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15 July 2011 @ 08:25 pm
219: An Assortment of Things  
The One Featuring the Same Safeword I Originally Used. I Would Prefer to Have Less in Common with Sherlock, in All Honesty. Indecorous, by [dreamwidth.org profile] basingstoke. Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes/John Watson/Tai Morstan.

I love this story because people talk in it. No, I love it because they communicate. This sticks in my mind because when I first read this story, I was also reading a (published) book in which the characters somehow managed to speak many, many words to each other without ever actually communicating at all. It started out like this:

A: I think I like you.
B: Song, sung, blue, everybody knows one.

But in the fullness of time, after they went through many struggles together and learned about each other, their conversations basically all went like this:

A: Bindlestaff Capricorn!
B: Sheepleweepwit. Skanderhoff wormington. Soaply dundoo.

You get the picture. These people started out talking past each other, and ended up with no actual semantic content to their exchanges at all. It was like watching two people make a game try at ballroom dancing, except one of them is anesthetized and the other one is an octopus.

That may be why the first thing I noticed about Indecorous was that, okay, John and Sherlock and Tai don't necessarily understand each other, let alone live in perfect harmony while chanting a lot and occasionally ascending to another plane of existence (and that is just as well, because the other plane of existence would definitely send Sherlock right back), but they do communicate. They start talking and then keep right on talking! To each other! In actual sentences containing meaning! They have misunderstandings and resolve them with functional interaction! They identify problems and solve them! They negotiate boundaries! They learn about each other! It's amazing. It's like they're actual real people. I spent the entire story not wanting to punch any of them. (Except Sherlock occasionally, but who doesn't want to hit Sherlock from time to time?)

I mean, okay, yes. There are many other things I love about this story - the humor, the characterization of everyone, the incredible way it all works together, the way the relationship makes all three of them more than they would be on their own, Sherlock in a vampire costume, Lestrade having an actual life - but, really. For me, it keeps coming back to the way everyone actually talks like they are real grownups and not malfunctioning plot devices. My new motto, drawn from this story: More people, fewer plot devices.

The One Featuring the World's First Texting Ghost. Okay, He Doesn't Actually Text. He Just Writes Like He Is. Must You, Harry? Really? Cross, by [dreamwidth.org profile] lightgetsin. Dresden Files series, Harry Dresden/John Marcone.

I have not read any Dresden Files books. I keep bouncing off the early chapters of the first one, largely because I am not entirely sure that I want to spend that long in Harry Dresden's head or Jim Butcher's hands. But I have grown to love and adore the fan fiction. And I especially love and adore this story, even though - well, let's just say, in my head, there is already a sequel. It is full of ice cream and mermaids.

So, yes, okay, the ending of this one is not quite as happy as I would like (although it's not horrible, and you can get through the rough spots simply by reminding yourself of the fantasy sequel). Don't care. To me, this story is basically an exercise in examining how many layers of denial you can plaster over yourself before you crack into a million pieces. Answer: John Marcone is nearly there. (Sequel.)

I love that. I love John Marcone, too, in the same way I love Lex Luthor. (To me, they fit into the same general category: Too Competent for Anyone's Good. It's a small but well-loved group of people who get shit done, but it would probably be better if they didn't. You want to give these people hobbies, and then you remember that they'd start out collecting stamps and end up conquering Switzerland to gain control of its post office, and you just kind of give up in despair.) And I particularly love this John Marcone, who is complicated and deeply fucked up and practicing denial like it's his religion. And then you pair him with Harry Dresden, who is, let's be honest, maybe not the healthiest guy parading around Chicago with a giant staff, and you watch things explode. (SEQUEL.)

Of course, before things can start exploding, Marcone has to, um, bring Dresden back from the dead. These things happen occasionally. I just love that this story starts with one half of the pairing dead, and then he comes back, and then the real fucked-up-ness starts. (SEQUEL SEQUEL SEQUEL.)

Read it! It's amazing! And then come back here and tell me alllll about your own personal fantasy sequel to it.

The AU in Which Movies Are Presumably Way More Fun Than in Our Universe. Which in Your Case You Have Not Got, by [dreamwidth.org profile] dira. Generation Kill x A Companion to Wolves. (I really don't think you need to know either fandom for this to work, for the record.)

