tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana

223: Shit Gets Real

I am allergic to celebrities. I just - they bother me. I feel like the basic social contract, as far as celebrities are concerned, is that we pay them a lot of money and in return they spend all their time far away and we (or, okay, I) can pretend they don't really exist. (True fact: when people on my friends list post excitedly about meeting their favorite celebrities, I am happy for them, but I, uh, have to hit the back button very speedily. Because ew, celebrities.)

You might think that this would be a problem, given that I live in a place that has a mildly elevated celebrity density, but this is where my inability to recognize faces pays off; I could watch three back-to-back movies starring someone and then get trapped in an elevator with him for four hours, and when I came out I would say, "You know, he sounded familiar. I think my sister might know him." (The real problem comes about when I am walking around with people and they say - quietly and without pointing, of course, because they are Angelenos, but why even bring it up? - "Oh, hey! It's -" whoever. I do not want to know. If you're ever walking around with me and you see Jeremy Piven or Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jennifer Anniston or Mary Louise Parker, just do not tell me. I will be happy, and you will be happy, and presumably whoever it is will be happy, too. Unless it's Arnold Schwarzenegger, who even I could tell looked incredibly grouchy every time I was with someone who pointed him out.)

So my celebrity allergy was absolutely fine for the longest time. I had the disease and the cure! And then I got into fan fiction, and - and it was no longer fine. Because the celebrity allergy gave me an RPF squick, and that meant there were a lot of stories I yearned to read and could not.

But it wasn't like, say, my animal harm squick, which when triggered leaves me so upset that I once cried on the phone to a telemarketer because of a story I'd been reading. (She hung up.) It just makes me geechy, in the same way that actual celebrities make me geechy. I can deal with being geechy in a good cause. So each time a new RPF fandom came out, I would read a story in it, one that was highly recommended, and each time I would have hope in my heart. Because maybe - maybe the fact that I've never seen American Idol will mean I can read this! (Nope.) Maybe the fact that I can only name about three total bandom guys will mean I can read this! (Nope.) It was always immensely disappointing; there's no feeling quite like reading a story you know is good, that you want to love, except you can't because your skin is filing for divorce from your body.

Still. I persevered. I discovered some fandoms in which I could dabble! (Mythbusters, for example. They're real people, but my brain doesn't consider them celebrities, so I can deal. Also anything featuring people from, like, WWII or before; my brain doesn't consider them real.) And then recently, magically, I followed some links that [ profile] dine posted, and I found that I can read hockey RPF. I have no idea if it's because I don't consider the players celebrities or because I don't consider them real people, but I don't care. RPF! That I can read! I have hope that I can, at long long last, break this thing. Maybe this time next year I will be able to read bandom and popslash and LotRiPS and J2 and AI and all the other fan fiction I have missed over the years! There will be celebrating then, let me tell you.

In the meantime, as kind of a precursor celebration, a recs set that has been seven years in the making: an all RPF set.

The One That Proves That There's No Soap Opera Like a Hockey Soap Opera. My Siberia: A Russian Knitting Circle Story, by [ profile] impertinence. Hockey RPF, Sidney Crosby/Geno Malkin.
Here is a list of the things I've learned while reading hockey RPF (note: may possibly not apply to actual hockey):
  1. The Blackhawks are by far the gayest team in the NHL.
  2. Sidney Crosby is a hockey-playing robot.
  3. No one pines like a Russian hockey player. Entire strands of virgin forest (sorry; in my defense, uncut sounded even worse) only wish they could pine that hard.
And then I picked the story that exemplified 66% of these things. (I do have many Blackhawks recs, but the Gay Little Team That Could (Totally Blow Each Other) is going to have to wait its turn. It's fine; the players have lots to get up to in the meantime. )

So, yes, I went with the Pining for the Robot story. This is a good trope for me. No, this is a great trope for me. I have a lot of love for a certain type of character - the person who is incredibly good at something, or even a lot of somethings, who manages to be a decent person while somehow sucking at being, you know, human. (Yes, fine, my ideal character is Spock. This cannot be a surprise to anyone.) In other words: a robot. (Or, okay, to be clear, a person-type character a lot of other characters are going to call a robot. Or an alien.) And in this trope, I can see some other character appreciating the robot as much as I do. Awesome.

And this is where hockey RPF is good to me, because it turns out Sidney Crosby is an ideal robot. He's a brilliant hockey player with roughly the same skill at being human as an actual alien. (Sadly, there is no story in which Crosby actually is an alien, and the concussion is really a symptom of him going into heat. You can't have everything, I guess.)

Geno Malkin, meanwhile, is a pining hockey-playing Russian, or perhaps the pining hockey-playing Russian. Judging by the fan fiction I've read, he raises the league's pining average at least four full percentage points, and should probably get bonuses in his contract.

So, basically, this story is the perfect introduction to hockey RPF fandom. Geno pines! Sidney is bad at life! Geno pines! Sidney comes up with a terrible plan! Sex and pining! Dating and pining! And then joyful resolution and pining no more. Plus it's really funny. And you don't need to know anything about the characters, or indeed about hockey. Go read this already.

The One That Makes Raymond Carver Sexy. For Reals. A Passage That Sings, by dorkorific. Star Trek Reboot RPF, Chris Pine/Zachary Quinto.

