays.) And partly it's because I love the things authors in this fandom do with her, and how she, more often than George, gets to be the source of the Kirkiness in Jim's gene pool. (I firmly believe she was, even if in the movie all she really did was, you know, the actual action of becoming a mother.)

But this story is unusual even among the Winona Kirk stories, because it's about her in the canon now, as opposed to when she was young and crazy. (And I think the entire fandom is in agreement that to produce someone like James Tiberius Kirk, you probably have to be crazy.) This is an incredibly rare beast in fan fiction: it is a story about romance between adults.

In this story, Sarek and Winona both have jobs and grown-up (if only in the numerical sense) kids, and they've both had relationships before. And I don't mean "She'd been married before, of course, but she realized as she gazed into his eyes - sorry, I probably mean searing cerulean orbs - that she had never truly known what love was before this moment." I mean, I love a true first time as much as the next girl - more, actually, in most cases - but it is so refreshing to me that this first time isn't First Love or Best Love, it's just, you know, the first time for Sarek and Winona. They don't sit around ranking their relationships by total trueness of love, with the clear understanding that there can be only one! (Beheading the also-rans is optional. In some cases.) They know what they want and are comfortable with it! Or, you know, are pretty sure wanting is against the teachings of Surak but willing to take it anyway. (Vulcans, in some cases, are starting from well behind the line in the grown-up races.) They're confident in bed! They have to clear their calendars to get to bed! It's just - it's weird, is all. And awesome. I'm not used to reading fan fiction about people who are more mature than I am.

And yet they're not all dignified and shit. I don't even know how [dreamwidth.org profile] florahart did this. It's like they're real people!

The One Featuring a Novel Means of Accomplishing MPreg That Is Really Never Going to Be Popular in Fan Fiction. I Hope. Please God No No NO. Ahras Huitwalassis, by frostfire_17. Historical, Mita/Lakan.

This story is a historical gay romance. And the historical site in question - this would not surprise anyone who had ever spent more than about ten minutes with frostfire_17, although it's going to come out of left field for everyone else - is Hatti.

Now, possibly you are thinking to yourself, "I don't want to read about Hittites." Possibly you didn't even know Hatti meant Hittites until just a sentence ago. (I didn't, until I started listening to frostfire_17. She is extremely compelling on the subject, and after you spend a few hours talking to her, you switch from not really caring at all about Hittites to wondering if you could find an authentic recipe for the thick bread.) But this story is wonderful. I promise you, even if your interest in Hittites is mathematically indistinguishable from zero, you will love this story. For serious. I went into it all, "Hmm. Hittites? Well, Frost is usually reliable, so -" and came out of it thinking that really she should write a whole book series set in this period. (I would read it! Hittite mystery novels, for example, would be excellent.)

It's just - this is incredible. I love the characters, I love the rich details of the setting - there is so much incredible worldbuilding. Which sounds strange to say about a historical period, so perhaps instead I should call it historybuilding. I love the progression of this romance. I basically love everything about the story except that it ends. (Every time I read it, it takes all of my willpower not to send Frost an unhappy email indicating that this story is not over until Mita and Lakan die of extreme old age, in their bed, surrounded by sorrowing great-grandnieces and nephews.)

And if that was not enough: I am not kidding about the MPreg, which you will be relieved to hear is not part of the actual story. It's a myth, and it's a real one, and it proves that fan fiction writers have nothing on the religion builders of old. You need to read this myth. Most of all, you need to read Mita's reaction to the myth, which will be familiar to everyone who has ever, to her astonishment, found herself reading MPreg for the first time.

The One That Proves That Canon Writers Should Not Make a "Secret Swinger" Joke, Unless of Course They Want Us to Take Them up on It. Wear a Moonlit Face, by [dreamwidth.org profile] gloss. DCU Silver Age, Barry Allen/Iris Allen/Bruce Wayne. (Don't worry if you have no idea who some of those people are. I will explain in a moment why you're probably better off that way.)

Comics are hard. Perhaps once upon a time they were light-hearted entertainment for children, but now you need a bank of computers and several dedicated data analysts to be able to figure out what's canon. (The good part about this is that when everything's canon, nothing is. You can pick and choose! Want a character who is at this moment dead to be alive in your story? If he's alive at any point in the canon, you can do that. Want two characters who have never met to fuck? Well, it's not like you can trace anyone's whereabouts through the entire continuity; the continuity doubles back, twists around itself, dives through a wormhole, and explodes, so just pick a time when the character is not actually in a panel. After all, anyone who wants to call you on it is going to need those dedicated data analysts, too.)

