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24 April 2011 @ 09:51 pm
217: Popular Fiction  
People, sometimes you just need to put together a recs set made up entirely of stories everyone has already read. And sometimes it needs to be half AUs and half crossovers. It just feels right, okay?

The One in Which We Learn That You Can Put a Boy in a Monastery, but You Sure Can't Make Him Pure and Innocent. At Least Not Once a Fan Fiction Writer Gets Hold of Him. Patience, a Steady Hand, by helenish. Inception, Arthur/Eames.

Okay, I will be honest: slavefic is not for me. I am the person who gets 2,000 words into a 100,000 epic slavefic, reaches the part where someone is wearing leather pants, and wanders off to find a different trope to read. I am in no way judging slavefic as a trope! I am sure it is awesome, and my inability to bond with it is entirely a failing of mine. I just prefer to spend my tropeish reading hours with other types of AUs.

Having said that, people, this is awesome. Partly that's because Helen does not skip over either the realities of Viking life (hard, and also cold) or of slavery (hard, and also awful). I mean, okay, yes, the slave does fall for the owner in this one, but at least he has issues with it. Also, Arthur is an extremely nice slave-owner, as Viking berserker slave-owners go (because I am acquainted with so very many, yes indeed, there's one living down the street from us, even; I try not to judge), but he's still kind of a bastard. This works for me.

But most of all, this story works for me because helenish is magic. As she was writing this, I was gazing at the updates with a sort of wistfulness, because, yes, I knew I would read it - she could write a story in which Arthur is a fairy with sparkling purple wings that shed time-altering fairy dust and Eames is a dark elf with tattoo magic powers and I would read it. (Although actually that's a bad example, because of course now I am considering this, and trying to figure out if it would work, and developing a system of tattoo magic. Don't let this happen to you, people: Hypothetical examples are not your friends.) Anyway, my point is, while I knew I would read it, I couldn't really summon up a lot of excitement for Viking slavefic. It just didn't sound gripping.

I was absolutely wrong. This story is so gripping. And so awesome. And I love it. Even though there is not an ounce of magical fairy dust anywhere. Except for whatever went into the creation of the story, of course. (Probably helenish snorts magical fairy dust! It would explain her terrifying writing powers.)

The One in Which We Learn that Hawai'i's Criminal Element Is, Frankly, Tragically Bad at Pickup Lines. I Can Only Hope That Law-Abiding Hawai'ians Are Cooler with the Lines. All the Girls out on the Stoop, by [dreamwidth.org profile] mirabellafic. Hawaii Five-0, Danny Williams/Steve McGarrett.

I have been reading Hawaii Five-O. (And can anyone tell me, just to ease my pain a little, if it is Five-Zero or Five-Letter-O? That has been making me crazy, and while I think it's five-zero, there is no way to know for sure. Also, if it's a zero, then why is the five spelled out but the zero not? These things keep me awake at night.) I mean, I think everyone has; it is in the part of the fandom cycle where it's kind of like that kudzu you planted in your backyard last year (although it is, for the record, way more fun to read than kudzu). And I tell you what; as I read and figured out who the characters are and tried to determine what relationship this particular universe's police officers have to ours (my conclusion is that I really hope it's no relationship at all), never once did I think that what I really needed was a story in which Danny is part Veela.

I don't know why I didn't think that. I mean, I was looking hopefully for other common AUs. (Surely there is a werewolf AU, so why haven't I found it yet? And some kind of Harlequin-type AU? And while we're at it, where is the high school AU? They aren't my favorite, mostly, but I just can't feel at peace until I have located a few high school AUs. They make a fandom feel like home.) Obviously, I am just not as brilliant as [dreamwidth.org profile] mirabellafic.

Because Danny as a Veela is exactly what I wanted to read, as it turns out. And this story has it all. The burdens of being part Veela in this day and age! Modern ways to cope with mating cycles! The in-depth exploration of the appropriate office etiquette when you discover that one of your co-workers is only partly human (come on, you've suspected it, it would explain so much) and has to fuck your boss or die (probably this part you haven't so much suspected, I'm hoping)! Okay, no, not really, but this story is really damn funny, and it has a part-Veela Danny Williams in it. In heat. I can't imagine you'd need any further reasons to read this.

The One in Which We Get to Watch Two Experts at Wiping out Wipe Each Other Out. In an Entirely Different Way, I Mean. It Takes One to Know One, by Bone, aka [dreamwidth.org profile] bone. Point Break x The Fast and the Furious, Brian O'Conner/Johnny Utah, although not in a way that will seriously break up anyone's OTPs.

