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23 July 2004 @ 11:58 am
Slashy Nominations 68: Running the Numbers  
Number 87 on the list of Reasons Why I Love Fan Fiction: there's no kink so peculiar that you can't find fic to satisfy it. And I'm not just talking about sex kinks. This particular set is a tribute to two of my lesser non-sex kinks: numbers and vignette series. I don't need to tell you why numbers are good, do I? (Pretty. Shiny. Countable. Reassuring.) But maybe I do need to justify my love for the vignette series.

When well done, the vignette series has all the charm and allure of a drabble with all the meat and content of a much larger piece. (I realize I sound like I'm writing copy for a diet food. I can only beg your indulgence. And, hell, Indulgence is probably the name of the diet food.) The medium is flexible, absorbing, and...dammit, now I'm writing paper towel copy. Look, clearly I'm not up to much on the writing front today. So let's just move on to the fics.

Best FF That Proves Once and for All That There's Nothing Sexier Than Linguistic Terminology and Men Who Call Other Men 'Mother': Ten Things to Get Used to, by Speranza, aka cesperanza. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. You know, there's going to be a time - relatively soon, at this rate - when I'll have recommended every due South story Speranza has written. And there will be tears on that day, I tell you, and possibly rending of cloth. But until then, I will continue to urge everyone on Earth to read Speranza's entire oeuvre. (Ooo! I'm not just a hack ad writer today, apparently, but a pretentious one.) What else could I possibly do for a woman who has written not one but four stories with numbers in the title? "Ten" (yes, I'm back to the story now, so you can stop skimming) is a series of looks at Ray and Fraser after "Call of the Wild," nicely settled in an established relationship in the back of beyond. I love the little things about this story - the argument with Phil, Fraser's version of a proposal, the world's best use of the word "fuck." I also love the big things about this story, but I'll leave those for you to discover on your own.

Best FF That Appeals to the Latin Geek in All of Us. Because There Is a Latin Geek in All of Us, Right? Right?: Twelve Latin Phrases That Aren't Quo Vadimus, aka Some Ways It Didn't End, by scrunchy. Sports Night, assorted pairings and gen. In case you didn't know, Sports Night is off the air. ("Sports Night is dead. Long live Sports Night!") But, really, that doesn't mean it's gone - it's just been transmuted into a far more wonderful form: fandom. Don't believe me? The series only had one ending. This story alone offers twelve endings. Truly an embarras de richesses. And the whole fandom is like that, chock full of sporty goodness, so won't you join the SN Cult today? Um. Message from the people who have taken over my brain ends. Now that I have recovered full control of my hands, I must type a warning for those of you who like happy endings. Let's just say there are some of those here. Also some endings that feel like a real gut punch, including the second to the last one, which will probably bring back unpleasant memories for Americans and especially NYC residents. But no matter how you like your SN - slash, het, gen, happy, sad, mad - your needs will be met by this story, and in fact by the fandom as a whole. See? Living proof that when the canon dies, the fandom just gets better.

Best FF That Manages to Make Sirius' Death Almost Acceptable, and Definitely Way More Acceptable Than the Canon Ever Has: Thirteen Ways, by Sinope, aka eponis. Harry Potter, Remus Lupin/Severus Snape. So let me explain the acceptable death comment before you put out a hit on me. See, there's no reason for Sirius to die in the canon, and I'll never forgive JKR for killing him just 'cause she felt like killing. (What is she, a literary sociopath?) But if there's one thing I like about the whole unfortunate business, it's that the shock and pain and loss gave rise to some truly brilliant FF. And this is definitely brilliant FF, and I am not at all biased even though I was clearly born to love this story. There's numbers! There's vignettes! There's great poetry by a dead guy! Really, there's everything I need, and the fact that the pairing makes me, um, slightly wibbly - well, that's just something I'll have to get past, you know? And, actually, this is the way for this pairing to work; this is the fic that persuaded me it could work, and without any messy personality transplants, either. As the author says in her summary, "Lupin and Snape don't have the luxury of new beginnings." They have to work with what they have, and part of that means clearing away a few decades' worth of messy backstory. O perfect love? Um, no. Better than perfect love? Indubitably.