Okay, this one is [profile] frostfire_17's fault. We were chatting about Martha Gellhorn, as you do, and we basically had this conversation:

Frost: Can I quote something at you? It will totally squick you, but you need to read it anyway.
Me, forgetting that like 90% of things that are weird in my life start exactly this way: Sure.
Frost: [pastes in a chunk of this very story, featuring MARTHA GELLHORN]
Me: Oh, god. That's - that's - look, just give me the link.

Because, I mean, yes, this one does trigger my celebrity squick like you would not even believe, and I don't care. For dialogue like this, I will read - um. I will read Chris Pine/Zachary Quinto, apparently, squick be damned. And, seriously, it is a fantastic story. Nothing is ever going to make me forgive Ernest Hemingway - even Martha Gellhorn herself couldn't do it - but this came close. (Dear middle school teachers: Don't assign the Ernest to your preteen students. No, don't. Look, I have heard every one of your excuses, and I declare them all null and void. The only valid reason to assign Hemingway to middle school students is to produce a new generation of Hemingway haters.)

So, yes, I love this story, even if it did give me horrible visions of Chris Pine in 20 years, doing beat poetry type readings a la William Shatner, but with additional lecturing on actual beat poets. I - I am not going to recover from that mental image in a hurry.

And, okay, I realize I've made this story sound kind of like its title should be Your College English Classes, Except with Hot Guys Banging. But that's not all it is! There's - pining! (You wouldn't even believe how hard I'm resisting the urge to make a Chris Pining joke here. And failing. I have no willpower.) And Zachary Quinto being kind of a hot mess! And humor! And - and, actually, you would totally read a story called Your College English Classes, Except with Hot Guys Banging, so don't even look at me that way. Just read this.

The One That Proves That Sexual Flexibility Really Is the Key to a Better Life. The Pinocchio Fallacy, by [ profile] toft. Mythbusters RPF, Jamie Hyneman/Adam Savage, Kari Byron/Grant Imahara.

I cleverly separated this one from the first one because, um. I thought I could probably pack enough words in between these two stories for you to miss that I recommended a Pining for the Robot story followed by an actual robot story. I - like robots, okay? I feel a certain bond.

And this is an awesome robot story. I just - this is, like, gently steeped in the Asimov robot tradition, but then with a thousand tons of amazingness added in. I just. I love everything about this so much. And I want you to read it, which I realize is - well, look. I know that those of you who have not already read this story are thinking one of two things:
  1. ADAM from MYTHBUSTERS as a SEXBOT? Okay, that's it, the internet is over. Let's all go learn croquet now.
  2. Who from what now?
And you've probably already stopped reading this as a result. But if you're still here, no! This story is for you! (Unless you are bothered by robots, in which case you are allowed to pass on by, but for the record robots are the best.) (Also I think I should note here that - okay, for a couple of you, this story summary is going to feel like a slap in the face. I hear you, I was there, too, and it worked out fine for me. If you feel like you've been punched but you still want to read it, email me. I'll go into how it worked for me.)

Anyway. All that said, what this story is really about is what it means to be human, and what it means to be not human. It has a message, even! And also it has robot messageboards, and Kari Byron fighting for robot freedom, and Tory the Tool of the Man, which I frankly always kind of thought he was, and just general wonderfulness. Plus, you know, the best sexbot characterization I have ever read, and see, that right there is why fandom is awesome, because I never dreamed I'd have a chance to write that sentence. The fact that I did is clear proof that you should go read the story that inspired it. NO REALLY I MEAN IT.

The One That Proves That There's No Morning After Like the Morning After Elfland. Force Majeure, by [ profile] astolat. American History RPF, Alexander Hamilton/George Washington.

Okay, so, this is the rare story in our household that caused a squick that wasn't mine. It turns out Best Beloved, who does not really have any textual squicks to speak of, found one as soon as she looked at this story's information a day or two after Yuletide.

"Washington," she said. "I - don't know. I'm not sure I can do that. Just. Washington."

I am here to tell you that if the idea of George Washington slash is squicking you out (BEST BELOVED), you should absolutely make every effort to get over it, because this story has magic and elfland, and also a narrative voice that will absolutely make you long for the complete history of this universe. Like, I would even read about the Civil War and the Reconstruction in this universe, and given that the worst history teacher in the world worked extra hard to make sure I would stab myself in the foot rather than hear the word "carpetbagger" one more time, even decades after the class, that is saying something. Mostly that this universe is great. (Also that apparently sufficiently good fiction can make up for an entire year's worth of educational trauma.)

And, okay, for reasons that are possibly obvious, early American history is not my strong point (same teacher, although fortunately we spent a lot less time on it, albeit still enough to guarantee that I fulfilled all my history requirements in college with classes featuring the initials BC), but I love the references in here to both our actual universe and - historical mythology? Whatever. Basically, I'm saying I love the cherry tree and everything it stands for.

And if this story has given me an appetite for founders slash, I'm sure that will pass in time. (Just - think! All nations! All founders! Ideally with magic or dragons or giant talking birds! Okay, maybe that's just me. At least I didn't suggest national founders and robots. Although that's mostly because I've already been to the Hall of Presidents.)

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