There are some things you can only really comfortably say in the company of slash fans, and this is one of them: I watched Point Break - not when it came out, but years after it was released, and by my own free will. There. I've said it. I'm not ashamed.

It was an interesting experience on many levels. It was one of those deals where you can't stop watching or reading something even though it is, objectively, really really bad, simply because it is also so slashy you can't help thinking that if you hang in there eventually these guys will stop staring at each other and just fuck right there on the beach. It was also eerily reminiscent of The Fast and the Furious, to the point where I sort of suspected the screenwriter of TFatF loved Point Break, watched it all the damn time, and just wished - dreamed! - he could one day write something that good. But something maybe a little cooler. I know! Race cars instead of surfing!

So while I was watching Point Break, in the few moments when I was not being astonished at how much Johnny Utah wanted to fuck Bodhi, I was being astonished at how much Brian O'Conner and Johnny Utah would have to say to each other. Although I think, at the time, I sketched out the entire story like this:

"Dude. Hot criminals. They fuck your life up. Worth it, though, maybe."
"Yeah, I hear that. So, wanna fuck?"
"Shit, yes."
[They do.]

Bone also came to the conclusion that fucking was inevitable - well, I mean, she's an intelligent person, of course she did - but she found actual plot and feelings and stuff in there, too, which is why she is the writer and I am the recommender. And I am seriously recommending this. There's surfing. There's the FBI. There's sex. And there's no Patrick Swayze. (This is a good thing for me because I've still got residual trauma from his hockey hair in trelkez's Festivid.)

The One in Which We Learn Never to Impugn the Honor of the Emu. Ask Yourself, Before Reading: Have I Impugned an Emu Lately? Relatives and Relativity, by Yahtzee, aka yahtzee63. Sense and Sensibility x Doctor Who.

And from a crossover everyone (okay, everyone who lived through both Point Break and The Fast and the Furious, although I am here to tell you one is more than enough) knew had to happen to a crossover I don't think anyone even considered before Yahtzee did. Because, I tell you what, I re-read certain of Austen's works a lot, and never once did I say to myself, "You know what this 19th century work of mannered romantic fiction needs? MORE TIME LORDS. And you know what would buck up this wilting disappointed heroine? MORE TIME LORDS."

I was wrong. I see this now. I just didn't have sufficient vision, and I am extremely thankful that Yahtzee did. Because this is awesome. This answers certain lingering questions about the Doctor - When did he become Nine? Exactly how many people did he depress immediately after? Why did he start adventuring, post-Time Wars? - and gives an entirely appropriate end to a character who did not get all he deserved in the novel. (Yes, I love her, too, but Jane tended to leave her baddies alone and trust that they would grow bitter and regretful and probably spend a lot of time staring into the fire and speaking wistfully of lost opportunities. And maybe staring at the shapelier footmen. Or possibly I am reading too much into it, there. Anyway, my point is: Jane, sometimes you want to see an asshole go down in flames. Or at least ground into the dust beneath the heels of an oppressor for a bit, which is what happens here. Look into it!)

Plus, man, sometimes I wish they were a bit more creative with their companions, if only for what we get at the end of this story - seeing our world and our time through eyes as amazed and appreciative as Rose's when she sees some alien sunrise. (Okay, I admit it, I wish they would get a bit more creative with their Doctors and companions in many ways. Has anyone ever done a genderswapped or chromatic recasting of this show?)

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
calligrafiti on April 25th, 2011 10:11 am (UTC)
now I am considering this, and trying to figure out if it would work, and developing a system of tattoo magic.

Tattoo magic is part of the world-building in Sunshine, by Robin McKinley. She only devotes a paragraph or two in the book to them, but sometimes the magic tattoos come alive and eat their owners.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on April 25th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. I have been on Robin McKinley hiatus for years, ever since reading Deerskin. (Things get bad! Then they get worse! Then they get EVEN WORSE! And in direct contradiction of Zenna Henderson, every time you turn the page, things just keep getting worse. Also, in fan fiction you'd have to warn up the ass for this story. But on the last page things get better, so YOU SHOULD BE FINE WITH THE MISERY.) But I did like her work before Deerskin, and maybe it is time to take another shot? Although not without someone assessing the disturbing content quotient of the book. Squick me once, fine, whatever, it happens. Squick me twice, shame on ME.
Stasiastasia on April 25th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
I liked Deerskin, but yeah, I'd have appreciated a warning or two. Sheesh.