Best FF That Has Guaranteed I Will Never Order a Sandwich in Cleveland. Or, Potentially, Anywhere Else.: Thirty-Two Short Fics about Xander Harris, by nwhepcat. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, gen. I don't want to get all distracted by the sandwich thing, so I'll just get this out of the way first: Wrongest. Sandwich. Ever. (Fear not, norah; there's no sex in this fic, just completely sex-free scary sandwiches. So you can read it. If you dare.) Now that I've gotten that out of the way - and believe me, it needed to be said - let's move on to the rest of this story. Because this story is brilliant. It isn't just that the author has captured the dialog and tone of the series so well, or that the character here really is Xander in all his glory, although those things are part of the overwhelmingly wonderful package. What's really amazing about this is that it's episode fic that really works. nwhepcat has added little bits to a bunch of different episodes, and those little bits show us so much more of Xander that it's really kind of sad these scenes weren't in the canon. Not enough for you? Well, we also get a look at post-series Xander in Cleveland, dealing with the Other Hellmouth, proving that life goes on, and so do the undead and the demons and the, um, terrifying foodstuffs. Oh, and you don't need to have seen BtVS to read this story - I haven't seen a lot of the episodes mentioned here - but you do need to be fairly familiar with the story arcs and so on, or else some of the short fics won't make sense.

Best Special Bonus Item That Will Stick a Song in Your Head for All Eternity. Don't Say You Weren't Warned.: 88 Lines about 44 Characters, by Valeria. Homicide: Life on the Streets, metathingy. This is today's Mutant Bonus Rec. It isn't a vignette, and isn't actually fiction, but it definitely meets the numbers criterion of this theme with room to spare. If you don't recognize the origin of the title you probably shouldn't bother reading it. But for those of us who are familiar with The Nails' "88 Lines about 44 Women," and who don't mind having it on cerebral auto-repeat for the next nine days...well, let's just say this is the shortest, handiest character index I've ever seen. Plus, you know, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it, and how many fandom summaries can you say that about?
starfishchick on July 23rd, 2004 10:42 am (UTC)
I adore that Sports Night fic. Thanks for reccing it!
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2004 10:52 am (UTC)
It is a fabulous fic, is it not?

And, um, in re your icon - I keep reading about pantsless anchoring in FF. I'm thinking it must be canon. I certainly want it to be canon. So, um...is it?
starfishchick on July 23rd, 2004 11:01 am (UTC)
It IS canon! From the episode "Napoleon's Battle Plan".

You must see it!
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on July 23rd, 2004 03:57 pm (UTC)
Because you CAN, now, you know.

tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2004 04:10 pm (UTC)
Yup! And I fully intend to. (Did you get my SN progress reports? I seem to recall sending them, but if my server screwed up or whatever: now up to FIVE episodes watched. With enjoyment! I am SO PROUD of myself. I'm actually sort of afraid I will soon start telling complete strangers about this, possibly during that critical first impression period. "Hi! I'm thefourthvine, and I watched five episodes of a TV show in one week.")

BB, always an overachiever, has finished the whole first season. We will probably end up buying the DVDs.

So. You've corrupted me, potentially beyond repair, recruited me into a slavish cult that sucks my time away like a chronological black hole, and filled my mind with so much television-related trivia that I've probably forgotten my own blood type. You have my sincere and everlasting thanks. And that doesn't seem like near enough. If I could write, I'd offer you a fic, and if I could iconify, I'd offer you that, but, um, I can't. So...thanks again?

(Memo to me: Must work on proper reward-style motivators.)