I bring all this up for three reasons:
  1. The only Flash I know anything about is Wally West. This story is about Barry Allen, so I went to Wikipedia to try to get myself up to speed (Ha! Oh, I slay myself sometimes) on the character. I'm going to give you the link, but take my advice and do not click until after you've read the story. (It will make a nice aperitif, provided you like your cocktails with gin, bitters, nitroglycerin, and just a hint of LSD.) That page is hysterical, because it's an attempt to summarize and explain something that cannot possibly be understood.
  2. This story does not require you to know any of that shit. Seriously, all you need is in the author's notes and the two panels (or the transcript of them) offered in the story itself.
  3. Everyone should read this story just for those two panels alone. I seriously think comics canon gets so complicated that even the writers don't hear themselves, because I do not know any way to interpret those panels besides the one [dreamwidth.org profile] gloss went with here.
This is a story about Iris, Barry, and Bruce having sex. And I'm using the Flash's and Batman's secret identities - their actual people names - deliberately. This whole story, to me, is about exactly how much a secret identity can fuck you up. (It should be required reading for Pa Kent over in Smallville, who honestly appears to believe that keeping secrets will be heathier for Clark.)

In this story, Barry doesn't fit inside his own skin. Bruce is playing the Asshole Playboy with his customary single-minded dedication. And the thing is - okay, I always have just assumed that Bruce was the three-dimensional equivalent of a cardboard cutout propped in the mansion window. But of course he wouldn't let that happen: Bruce would have a role, and he'd play it perfectly. And I am not at all surprised that he'd be kind of a dick. I cannot imagine Batman ever managing to pull off the role of cuddlebunny.

So what I love about this story is the way it shows what secret identities really mean. Which is, in this case, that Iris Allen is fucking two men who aren't real and aren't exactly there. Seriously, guys, a suggestion: therapy. Also, consider ditching the masks. They are not healthy.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
20 February 2007 @ 12:57 am
First, thank you so very much, kind anonymous gift-leaver and equally kind non-anonymous gift-leaver. (maygra, you are wonderful.) It makes me ludicrously thrilled to see the prettiness on my user info page right now.

So, I spent the last week frantically acquiring data and then writing a whole bunch of crap about anime music vids, and the feedback thereof. And as I did this, I was getting presents, and getting love anonymously, and it made me a happy data mistress, let me tell you. So I was trying to think of a way to say thank you to you sweet and wonderful people. All of you, I mean. Yes, even including you. (And I was also thinking, oh god, I cannot wait to get back to talking about something I actually know something about. Like, anything. You'd think, with what I do for a living, I'd be better at writing in a total knowledge vacuum, but it's still hard.) And it is the time and the season for loving, even if I'm a little behind the times with that.

So I put all those things together - Valentine's gifts for me! Love for all friendkind! Fan fiction! - and came up with the obvious answer. Which is that I should rec some gen.

(Later: stories containing actual sex. I haven't forgotten that the word "porn" is right in the mission statement of this LJ, I swear.)

The One That Proves That You Can't Trust a Man Who Can't Trust a Herring. The Colbert Report - Lost Episode - December 2006, by scrunchy. The Colbert Report, gen.

Okay. Here's the thing, and I want certain people out there on my friends list to take a deep, deep breath, because I know what I'm about to say will upset them. I've never seen an episode of the Colbert Report. Or the Daily Show, for that matter. We don't have cable - we don't even have broadcast television - and I understand these magical works appear on a thing called the "comedy channel," which is a cable dealywhop. So, while I approve of the concept, I won't be experiencing it directly any time soon.

However. I have seen some clips from both shows on YouTube, that great leveler of - well, basically all playing fields, until we're all frolicking about in knee-deep pixel mud on a infinite plain filled mostly with shaky webcam footage. But my point is, YouTube makes it possible for those of us without cable to see small snippets of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart doing that thing they do. (At least, it used to be possible. If it isn't anymore, then Viacom has a personal hate note coming from me.) So I know just enough to know that the shows can be quite funny.