I'm trying to think of Sunshine, but I'm not coming up with anything particularly squicky. Unfortunately, I know my squickpoints and levels are different from yours (and it's been a while since I read the book), so I'm not the best judge.

I liked Sunshine, but I found parts of the story unsatisfying. It, for me, was like she had this great idea and universe, and then ... wandered around in her standard chapter-long-digression-style and forgot to tell the story. Sometimes I wish it were possible to get other people to write in her universe - good, solid professional writers (Bujold, maybe, or Octavia Butler (yes, I know she's dead, but I can wish, right?)) - just so I can get the story that could have been there.

And, on a different topic, I have socks to send you. PM me an address?

calligrafiti on April 27th, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
yeah, I couldn't even get through Deerskin. If I'd read it first, I would never have picked up Sunshine.

Sunshine is one of my favorite books, and I've reread it several times. There's a fair bit of violence, as it's a book about decidedly non-sparkly vampires. But there's a lot of other stuff, too. The heroine is a baker, with an exasperating, loving family. She has a best friend, a great landlady and several scenes that pass the Bechdel test. She has a reasonably healthy relationship with her boyfriend. McKinley puts a lot of work into showing her main character's mundane (given the context of a world with vampires and occasionally lethal tattoos), but fairly joyful life. It amps up the tension when the plot's conflicts come into play.
agehanokoisexybee on April 28th, 2011 09:42 am (UTC)
There is vampire killing, so, you know, lots of blood getting all over, and our heroine freaking out about it. And a deer is killed, but in a fairly non-traumatic manner. But the real warning needs to be that you will be very hungry for baked goods while reading it. Cinnamon rolls as big as your head, indeed.
misspamelamisspamela on April 25th, 2011 11:03 am (UTC)
Are you psychic? I was JUST having a conversation about that Point Break/TFatF story the other day and we were trying to remember who wrote it! YAY.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on April 25th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
And now you have found it! *basks in the warm glow of a job well done*
Also into cats: Breadjamethiel_bane on April 25th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC)
Arthur is a fairy with sparkling purple wings that shed time-altering fairy dust and Eames is a dark elf with tattoo magic powers

I would read this SO HARD.

I don't know why. I just totally would.

I think it's Hawaii Five-0. Also, I actually own Point Break. Largely because Bodhi and young Keanu Reeves are CLEARLY IN LOVE with each other.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on April 25th, 2011 03:57 pm (UTC)
Then I think I should tell you, in fairness, that I have decided that Arthur is actually a fairy with sparkling purple wings that shed dream-inducing fairy dust. (Eames is still the tattoo magic guy.)

And I can totally understand owning Point Break. Seeing that must have been FORMATIVE for many a slasher.
skaredykatskaredykat on April 25th, 2011 09:49 pm (UTC)
re PB, omg it really was. A straight male friend unironically recommended it because it was bad in an awesome way, and soon after seeing it (which was also not that long after I'd seen Hot Fuzz) the last remnants of slash-potential-hiding blinders fell from my eyes! And yea, I went forth and discovered online fandom and LJ and the vasty oceans of the slash and it was good. :)
But what if I'm a mermaid?: Monty Python - Mr Gumbydeepbluemermaid on April 25th, 2011 12:07 pm (UTC)
Surely there is a werewolf AU, so why haven't I found it yet?

Someone posted a request for such fics on the H50 ficfinder comm (hawaiificfinder.livejournal.com/23672.html) and not much came up. She unwittingly gave me a plot bunny in the process, though, so I am currently writing a werewolf story.

It'll be at least 5,000 words, possibly 10,000. Part one should be posted tomorrow, once I fix the bits my beta highlighted.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on April 25th, 2011 04:02 pm (UTC)
You are doing a great service to the fandom. It just isn't a fandom until there's a werewolf AU.
a particularly troubled Romulan: st:xispocklookingupillariy on April 25th, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC)
The Arthur/Eames story was really hot and thoughtful, the most enjoyable slavefic I've read in a while. Thank you so much for the rec. :D
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on April 25th, 2011 04:06 pm (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you liked it. I think it's a great story. (Well, obviously.) And thank you for letting me know what you thought!
Lu (Not Your Average Retelling)elucreh on April 25th, 2011 01:04 pm (UTC)
Five-O is PRONOUNCED "oh" but it actually represents the number zero. Why, I'm not actually sure. But that is how it goes.