Oh, and do let me know if there's anything you'd like to have added to the package when I ship it back to you.
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on July 23rd, 2004 04:13 pm (UTC)
Well, if you could throw Dan or Casey in there, that would be appreciated. Or both. Hey! There's your reward-style motivator right there!

I'm so glad you enjoyed it. You have NO IDEA how bad I would have felt had I been doing the Procurator-General thing for a show you ended up hating, or even worse, having no discernible reaction to whatsoever.

And, no, last I heard, you had seen three episodes. But don't fret; it's not like I've responded to that e-mail yet... :-D
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2004 04:25 pm (UTC)
Still, I feel a certain responsibility to keep you informed.

You say you don't want to hear breathless updates on the progress of some random person's pathetic TV watching? My friend, I must tell you - the path of the Procurator-General is not an easy one. It is not for one who values her time, her inbox, or having her DVD collection all in one place. But the path of the Procurator-General is satisfying indeed for those who are strong enough, tough enough, great enough. For to the Procurator-General belongs the power to introduce, to inflict, and, in the fullness of time, to addict. Use that power wisely, and the world is at your command.

Long live the Procurator-General!

(Now go work your P-Gish wiles on estrella30. If you don't recognize the name, she's a great new writer in dS and other fandoms. She's seen all of SN, and she owns the DVDs, but she hasn't watched them since she donned slash-tinted spectacles. She said as much, and indicated some interest in writing SN, in a comment on one of scrunchy's stories. Clearly she needs prodding. Go forth and prod.)
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on July 23rd, 2004 04:47 pm (UTC)
Okay, Uberfuhrer, all prodded!
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2004 05:18 pm (UTC)
Wow. Now I know how you got the Procurator-General post. You give good prod, woman.

No, wait. Let me rephrase that.

When it comes to prodding...no.

You prod like...no.

There's no prod like fanofall's prod? God, no.

So, OK, no good way to phrase that. But now that I know the sheer power of the Procurator-General, don't think I won't be siccing you on others. (Did you get the t-shirt made yet? I'm also thinking there should be a theme icon. And possibly a certificate suitable for framing.)
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on July 23rd, 2004 05:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, I am ALL ABOUT the theme icons. I actually have, like, seventeen ideas all stored up, from conversations with you, norah, and others. I just have to find someone with, like, ANY VISUAL ARTS TALENT AT ALL that knows me and would be willing to do icons.

I have yet to find these people.
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2004 05:56 pm (UTC)
MMWD made (or caused to be made) all my icons, because lord knows I haven't enough visual arts talent to draw a triangle successfully.

Hmmm. This is a problem. We must ponder. The Procurator-General cannot go unacknowledged.

(You know, doing a Google image search on procurator general is extremely disturbing, in that a) you get results and b) they're mostly head-and-shoulders shots of men in suits and full-length shots of men in religious regalia.)
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on July 23rd, 2004 05:57 pm (UTC)
Please tell me you didn't actually Google that.
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 24th, 2004 08:11 am (UTC)
No, I really did, using the image search (with moderate safe search - I'm not a total idiot). I wasn't expecting to get much in the way of hits, and I didn't, but what I did get? Men in suits, men in religious outfits.

Odd. Not what I was expecting.

Particularly the religious ones.
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on July 24th, 2004 09:44 am (UTC)
That's just....odd.

So I'm a moderately old man wearing alternately a cassock or a double-breasted pin stripe?
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2004 04:15 pm (UTC)
I intend to. Oh, I intend to.

Pantsless. Anchors. How could this show go off the air after only two seasons? Is there no justice in network television? And does asking that last question brand me as such a total TV tyro that others will be ashamed to know me and I'll be forced to leave LA County?
Vera: wolvescopracat on July 23rd, 2004 11:11 am (UTC)
What is she, a literary sociopath?

She has a rare, bizarre plot disability, a kind of tourettes of the narrative.
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2004 11:25 am (UTC)
I see what you're saying. It's a prepositional defiant disorder, a rapid-cycle biplotter disorder, a histrionic chronicle disorder.