But I don't think they can possibly be as funny as scrunchy's script for a lost episode. No show could consistently be this good and awesome and grand and not cause spontaneous deaths from joy in viewers. I mean, the FDA would be looking into the Colbert Report if it was as good as this. There's Jon Stewart! Stephen Colbert! Furry crabs! David Duchovny! And just - really, I cannot convey in words how wonderful this transcript is, except that I want to read several dozen more of these, right now, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get them. (Oh, by the way - does anyone know how to feed and care for the wild scrunchy when she is removed from her native habitat? I'm, um. Asking purely out of curiosity.) And I am speaking as someone who normally reads script format works only if a) they are written by Tom Stoppard or b) I'm being paid to read them. And yet - well, I guess I have to add a third category to my list, because I love this, and I love it in part because of the script format. It is delightful, gleaming perfection. With crabs.

The One That Should Be Subtitled "And Teen Angst Is the Same Every Damn Where." Singapore Standard Time Is the Same as Australian Western Standard Time, by Punk, aka runpunkrun. Katamari Damacy, gen.

Oh, the Prince. You have a father who is simultaneously awesome and totally insane. You are only two centimeters tall, but the weight of the universe rests on your tiny green - well, you don't seem to have actual shoulders. Your tiny green cylindrical head, then. No wonder you have angst.

Really, I'm surprised you haven't already formed an emo band called Katamari Sadnessy.

In this story, Punk manages to convey - no, to capture, as if on archival quality film - the Trauma of Being the Prince, and she does it so very perfectly that I want to hug her. (Truth be told, I want to hug the Prince, too. But I'd squish him, and anyway he seems to be in something of a mood right now. Getting stuck under that dresser will do that to you. And those damn pencils. They can cost you critical seconds, I'm here to tell you.) See, it turns out that the Prince is Everyteen.

I tell you, I cannot wait for the inevitable sequel, in which the Prince is sent to earth to roll up enough family therapists to create a Therapy Katamari, which will then help the Prince and the King (and the Queen) work through their issues, probably by saying things like, "And how does that make you feel?" and "But what is the origin of your need for crabs?" and "I feel it! I feel the Cosmos!"

The One That Makes Me Want to Write a Dissertation on the Anthropology of Board Games. (And Pretty Much Proves That Daniel Jackson Already Has.) Teal'c's Five Favorite Board Games, by Komos, aka paian. Stargate: SG-1, gen.

I love this so very, very much. I mean, we all know of my unhealthy love of Five Things stories. And some of you know of my entirely healthy and balanced love of Teal'c. I think a few of you may even know of my profound love of board games, although in that case I will have to look at you squintily and ask why, precisely, you've been poking through my closets. But even so, I could never have predicted that the combination of the three would be this wonderful.

One tiny warning, though: after you read this, you will never look at the classic board games of your childhood the same way again. Like, I enjoyed Life when I was a kid. (Although, you know, the signs of how I would turn out were there even then; I always insisted on having two blue pegs or two pink pegs as my married couple. In other words, I slashed plastic pegs at the age of six. Obviously, I was Born to Slash, and should consider getting that tattooed on my bicep.)

(Slightly more disturbing is that I also tended to bite the heads off the little pegs, rendering them no longer miniature people substitutes but rather sad, truncated sticks with a squished part at one end. That is a little less easy to interpret, at least in terms that will keep me out of a mental hospital, but I want you to know: I haven't bitten anyone's head off. Yet.) Anyway, my point is, I loved the game. But after reading this story, well, I love it even more, but I think that if I ever play it again, I'll probably get a severe case of the sniffles.

But the one of this set that kills me (in the good way, the way that has absolutely nothing to do with biting off my little plastic head) is the last one. I won't even name what game it is, for fear of spoiling you, but I will say: if you miss this - well, I will pity you. (And I won't let you play any of my board games. So there. Nyah nyah nyah.)

The One That Could Easily Replace Three Full Units of Psych 101. Although, in All Honesty, That Might Be Harder on the Students Than Just Reading about the Milgram Experiments Again. Matter, Form, and Privation, by Domenika Marzione, aka miss_porcupine. Stargate: Atlantis, gen.

I've been waiting a long time to recommend this one, because I wanted to do it justice. I wanted to tell you how beautiful it was, how perfect, how utterly inevitable, how necessary.