A really terrific author wrote a bit of Harlequin AU but declared she would never finish it, and the SAME terrific author has been writing a HS AU crossover between Five-O and Inception, but she won't post that until it's done because the same thing might happen. So she says. Personally I just feel tragically betrayed, like a puppy that can SEE the ball but not TOUCH IT.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV Katamari Damacythefourthvine on April 25th, 2011 04:09 pm (UTC)
Five-O is PRONOUNCED "oh" but it actually represents the number zero. Why, I'm not actually sure. But that is how it goes.

Because the canon creators hate us? That's my current guess.

A really terrific author wrote a bit of Harlequin AU but declared she would never finish it, and the SAME terrific author has been writing a HS AU crossover between Five-O and Inception, but she won't post that until it's done because the same thing might happen. So she says. Personally I just feel tragically betrayed, like a puppy that can SEE the ball but not TOUCH IT.

Ooo, which author? I am curious!
Lu (Not Your Average Retelling)elucreh on April 25th, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
foxxcub! Mistress of the HS AU, so I really hope she does finish it someday. ^_^
meh_guhmeh_guh on April 28th, 2011 09:00 am (UTC)
I recall seeing somewhere (I've forgotten where, though) that the original was Five-O as an attempt at coolness, sort of like 'Daddy-O'. In the new series, it's zero because the team took its name from Steve McGarret's football jersey. I'm not a sports fan by any reckoning, but I think it's fairly common to say the numbers separately?
guess19guess19 on April 25th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
According to imdb's trivia -
The Five-O in the series' title pertains to Hawaii's rank as being the 50th state to enter the union (August 21, 1959).
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV lettersthefourthvine on April 25th, 2011 04:13 pm (UTC)
Yay! And useful to know! Although I continue to maintain that it would have been maybe a trifle better to have a title that didn't engender this much confusion.
Imaginary Researcher: Captain Jack Harkness - darththaliahannahrorlove on April 25th, 2011 02:39 pm (UTC)
Consider that Bigelow won an Oscar a couple of years ago and she's made less than ten movies, and Point Break becomes much more acceptable to the mainstream.

Edited at 2011-04-25 02:40 pm (UTC)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV menorahthefourthvine on April 25th, 2011 04:16 pm (UTC)
See, I had not even noticed who directed that. Now that I know, though - okay, I am partly just astonished. But mostly I'm thinking - she's an actual good director. Which means all that slash was either totally intentional or Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze getting out of hand. My guess is both.
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV shoesthefourthvine on April 25th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
Definitely. The happy ending works for me because of that shift. (I am trying to avoid spoilers, here, but you know what I mean.) Without that ending, the whole story would be - well, really not as good, IMO.
aerographieaerographie on April 25th, 2011 04:39 pm (UTC)
Ditto on Helenish being magic. Seriously.

It's amazing to me that she took a premise so awful--I mean, SPOILER ALERT: [[Arthur and the vikings destroyed Eames' village, killed everyone he knew, and then took him away to a strange place where it's cold and life is hard, and made him a slave!]]--and yet, you still root for them to get together, there are still moments of sweetness, and romance and...IDEK, that's like, A REALLY FINE BALANCE TO STRIKE. ::mind boggles::

Also: I love your recs. I especially love reading your recs for stories I've ALREADY read. ♥
lyndseaslyndseas on April 25th, 2011 11:56 pm (UTC)
According to...Wikipedia, I think? Old Hawaii Five-O is with the letter and new Hawaii Five-0 is with the number. So it's both, but really the number.
katherine_tag: gunkatherine_tag on April 26th, 2011 04:59 am (UTC)
You have no idea how hard it is for me to not click on the Point Break x The Fast and the Furious fic right now instead of waiting until I get home from work. OMG
agehanokoisexybee on April 28th, 2011 09:45 am (UTC)
It is all your fault that I have spent the last two days furiously reading through all the Hawaii Five-0 fic tagged on delicious. Also, I'm with you. Where are all of our crack fic AUs? (Although I did find the were-shark one, an HDM crossover, and a Groundhog day AU.) I am apparently going to have to go hunt down the kink meme though so I can have my hooker!AU and vampire!AU and Hogwarts!AU. These things are important!
missdirector: OffToTakeOverUniversemissdirector on October 24th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)
Okay, totally odd question--but where can I find this were-shark AU? I could have sworn I read it on the AO3 but either it disappeared or I hallucinated it. I was trying to show it to a friend just to prove it existed, but now I cannot find it and my honor is being impugned as a result ;-)
agehanokoisexybee on October 24th, 2011 09:23 am (UTC)
Found it. There's also a great "Danny is a mermaid" fic on AO3 too. Aj, cracky AUs, how do I love thee...