I'm still avoiding new fan fiction, though. Because of persistent visions of Sherlock and John, sex researchers. Which I am not writing.
...Maybe only the outline.
The One That Suggests That If You Move to California, You Will Turn into a Bronzed Surfer God. Sadly, This Is Not the Case. There's Only a One in Ten Chance, Actually. And These Days Surfers Tend to Use Sunscreen. California Is Not What It Used to Be. Baby-sitter's Club the Next Generation #6: Byron and the God of California, by zelempa. Baby-sitter's Club, Byron Pike/Jeff Schafer.
(Note: If you download from AO3, don't download this one. The image files are integral to the story, and they don't come through, at least not in the mobi version.)
I admit it: I have never read a Baby-sitter's Club book. I spent my childhood reading book series from other generations and countries, meaning I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what things like conkers and ginger beer were. (If you're curious: Conkers are chestnuts that you put on a string and swing at other people's conkers for purposes of entertainment. You can probably tell this was invented back before they had Mario Kart. And ginger beer, which is always part of the phrase lashings of ginger beer, like it's some kind of BDSM toy, is just like ginger ale, except disgusting.)
So my point is, I missed out on the Baby-sitter's Club. I don't know who the characters are, or why there's an incredibly long series about them, or why there's that weird hyphen and a misplaced apostrophe in the title. It does not matter. I loved this story. I loved the inner workings of the Baby-sitter's Club. I loved the babysitting tales. (I, too, clocked in my hours as a caretaker of small children. I was known as the Babysitter Who Will Not Let the Kids Watch TV.) Most of all, I loved the coming out of one Byron Pike, and his very adorable relationship with Jeff, the God of California. (Not in the sense of having actual dominion, as far as I could tell. Any actual god of California would have power over the freeways.)
The thing is, the whole thing is so gentle. I mean, Bryon does stress and angst about being gay, and about Jeff, but in the way teenagers angst over everything that's seriously important to them - haircuts, unjust parental rulings, fights with friends. And all of his friends (and brothers, and holy god were there really identical triplets in the original books?) handle it pretty well. In other words, this is a sweet, cute teenage relationship story. It just so happens that the relationship is gay, and the guys in it are gay, and - I just love that. It's coming out and dealing with your first romance the way it really should be.
Read this. And do not miss the end notes, which are profoundly hilarious. I would read every one of those. With pleasure. If the Baby-sitter's Club was even half this good, I truly regret wasting my childhood with Enid Blyton.
The One That Teaches Us That When Phantoms from Your Past Life Show up, They Bring Bad Coffee. Sincerely, L. Cohen, by resonant. Famous Blue Raincoat, Narrator/Rival.
Every Yuletide, I consider requesting stories for two Leonard Cohen songs, and this is one of them. (The other is Suzanne, and I admit that I mostly want a story for that because I once happened upon this blog post where the blogger said she spent her twenties trying to be Suzanne. And I just - I thought living in a Leonard Cohen song was pretty much the definition of hell. Why would you want to be Suzanne? But that's not a good reason for requesting a story, so I always suppress the urge.)
The thing about Famous Blue Raincoat that always draws me in is, well, there's obviously a story here, and we only hear part of it, and I want to know more. (What draws other people to Famous Blue Raincoat is something entirely else, apparently. While googling for the lyrics, I found Judith Fitzgerald's analysis of the song, and, look. I am sure she is a wonderful, shiny person. And I am sure that it is something wrong with me, that this song does not make me think of "the narrator wearing (against the elements) the flesh of the Beloved" or, um, "a more or less accurate portrait of the doppelgänger coming to grips with a world where grand-central chaos reigns supreme." (I've read that story! But not in this fandom.) My amusement at this is entirely my issue.)
Anyway. I think about asking for this fandom every year. And every year I decide, no, better not, because - well. It seems dangerous. How could anyone get it right? Probably best just to leave it alone.
