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03 August 2004 @ 11:48 pm
Slashy Nominations 71: A Rhapsody of Words  
I am reading a great, great book, a book that has healed my soul. Said book is Eats, Shoots & Leaves, which has made me feel a lot better about caring more about apostrophe use and the Oxford comma than, for example, the environment. I'm assuming everyone out there has already read this book, but if you have somehow overlooked it - really, purchase it at once. Your joy will expand without limit, I promise you.

So, in tribute to this (grand, delightful, even orgasmic) book, I am offering a selection of fan fiction related to language or linguistics - fan fiction, in short, designed to appeal to the word nerd in all of us. (Because there is a word nerd in all of us, right? Of course there is. I cannot believe otherwise.)

Word nerds unite! You have nothing to lose but inappropriately-used punctuation! And your sanity, of course, but that was living on borrowed time anyway.

Best FF That Demonstrates That You Can Tell Pretty Much Everything About a Relationship, or for That Matter a Person, by Looking at Dictionary Use: Prolix, by Dira Sudis, aka dsudis. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. It was tough to choose just one language-themed story from this fandom, because this is one fandom that really gets the importance of word-related fan fiction. But, in the end, I had to go with this story, because it lives in my mind (and heart) at the intersection of my language bitchiness and my fan fiction love: the perfect blend, at least for me, of the things I hold dear in life. (Well, some of them; I do have loves and interests besides smut and English. I mean, yes, I'm pathetic, but no one is that pathetic.) Kowalski is expanding his vocabulary. Fraser is watching, and I don't mean just watching Kowalski's dictionary use. And, speaking of dictionaries, there is a detail of Fraser's history in this story that is so perfect, so exactly right, that I completely believe it; that detail has been written into canon in my brain. It just feels that true. Although, for the record, a good vocabulary is not the usual result of poor parenting, so no one should try that at home.

Best FF That Demonstrates That True Love Is Never Needing a Thesaurus: Two Words for the Same Thing, by Bastet, aka sweetvalleyslut. Sports Night, Dan Rydell/Casey McCall. Reason number 1,239 why you should love Sports Night: canon word nerds. Slashy canon word nerds! It's a dream come true, frankly: smart, funny men who have the perfect way with words and are so clearly in love that it's impossible not to hum "O Perfect Love" every time they smile at each other, or in fact have any kind of interaction. Here Danny and Casey demonstrate that there is nothing sexier than a person who has an extensive knowledge of synonyms and corrects other people during important conversations. (Because that is sexy, right?) Another amazing thing about this story: it's an all-dialog fic that works. Of course, if there was ever a TV show that was essentially all dialog, Sports Night was it, so it's not exactly shocking that this works, but it does show how well the author gets the Sorkin sound. (And there's also a bonus word nerd in the form of Jeremy, who asks the question about Quo Vadimus that has been bothering me ever since the first time I read the name. I love Jeremy. And not just because he makes everyone else on Earth look relatively un-nerdy, though that definitely helps.)

Best FF That Features Tim Simultaneously Acting Like an Adolescent Boy, an Adolescent Girl, a Member of the Batfamily, and Tim. But Mostly Tim.: Question of Semantics, by weirdnessmagnet. D.C. Universe, Tim Drake (Robin III)/Dick Grayson (Nightwing). The author describes this as "schmangst," and she's got that right, but this is so how the birdboys would do schmangst. Tim wants everyone to be as perfect and subtle as he is. Dick wants everyone to be as open and direct as he is. And, in the end, it all boils down to semantics. And, of course, the two of them work it out through hot sex, because, really, Tim and Dick were made for PWP. Word nerd bonus: Tim has special words he hates! That is just so perfectly, lovably Tim, and it makes me feel such a bond of sympathy with him that I'm actually sort of scared, because identification with a member of the Batclan is one of the seven warning signs of insanity. (They don't tell you this, but most psychologists have dumped the DSM, with all its revisions and finicky, ever-changing criteria, in favor of the simpler and more accurate Superheroic and Mutant Diagnostic Manual. Clinicians love it, and patients feel much more comfortable when their mental disorders are expressed in terms of Marvel v. D.C. v. independent. Demand the SMDM today!)

Best Use of a Tattoo in Fan Fiction Ever, and I Say This as Someone Who Likes Her Fan Fiction Inky: Alignment, by Pares, aka kormantic. The Dark Is Rising, Bran Davies/Will Stanton (with implied John Rowlands/Owen Davies, unless I've completely lost my mind). I'm not sure why this story appealed to my language geek as much as it did. (Actually, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the last lines, and possibly also something to do with the fandom. I mean, the canon has the greatest imaginary book ever, so naturally this fandom would call to those of us with a literature kink.) In "Alignment," Will and Bran meet again, years after the events of Silver on the Tree, and they get together. Because, clearly, they were destined for each other. I will hear no argument on this point. Pares's view of Will and Bran is a little unusual, but in a good way. And then there's the tattoo, which is total genius; I need Bran to have this tattoo, and that's all there is to it. And did I mention the last lines? I see I did. But I'm mentioning them again, because, wow, that's just...so...I mean...they're just...let me start over. The last few lines, especially the last things Will and Bran say to each other, please my inner language geek to the point where she's dazed and incoherent. (Well, obviously.) Yeah, I could do with a lot more FF like this.
Zsa Zsa Teabing: C.S.I/lavellebellela_sonnambula on August 3rd, 2004 11:43 pm (UTC)
Slashy Nominations 69


Okay, now that you've put your stamp of approval on Eats, Shoots and Leaves, I must get myself a copy.
tried to eat the safe banana: universal fandom blue/MMWDthefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 09:03 am (UTC)
Slashy Nominations 69


I know. I seriously considered doing a 69-themed post, but in the end, I realized I couldn't be a slave to mere numbers. Plus I couldn't find enough really quality 69 fics. Dammit.