First, let me say: I have never read A Companion to Wolves. If you have a really intense squick, you generally learn to avoid things that sound like trouble. (Or, I suppose, you turn into a twitching wreck. I prefer caution.) Like, BB and I learned to avoid movies described as "poignant," because it turns out we don't enjoy watching people die horribly. Of, say, cancer. Or being beaten to death. When they say "poignant," what they mean is, "will leave TFV huddled on the couch under a blanket, wheezing, with her eyes swollen shut." In the same way, I look at the summary of something like A Companion to Wolves and know that at some point, a wolf will die, and I will end up crying for three hours, at the end of which BB will say, "Why did you even read this book? You should have known better."

I do, however, know some Generation Kill (I read the book, and also Nate Fick's book, and no I did not see the TV series because are you kidding?), and I have to say, if the real US military had involved being telepathically bonded to a motherfucking wolf under the weight of thousands of years of Norse history, Nate Fick would have had nine million orgasms just thinking about joining the military. And you'd have had to shoot him to get him out. Nate Fick is a guy who would say, in all sincerity, that they just don't do manly warrior bonds like they used to, back in the good old days (B.C.).

So, yes, this story is an awesome commentary on all the military Test of Manhood and Noble History and I Am Warrior shit. But that is not why I love it. I love it, basically, because the entire story is told through the eyes of a dude who does not have a clue. I mean, seriously, Evan the reporter, in this, could not find sand in Iraq. He'd just be staring around going, "I know it's here somewhere. I can, like, smell it. Hmmm. Sand. Where could it be?" And yet it's very clear to the reader what is going on. I love that. I love writers who do that. And I really, really love this story.

The telepathically bonded magical wolves and manly warrior bonds do not hurt, either. For the record.

The One That Shows That You Should Pick out the Minds You Visit Carefully. Take Note, Charles Xavier! Synergy, by airgiodslv. Inception x Criminal Minds. Arthur No Family Name Given Because Seriously, Christopher Nolan? Seriously?/Spencer Reid. (Sorry. Just, I mean - one of the core team characters in Inception gets two official names. One. It's like Nolan wasn't even trying.)

Another crossover! Involving yet another fandom I don't know! It's almost like this set has a theme. (Actually, I could do a set of those. Several sets, even.) Everything I know about Criminal Minds I know from this story; before reading it, I sort of generally classed it with the Letters Fandoms - NCIS, CSI, probably some other ones I've forgotten about; shows full of people who, to go by the vids, spend a lot of time in offices staring at things, and occasionally someone cries or gets killed or buried. Now, um, I still don't know that much about Criminal Minds, although this story did answer some searching questions I had about certain terms that have started showing up in non-fan-fiction locations. (Unsub, for example, which always makes me say, "...So, do you mean dom?")

But it is a tradition with me to recommend fan fiction for sources I know nothing about. And I love this story. The details! The consequences of inception! The researching and bugging and theories! It's casefic. With extra adventures inside the head of someone who could probably use a few visits with a shrink. Joy!

Plus, I love this for the portrayal of Arthur. Inception is one of those fandoms where I'm willing to entertain almost any story an author wants to tell about a character, as long as the three basic traits remain the same. (In other words, I won't buy stupid Arthur, but if you can make a case for magician Arthur, or demonic librarian Arthur, or robot Arthur, I am prepared to read it.) And I loved this version of Arthur, though of course I will not tell you what it is. (It would be a spoiler, and that would be wrong. I will tell you that he's not a robot, though. Which is fine, of course. But where have all the robots gone?)

I also love Eames in this one; I have a weakness for competent people who can roll with the punches and get shit done. (My ideal hero would, presumably, speak seven languages and not sleep much.) And I even like Spencer Reid, who seems anal, intelligent, and really, really complicated. I am guessing his show has run for a lot of seasons.

The One That Proves That the Side with the Biggest Teeth Wins. Jaws, by [archiveofourown.org profile] JoeLawson. Hawaii Five-0, Steve McGarrett/Daniel Williams.

Okay, so when I was figuring out what fourth story I wanted for this set, I ended up with one of those painful quandaries that fandom occasionally puts me in. (Like, you know, "Wingfic or amnesia?" The hard questions, in other words.) Eventually, though, I realized: no one should ever have to choose between weresharks and casefic. It's just not right to ask. So, since I don't have any stories that combine weresharks and casefic (a sad lack, in my opinion), I'm just going to have to recommend both.

Don't get me wrong: I still think Hawai'i needs werewolves. Or vampires. (Wouldn't it suck to get vamped in Hawai'i? Surrounded by moving water. Sunlight all the damn time. Pineapples. Palm trees. I bet Hawaiian vampires routinely win the Most Emo ribbon in the vampire shows.) But I am pretty damn pleased that the fandom has weresharks.