But this story is absolutely right. I am glad Resonant didn't leave it alone. It's everything I could possibly want from Famous Blue Raincoat fan fiction - enough of the story to satisfy me, enough of the characters to feel like I know them. (Seriously, I think I fucked the rival. No, I think I fucked three separate versions of him; he's that guy we all used to date, and are very glad we don't anymore.) But not so much that there aren't any mysteries left.
This is note-perfect, in other words; a gorgeous entry in a truly challenging fandom.
And now I will never need to ask for this fandom in Yuletide. Because the ideal story has already been written for it.
The One That Teaches Us That There Should Be a Special DSM Category for a Diagnosis Performed by Clueless Psychiatrist. A Mind Overborne, by astolat. Dracula, Count Dracula/R. M. Renfield. Read the warnings on this one, people.
(Note for my fellow downloaders: I haven't tried downloading this one, but you probably should read it on the Archive. If you miss the images in this one, you miss the better half of the story!)
I tend to avoid Dracula-related stories, and not for any of the reasons you might imagine. (Wimpiness, dislike of things relating to death, aversion to velvet - I mean, I own all those things, but they aren't why I avoid Draculosity.) My main reason is. Well. When I was in middle school, I was in a painful middle-school-type production of Dracula. This means that any writer attempting to convey sincere gothic atmosphere and creeping dread and general darkness has to overcome my memory of the middle school Renfield, who was cast entirely because he was one of the three boys available. He did not believe in memorizing lines, and at one point forgot to take off his baseball cap before going on stage. Also, said writer has to overcome my recollection of my own contribution to the play. And the costume's. Never before or since have I worn an article of clothing so clearly and obviously inspired by vomit. (Our costumes were selected by what fit us. I already had boobs. This dress was the only thing that closed over them. That is trauma central when you're 12, people.)
Astolat actually managed to overcome this major obstacle in this story. I read this and I totally forget about the first Renfield I ever knew, who made 11340 jokes about my boobs, and also punched Dracula in the kidneys during dress rehearsal. (Dracula cried, which is perfectly understandable, but it's another challenging image for any author trying to convey actual menace.) I actually care about Astolat's Renfield, for one thing, and I actually worry about what happens to him. (Nothing good, for the record. This is Dracula, people.)
But what really sells this story for me is the interlinear notes from the psychiatrist on Renfield's case. I just - I love that narrative, how there's a whole second story in there. I love how it's simultaneously meta (with period commentary on the sexual nature of the Dracula myth!) and creepy (with a very real NO OH GOD NO DON'T OPEN THE DOOR feeling about it). This story, in short, is awesome.
So awesome, in fact, that I don't even mind the flashbacks to middle school. How often can you say that about anything?
The One That Will Leave You Wondering Why We Don't Have a Channel Pointy. Presumably It Would Show Buffy Reruns. When I consider how my homes is gones, by jadelennox. The True Meaning of Smekday, gen.
I am going to try very sincerely not to write more words in the recommendation for this than are in the actual, you know, thing itself. But I can make no promises. I am not succinct, like J.Lo.
And those of you who have not read The True Meaning of Smekday are even now crunkling your brows and saying, "...Succinct like J.Lo? Is that sort of like being badass like Colin Meloy?" But if you haven't read The True Meaning of Smekday, I - I just don't know what I can say to you. It is a wonderful book. And it features J.Lo! (You can read a sample, and also 10 reasons to read the actual book, assuming "because TFV said so" isn't enough reason for you although I would like to know why not, here.)
So. Presumably all the people who are tragically Smekday-free are off looking at the website, and now I'm just talking to people who know how Boov talk. So I say to you: this is a poem. Written by a Boov. And it is just like the book: hilarious and moving both. The first time I read this, I was smiling and tearing up at the same time, which is an impressive feat.
Although this poem did leave me yearning to watch Poompitude whilst Frying, which is, tragically, impossible. (Man, no wonder the Boov conquered us: They had all the best TV shows.)
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.