But I've come to the conclusion that I'll never write well enough to do that, to explain to you why you should read this story. I'll never write well enough to do give it the summary it deserves. So instead I will just say - read this. Read it even if you don't read SGA. Read it even if you think original female characters are a sure sign of bad fan fiction. (And if you can read this (and my other surefire disproof of that faulty theorem) and still say that, well, you may wish to check your ability to read English.) Read it even if you think, from this recommendation, that it sounds depressing.

Yeah, okay, it is depressing. But it's also a story that I wish could be canon, that I wish the SGA writers had the balls to write, because this is what life in Pegasus must actually be like. (And for me, that provides a whole key to understanding Teyla and Ronon, and how they must view the people from earth - So lucky! So innocent! So very much in need of protection! - but that's a whole other essay that I am quite sure you don't want to read, so I will stop this summary here and spare you. No, really, no need for thanks - the look of silent wonder on your shining faces is enough)

 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
09 June 2005 @ 08:20 pm
In this post, greenet did an interaction meme (following the format "Comment and I'll tell you [insert item here] about you, thus saying something about both of us").* Normally, I can't do these when other people post them, although that doesn't stop me from trying; see, most of them require reciprocation ("post this in your journal"). I understand why; that's the meme-propagation step, and those of us who were paying attention in high school biology (which, OK, I wasn't, because all we ever did was watch documentaries, but I did read the textbook) will recall that the ability to reproduce is an essential component of life.

But meme reciprocation would violate many of this LJ's founding precepts. (Pretentious? Why, yes. Thank you for noticing. But, confession: I didn't articulate most of them until I'd been doing this a while, so really they're more like "summaries of what I've found works for me." It's just that using the other phrase makes me feel like my parents got value for my college education, so I'm staying with that.) So I was happy to see that greenet added "If you so wish" to the reciprocation step of this particular meme, which introduced a brand-new (well, novel, at any rate) concept in meme lifecycle: birth control. And I'm all for birth control.

It's generally a lot of fun for me to do memes of this kind; because I almost never can, they never get old. (Yet another argument in favor of meme birth control, let me note: fewer but better and more lovingly-reared memes.) Naturally, presented with one I could actually do, I wanted to do it well.

Unfortunately, I couldn't. Not really. One of the steps of the meme required the poster to tell me something she'd always wondered about me, and let's face it, if you've been reading this LJ for a while, you just don't have any burning questions left about me. I mean, you're all very, even painfully, aware that I love reading, babble incessantly, and grow reactionary and irrational when discussing English usage. What else is there to know?

Well, possibly, what I'm going to recommend next. Which is what greenet went with. Specifically, she said:

Your five newest favorite stories/fandoms/characters?**

I wanted to answer that. But, unfortunately, I just don't work like that, not exactly. The best I can do is offer her the five stories I most recently added to the Big Scary Master List (Unsorted). Some of them are actually fairly old. (And some of them I'd read long before I added them to the List; browser crashes and memory lapses play hell with my consistency on that one.) So today I'm posting a non-themed set. Or if there is a theme, it's that some of us still like memes, actually.

It's going behind a cut for two reasons.

First, this isn't going to be the greatest set ever. One of the reasons I take such a long time to recommend stories is that I need time to deal with them, to articulate what I think about them and why. (Seriously. Lots of time. Two nights ago, I finally figured out what was wrong with a science fiction short story I read years ago, before I'd read even one piece of FF. I've been thinking about that since I read it, considered the problem thousands of times before I solved it. "Slow but steady" is my motto. Sort of by default.)

Second, she did say five. That means this set is going to be longer than usual, and, let's face it, my entries are already way longer than the average post. Sheer mercy for your friends lists, then, argues for a cut tag.

And here is that very cut tag! Speak of the devil.Collapse )
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
A title can make me predisposed to like a story. A really great title can make me read a story I would normally never read (see below). A fantastic title can keep a story in my mind for longer than almost anything (except a perfect ending or a truly hysterical line). And sometimes the title can practically be a story all by itself, especially when it's longer than some entire fics. Today, I salute the long titles of the fan fiction world.

Best FF Title That Led Me to Expect Something Other Than This Story: Heard Through the Walls of the Victory Motel, by Gemma. L.A. Confidential, Bud White/Ed Exley. See, when I read that title, I thought there'd be eavesdropping in the story. I still kind of expect there to be eavesdropping, but the only thing that really gets heard through the walls is a song. Still, I like the title a lot. And the story's perfect L.A. Confidential FF - it's gritty, powerful, and it fixes the canon ending.