And not just any weresharks, let me add. It's not just that Danny is perhaps the best wereshark ever recorded - it's that there's a whole werecommunity in this one. (Although that makes it sound like the residents transform: half the time they're loners! And then the sun comes out and, bam, they're hugging and sharing and cuddling and tossing leis. But you know what I mean.) I love the hints in this story of something bigger just behind it, a whole world of people turning into sharks and wallabies and pangolins. And speaking bastardized Greek. It doesn't get better than that.

Note that there is some animal harm in this one. Shark harm, to be specific. I dealt with it by telling myself those were actually weresharks, and thus technically humans. (No, we will not discuss what it says about me that this worked as a coping mechanism. In my world, it is okay for sharks to eat people, but not for people to eat sharks, apparently.)

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.
X-parrot: op rob luccixparrot on July 16th, 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
FWIW, I totally love the Dresden File novels, they're a ton of fun and I'm eagerly anticipating the next one. If you're enjoying the fic you might want to give them another try. I have no less than three friends who initially quit reading on the first or second book (at least one because she couldn't stand Harry) but then later were convinced to keep going with it, and fell in love with the series. And judging by another friend's experience you can start with book 3 and not miss that much. Basically the series steadily improves until book 6, where it reaches an equilibrium of solidly entertaining that so far it's maintained.

ETA: erm, also if I have said this before please ignore me; I have given this spiel to various folks on my flist and easily lose track of who ^^;

Edited at 2011-07-16 04:08 am (UTC)
Lucelucia_tanaka on July 16th, 2011 02:24 pm (UTC)
I'll concur with all of this, though I will warn that if you're sensitive to sexism you want to skip Proven Guilty entirely. If you're like me, that book will make you want to take 500 showers.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on July 16th, 2011 06:01 pm (UTC)
Maybe I will try downloading the sample chapters for the third one and see if that goes better! And thank you; I am always in the market for more books to read.
sophia_sol on July 16th, 2011 04:09 am (UTC)
And now you have made me want fic about the sort of werecommunity you describe! It sounds so fascinating!

Also I totally subscribe to your sequel to Cross. MMMHMM. THERE IS A HAPPY ENDING.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on July 16th, 2011 06:05 pm (UTC)
I, too, would read werecommunity fic. Although I know better than to try googling it.

And oh, CROSS. Indeed there is a happy ending. MERMAIDS AND ICE CREAM ALL THE WAY.
squeeze me, stomp me,  make me wine: Firefly - Jayne best day evermoosesal on July 16th, 2011 04:37 am (UTC)
(Unsub, for example, which always makes me say, "...So, do you mean dom?")

*dies laughing* This just made my night. The recs don't hurt either. Thank you.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on July 16th, 2011 06:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And, seriously, UNSUB? I'm guessing whoever came up with that doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about kink.
vanillafluffy: Macramevanillafluffy on July 16th, 2011 04:43 am (UTC)
Unsub, for example, which always makes me say, "...So, do you mean dom?"

For the win....
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on July 16th, 2011 06:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! *beams*
Stasiastasia on July 16th, 2011 05:10 am (UTC)
Okay, I've been holding off on reccing this story to you because it has a few troubling bits (there's a child in it who's dead, for example, but she gets to help in the end!), but given your above statement about Arthur from Inception, I'm succumbing to the temptation.

The Boy Who Spoke With Ghosts

It's an Inception/Sixth Sense crossover.

No, really, it works so much better than I expected. Arthur/Eames, of course.

And, um, unrelatedly, I have the same response to "unsub".


(Lastly, I have a New! Exciting! Method! and idea for another book for the Earthling and can't wait to try it out. I hope he likes it.)

Stasia, again
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on July 16th, 2011 06:25 pm (UTC)
Oooo. Thank you for the rec! And I am eager to hear about the New! Exciting! Method! It sounds AWESOME!

(Also, I am glad to hear I'm not the only one whose brain does that in response to unsub. YAY.)