I see it all now! I understand so much that was unclear before! But, Doctor, can this writer be saved? Or, more accurately, can this series be saved, preferably before any more random deaths or totally unnecessary Quidditch cup excursions take place?
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2004 02:13 pm (UTC)

*pause for 15 solid minutes of squeeing that will likely cause the men EVEN NOW INSTALLING THE OVEN to think I am even crazier than they already think me*

So, um, yeah. Did you read the sandwich fic yet? Because I want to make sure I'm not the only one seriously creeped out by that sandwich. (And I do mean seriously. That sandwich will have a starring role in my own personal edition of hell, I promise you that.)

And as for the food-mouth-sex connection, um, yeah. I don't much get it either. Doesn't squick me so much as leave me cold. It's just...what, I need to add honey to this situation to make it more palatable? No, I'm pretty much set, and if the sheets get sticky, I'd rather...no. Best not to finish that sentence. But I think you know what I mean. To sum: food in fanfic can be interesting. Food in bed with the characters can be revolting. And food in bed with me? No, no, no, no, no. (Although I did like the use of marmalade in a fic I've rec'd that I hope you didn't read - "Look, Officer, I Can Explain Everything...")

And using food products as lube - oil, fine. Butter, um. Let there be a good reason for this, please. Individual mayonnaise packets? (I really have read a fic that used this.) Sorry, I've just collapsed giggling, what with picturing guys horny enough to consider using mayonnaise packets trying to open said packets, and you know those things don't open that easily at any time, but when you've got the sex clumsiness going on? And you'd better get them all open at the same time, because if you need more once your fingers are slippery, well, you'd probably save time by walking back to the truck, driving to a store, and buying lube.

And that was a totally unnecessary digression, wasn't it? But I have to admit that if Daegaer (you got her to write FIC for you?) wrote mayonnaise fic, I'd probably totally love it.
\o/: Tongue & holding handstrue_enough on July 23rd, 2004 02:25 pm (UTC)
Ten Things...
...is one of my all time favorite dS stories almost entirely for the snapshot called Call Me Mother. It's so original and wonderfully off the wall and yet completely true to character that I'm left speechless. I liked so much I kept re-reading it and almost neglected to finish the rest of the story.

tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 23rd, 2004 03:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Ten Things...
God, isn't it incredible? I love that segment; every time I re-read "Ten Things", I read the "Mother" bit three times.

And, god, "Fricatives," especially the line "...and still the words won't fucking come." That's just so Fraser.

*admiring pause*

*surprised pause*

Your icon just caught my eye, and, um...what are they doing in that shot?
\o/: Adoretrue_enough on July 24th, 2004 03:55 am (UTC)
Re: Ten Things...
They just dodged a car in an alley by hanging from a pole. Fraser who hurt his back earlier drops Ray and then falls on the ground himself. When he has a hard time getting up Ray offers him a hand and then. doesn't. let. go. It's one of the many lovely moments in the show when slash becomes canon. In the icon they're looking up at the hotel where Ray has handcuffed another suspect to a piece of furniture. I watched the show before I discovered slash and it was scenes like that that made me sure it wasn't just my dirty mind - there really is something going on between them.
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine2 by MMWDthefourthvine on July 24th, 2004 08:09 am (UTC)
Re: Ten Things...
You know, I love fandom. Because I'm sure there's something vaguely wrong with me that that scene - the owie, the hand-holding, the sweetness - makes me say "awwwww." But, hey, I don't have to worry about it, 'cause I'm surrounded by people who feel exactly the same way!

And, for the record? Awwww. That is just...really sweet.

*happy sigh*
\o/: Tongue & holding handstrue_enough on July 24th, 2004 01:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Ten Things...
But, hey, I don't have to worry about it, 'cause I'm surrounded by people who feel exactly the same way!

I'm with you. Preaching to the choir is a wonderful thing.