Best Title That Is Also (EEEEK!) a Song Reference: All That You Can't Leave Behind, by Mary Borsellino. Lord of the Rings movieverse, and in my opinion this is gen. Go ahead, ask what U2 has to do with LotR. You'll be missing the point, though. This is a perfect little canon interlude that helps elucidate why some people could survive the ring. And some people couldn't. Warning: this story could really use some proofreading. It has errors in things like basic capitalization. And, you know what? It was good enough that I'd still recommend it, although it'd be even better if someone fixed it.

Best Title That Is Also (YAY!) a Literary Reference: Color of Fire, Color of Ashes. X-Men movieverse, Jean/Scott, Jean/Logan. I know, I know; het infidelity fic involving Jean (gag) Grey. Don't care. It's still good, and it has the added benefit of making Jean seem like a person instead of a, you know, shapely hole in the background. But I would never have read it (Jean! Gag! Grey!) if I hadn't been drawn in, totally against my will, and fighting all the way, by the title.

Best Title That Sucked Me into Reading the FF Even Though I Knew Better, Lord, I Knew Better: Everything's Not Lost. Just Most Things, by Annakovsky. Real Person Slash, Dominic Monaghan/Billy Boyd. I cannot stand that I'm nominating this. I can't even stand that I read this. But it's a good story and it has a great title, albeit one with a period where there should clearly be a comma. I have just one teeny little question: why in the name of all that is still sane and good in the world is this RPS? The story would work just as well, or even better, with original characters. RPS relies on our knowledge of the celebrities or of their public personae. This story totally does not; I think it'd work just as well, maybe better, if the reader didn't even recognize the names. (Or maybe I'm just bitter because I can see the bottom of the slippery slope o' slash from here, and I'm already descending at terminal velocity.)
 
 
tried to eat the safe banana
The first installment of an estimated 11 million in the fine and fertile field of first-time fics. (No, the alliteration wasn't intentional. But I refuse to fix it.)

Best First Time That Takes More Than One Fic Just to Be Finished: Westering and its sequel Midwinter, by Gloria Mundi. Lord of the Rings, Aragorn/Boromir. Gloria shows us that J. R. R. isn't the only master of adjectives and description. Frankly, I like what she does with her talent better than what he did. (Yes, I know, that's a sacrilege and an admission of the evil in my soul, all that. The lynch mob will be forming just to the left of the flaming line.)

Best First Time That Induces Moral Decay in All Who Behold It: Only This, by Janette Le Fey. Real Person Slash, Rupert Brooke/Siegfried Sassoon. I came into fan fiction with very few limits as far as content went. One of them was no RPS – not because I think it's wrong or evil or what have you. I was just slightly skeeved out about reading stories featuring real people's names on fictional creations. I was proud of that limit. It showed that I had some small non-perverted corner of my soul. And then I discovered historical slash, featuring poets whose work I love, and, whoops, another taboo bit the dust. This is the story that did it. I suppose I could still revel in my unwillingness to read RPS about living people, but that seems like a slender reed, frankly.

Best First Time That Rewrites a Canon Ending and Makes It Stick: Black & White, by Your Cruise Director. L.A. Confidential, Bud White/Ed Exley. This story is right in line with the movie canon, so it's gritty. I like that, myself. Just think of it as a palate clearer – a little something sour and rough between desserts. For me, the ending of the movie was never as satisfying as the rest of it – it just didn't seem quite right, somehow. This one does.

Best First Time Involving a Blindfold: Origin, by Resonant and Kass. The Sentinel, Jim/Blair. I knew, doing this topic, that I'd have to include one Sentinel first-timer, because that's pretty much the defining story of the fandom. The problem was to narrow it down to one; there were so many great stories to choose from. I finally went with "Origin" because it involves the senses, which are important in this fandom, and uses them in an original way. Also, there's a blindfold. Who doesn't love a blindfold?

Best Realistic Sex First Time: Reverie, by Your Cruise Director, who seems to have a way with first times. Master & Commander (the movie, not the book universe), Aubrey/Maturin. As with Sentinel, so with Master & Commander; this is another fandom where the classic story type is the first-timer. And because of that, there's five noms here instead of the four I try to limit myself to; I just couldn't cut another story from this list. "Reverie" gets the "best realistic sex" label because, let's face it, anal sex is not a major feature of most first times, especially when both partners have no prior experience with the act. This is a lot more like what people really do, and all the better for it.