Stasiastasia on July 16th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC)
It involves hand made lifting doors with hidden pictures behind!! I'm really excited to try it.

spiffikinsspiffikins on July 16th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
thank you for the Sherlock rec! I just lost my entire Saturday morning to it!

so glad I'd already read Cross - otherwise I'd lost my afternoon too :)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on July 20th, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
But it was an excellent way to lose a morning, I think you will agree!
be patient I am getting to the point: Gerard (by mcee)airgiodslv on July 16th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
Hello! I was just linked here by a helpful friend, as I sat staring at my inbox trying to figure out where all the lovely kudos-button-pushing people had come from, so I wanted to say thank you so much for such a lovely and detailed rec. I love reading other people's recs, especially when they say why they liked a certain story and get me really interested in reading it, so I sincerely appreciate that you did that for something of mine! I shall definitely check out your other recs as well, so thanks doubly!
be patient I am getting to the pointairgiodslv on July 16th, 2011 11:21 pm (UTC)
P.S. Your note on unsub made me laugh as well...I don't know if it is really a term anyone uses or one they made up for the show, but I'm pretty sure that no one can ever use it without sounding completely ridiculous.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on July 20th, 2011 02:15 am (UTC)
I have actually been wondering about that, how the actors in the show manage to say it with a straight face, and without sounding silly. Apparently the answer on that last one is that they don't. The crew on that show must have facial muscles of STEEL from repressing all the laughter.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on July 20th, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad you found your way back here; I rec so slowly that I think writers tend to be a little mystified by the influx of comments or kudos, unless some kind person explains.

Thank you for such a wonderful story!
Admission to the Burning Ruins — 10¢: Penguin Cymbalslaughingacademy on July 18th, 2011 06:47 am (UTC)
(No, we will not discuss what it says about me that this worked as a coping mechanism. In my world, it is okay for sharks to eat people, but not for people to eat sharks, apparently.)

When I took Psych 101 in college, the professor showed the class videos of humans and dogs that suffered from narcolepsy -- golfers collapsing at the tee, puppies conking out mid-frolic. Afterward, he commented that most people either laughed or said "Interesting" at the human footage, and made sympathetic "awwwwwww" noises over the dogs; however, there was one group whose reactions were the opposite. Can you guess who? Answer: veterinary students.

ETA: goddammit, the spoiler text worked in the preview.

Edited at 2011-07-18 06:51 am (UTC)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on July 20th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC)
Bizarrely, the spoiler text worked in my email comment notification, too. Oh, LJ, you are an eternal mystery. In any case, I found this fascinating - one of the many reasons I never had the slightest interest in being a veterinarian is that I definitely want to remain in the "awwww" territory over sleeping dogs. Well, obviously.
i'm swedish, we love nuditytemplemarker on July 18th, 2011 06:28 pm (UTC)
I love all these stories, except for the part where I've already read them all!

"Indecorous" is a magnificent work, and "Cross" left me breathless the whole time I was reading it.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on July 20th, 2011 07:10 pm (UTC)
Sorry! But then obviously you should rec ME something! What else have you been loving lately?
cathalincathalin on July 18th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
Oooh, my eye caught on "as long as the three basic traits remain the same." I... yes. Have you written about that anywhere? That is a really succinct and cool way to say something pretty awesome.

also as always of course your recs are awesome and my To Read list is... scary and also great in no large part due to you <3
tried to eat the safe banana: Calamity Physicsthefourthvine on July 20th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
That is totally me inaccurately quoting great minds! In this case, specifically, Rachael Sabotini, who wrote Three-Point Characterization waaaaay back when. I read this when I was a tiny new fan, and at the time, my response was, quoting directly: "Huh."

Since then, my opinions have changed - for one thing, I've watched some actual canon, so I have had my own characterization mismatch experiences. (I have serious problems with that; when I watch a show, because of the weirdness of my brain, I am very often taking away very different things than everyone else. Which makes it hard to read in the fandom for me.) But the essay is interesting and useful, I think. If you read it, I would welcome your thoughts! (I am, for example, super interested in how RPF writers do characterization. I wish, so much wish, that I could read RPF and FIND OUT.)
T Veranot_verano on July 19th, 2011 11:33 am (UTC)

It was like watching two people make a game try at ballroom dancing, except one of them is anesthetized and the other one is an octopus.

You invariably bring much joy into my life. Thank you. :-)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on July 20th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
*beams* Thank you! I am glad that book could bring joy into SOMEBODY'S life. It was one of those books where you ask yourself, two-thirds of the way through, why you are still reading, and cannot come up with a single answer except, "Foolish hope."
chicken soup for the Slytherin's soulmontglanechess on September 1st, 2011 08:24 pm (UTC)
This is mostly just a thank you for all the awesome you bring to the internet. I was literally doing dishes 15 minutes ago and was like "I am extra tired this week, my allergies hate me, and I am the one who keeps doing all the $#@$!$!@ dishes." And then, like a lightening bolt, it occurred to me that it had been at *least* a month since I had been to see thefourthvine's livejournal. And BAM!, my life is suddenly 4x better today now.

So thanks. Your incredible humor (and fic recs!) brings a little less frustration to my day. ;)