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03 June 2004 @ 05:48 pm
Slashy Nominations 49: Sex Isn't Everything. Imagine My Surprise.  
"But it's the best part of everything!" I hear you crying. Well, in most cases, you're right. Certainly when it comes to fan fiction, you're right. But there are exceptions to almost every rule, and this nominations set is made up of such exceptions.

Why am I posting a smut-free set? Well, first, it's part of my ongoing effort to prove to myself that I'm not totally subsumed by perversion. (Results: inconclusive. Try again later.) Second, it's my attempt to praise those authors who realize their stories don't need sex, and then don't force the story to feature sex. They are few, but, I hope, proud. Because I'd rather read one absolutely in character, plot-appropriate, truly hot sex scene than four sex scenes composed entirely of wet cardboard and recycled verbs and pasted into a story that just isn't in the mood.

Best FF Involving the Astronomy Tower and Nighttime and Snape Admitting to Being a Sadist and Still No Sex: A Little Night Air, by penknife. Harry Potter. Severus Snape is one of the most widely fanwanked characters in existence, possibly because J.K. Rowling has, shall we say, left ample room for fan interpretation in the canon view of him. So when I read this, my heart swelled with joy. This is my Snape! Snape as I see him! He's snarky, difficult, brilliant - Snape of the evening, wonderful Snape. If I had a tail, I would wag it every time I read this story. Alas, I do not, so all I can do is rec it. And re-read it. And snicker.

Best FF That Will Give You Vaguely Nervous Feelings Every Time You Look at a Packet of Seeds for the Next Year: Bound, by Mary Borsellino. Lord of the Rings domestic blend. This is an AU in which Frodo took the ring, and it is creepy as are all good the-One-Ring-prevails fics. (I've said it before and I'll say it again: there's nothing as menacing as something small and pretty that should be totally harmless and yet turns out to want your soul.) The movies, in my opinion, really enhance the whole Evil Frodo concept; it's so easy to imagine Elijah Wood's Frodo turning. He'd be small and cute and have big blue eyes and he'd be so evil your heart would melt into your shoes every time you saw him. Or, as in "Bound," (See? I always get back to the story eventually), every time you got a letter from him. I suppose this entry just goes to show that I fear evil most when it comes in small and pretty packages. There's probably some childhood trauma that accounts for that, but lord, I don't want to know what it is.

Best FF That Reminds Us All That Batman Doesn't Play Well with Others and Doesn't Like to Share His Toys: Testimone, by Domenika Marzione. DC Universe. Who doesn't love the deeply dysfunctional Batclan, full as it is of angsty goodness (not to mention angsty moral ambiguity), blue tones, general darkness, and dead parents? Well, sometimes I don't. There are times when I get tired of Batman's unwavering belief that a) he knows what he knows, and that includes what's right for everyone b) he has cornered the world's supply of sorrow and c) by god, it's his way or it's the highway, on foot, in four-inch heels and a hobble skirt. So for me, the real value of "Testimone" is the view it gives us of the Batclan from outside. Because I do not know from the Huntress. For all I know, she could be an Amazon stalking the Gotham streets searching for men to enslave, or the current incarnation of Artemis, or a cyborg programmed to destroy everything with a pulse. But I didn't have to know her to love this story. And neither do you.

Best FF That Drives Me to the Kind of Lame Philosophy That Sounds Really Cool to Stoned College Freshmen Who Have Posters of Kafka on Their Dorm Room Walls: Normal, by penknife, who has an astonishing way with gen. X-Men movies. I love Cyclops FF, because in it he's everything he should be but isn't in the canon. The first time I read a fic about Cyclops, I was just astonished; turns out there's a person behind that visor! This is one of my favorite Cyclops stories, because it shows him doing his anal-retentive thing - planning, thinking, obsessing - so that you really understand why he's like that. And it asks a question we've all had to answer at some point: how much of yourself would you give up to be normal? And how do you even figure out what normal is, when it's a mirage, when it vanishes every time you think you have it in focus?

Whoa. OK, good reason for me not to do too many gen sets; evidently they bring out the third-rate philosopher in me. Luckily, it's hard to get all intense and pseudo-profound about smut; I like the way sex brings out the shallow in me. And I will be returning to glorious, smutty shallowness next entry, I promise you.
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tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on June 3rd, 2004 08:21 pm (UTC)
Is it not? Those One-Ring-Prevails stories make me all shuddery. I have to, like, make sure I only read them in the daytime, because when I first found them it was late and I was having insomnia and I read a whole bunch. And my dog is probably still wondering why I made her sit right by me for hours and hours and kept squeezing her.

Thanks for reading!
_medley__medley_ on June 3rd, 2004 06:17 pm (UTC)
Yay, you recced more of penknife's stories! I'd frankly read a grocery list if she wrote it. And it would be a thought-provoking, in-character grocery list. :)

Just wanted to say thanks for your excellent recs; you've gotten me seriously into due South and when I *finally* watched PotC I knew where to look for recs. You also have a knack for finding those really creepy One Ring stories that I wouldn't have read otherwise--I'm not sure whether to thank you for *that* or not. *vbg*
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on June 3rd, 2004 08:23 pm (UTC)
Yup, she's one of my "Grocery list? Absolutely!" authors, too. (Actually, that'd make a fun short challenge: show us, in 10 - 500 words, what's on a given character's or pairing's shopping list. I would read penknife's M/X list with great interest. And eliade's S/X one. And, oh...must stop this now, or I will soon be missing fic that never was.
color is the new dangermmeguilotn on June 4th, 2004 08:08 am (UTC)
Someone actually did this for a QAF challenge a while ago. Unfortunately, I have no idea who it was, and I don't read QAF so I wouldn't even know where to look for it. It was pretty cool though.
Cleolinda Jonescleolinda on June 3rd, 2004 06:54 pm (UTC)
re: dailydigest membership
Sorry to pop up like this--do you solemnly swear to format your reviews according to the guidelines in the first post?
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on June 3rd, 2004 08:25 pm (UTC)
Re: dailydigest membership
I do swear by all that is holy to format my reviews according to the guidelines you have stated. If I do willfully and maliciously violate this oath, may I never read smut again.
Cleolinda Jonescleolinda on June 3rd, 2004 08:25 pm (UTC)
Re: dailydigest membership
Whoa. Dude. That's hardcore.

You're in.
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tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on June 3rd, 2004 08:29 pm (UTC)
The thing about penknife is that she's so consistently good, and makes it seem so effortless, that I think she doesn't get half the recognition she deserves.

I agree. Really, I think part of the reason is that she writes short pieces and a lot of gen, and for some reason people don't pay as much attention to stories like that, especially in her fandoms. (Though, really, XMM produces some of the best short fic I've ever read, and I include professional and original work in that. C. Elisa's 100-word stories knock me flat every time I read them, and I will eventually nom every one of them here. Expect to see most of Penknife's stuff here, too.)

And Bound creeped me out so very much the first time I read it--I can't quite bring myself to read it again. I mean that in the good way, of course.

Hee. I know what you mean. I have to read everything I rec several times (when I bookmark it, when I sort it, before I write the nom for it), and I actually postponed this gen set several days because I didn't want to re-read "Bound" again; I waited until I could post when it was light out.