Okay, now that you've put your stamp of approval on Eats, Shoots and Leaves, I must get myself a copy.

Yes, you must. You really must. I have to limit the amount of time I spend reading because I tend to giggle and nod and mutter under my breath and bounce, and this, I have been told, is extremely annoying to do while someone else is trying to sleep. But that matters not, for it is a great book, by turns funny and horrifying and always deeply, deeply reassuring. (You aren't the only person who has refused to see a movie based solely on the grammar or punctuation errors in its title, the author seems to be saying. You aren't the only one who has written vicious letters to the editor about on a misplaced apostrophe, complete with brief narrative about how you nearly died when you first saw it and how after that you only wanted to. This is a great book, I tell you.)
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(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 5th, 2004 03:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
A Certain Ms Uneslemslempike on August 4th, 2004 02:20 am (UTC)
The DS one was lovely - short, sweet and memorable. I lvoed the thought of saying his name to make him his.
tried to eat the safe banana: hand clasp touch/runpunkrun basethefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 09:04 am (UTC)
It is indeed lovely. I love the way Ray uses "Ben," and I also love the use of dictionaries throughout. Ray bought a dictionary so he could understand Ben when he's upset! I get all wibbly and swoopy when I read this story, I really do.
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tried to eat the safe banana: wombat crossing/MMWDthefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 09:11 am (UTC)
Heh, I just bought that book myself and wrote a SN story based on the title!

You DID? Direct me to this story immediately!

ineke on August 4th, 2004 05:43 am (UTC)
kormantic is fantastic with DiR, isn't she? I read it with joyful heart and was about to leave a glowing comment... only to realise that I already had commented. At, er, length. So, I'm glad you recced it -- hard to believe I'd have forgotten one as good as this, but it's true.

Re Eats, Shoots & Leaves: I've been sceptical of reading it for fear of pedantry, to be honest. I mean, I'm a big believer in the correct use of apostrophes, don't get me wrong! But... there's something unlikeable about a book that's just an extended rant. A mien of smugness, of intellectual superiority. Like those "10 rules every fanfiction writer should know" lists, which always get my back up.

But perhaps I'm being unduly prejudiced. I should give it a try; should have it hammered into me about my incorrect use of semi-colons *g*.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 09:19 am (UTC)
You definitely should give Eats, Shoots & Leaves a try; it isn't an extended rant, and while I don't believe for a moment that pedants have anything to be ashamed of (I support Pedant Pride!), it isn't all pedantic, either. Each chapter tells you:
a) where a given punctuation mark came from
b) how the mark and its usage evolved
c) what the current rules are for using said mark correctly
d) how the mark is incorrectly used, including many examples that will, guaranteed, make you laugh, shriek, and weep, and
e) some humor related to the punctuation mark

I actually avoided this book for a long time because I thought it was just another rulebook, and I don't need another rulebook, particularly not one that only covers British English. But it is so, so much more than that. And it isn't just about punctuation; it's a call to arms, a plan for a worldwide revolution, a woman standing up and shouting that she isn't gonna take it anymore.

As for smugness: the author tells tales of her own punctuation woes, making the point that anyone can be a stickler, and also making the point that we all make mistakes. There isn't a lot of smugness in there. That I've noticed, anyway.

Read it. I think you'll enjoy it more than you expect, and you'll find more common ground than you'd feared. (Or hoped.)

Um. Proselytizing ends.

As for DIR - yes, back to that - I'm so proud that the fandom has grown to the point that there can be fics we forget or fics we haven't heard about. We'll be a medium-sized fandom yet!
BUT HARRY STYLES: ben open shirtestrella30 on August 4th, 2004 05:46 am (UTC)
ooo. Wonderful pics here. Prolix was one of my very first DS fics and I have such a soft spot for it. (Plus - Dira rocks like a rocking thing, yo)

Thank you for the reminder of it!
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine blue horizon/MMWDthefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 09:22 am (UTC)
Totally. Dira rocks like granite! During an earthquake! She's just that good. (And if she could stop killing off puppies and people in her stories, she'd be even better. But, hey, she makes me read deathfic - not the puppy deathfic, just the person ones - and love it, so more power to her.)

So. Progress on the Sports Night? I haven't had a chance to check my flist recently, so for all I know you could be posting up a storm about it, but I still feel obliged to remind you that I am waiting as patiently as I can for your first Danny/Casey, and it turns out that that is not all that patiently. Feel the SN love! And then write about it!
(no subject) - fanofall on August 4th, 2004 08:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine menorah/MMWDthefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 01:35 pm (UTC)
That's my ultimate purpose in life: being sure everyone, at all times, has satisfying reading material. I'm a written word pimp! Or something like that.
switchknife on August 4th, 2004 06:24 am (UTC)
Honey, way back--waaaaay back, before I temporarily left LJ--I think you sent me an e-mail about doing a Potter post? Am I remembering correctly?

Well, I'm still sorting through the (what looks like) 500+ e-mails that gathered in my inbox while I was gone, so I can't find it again--if I'm being weird and talking about something that you didn't send me, then, er, never mind. *cough*

But if you did send me that e-mail, here is my answer:


*hugs tightly*
tried to eat the safe banana: hand clasp touch/runpunkrun basethefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 01:38 pm (UTC)
Yay! You're back!

And, yes, I did in fact send you said email. So email me when you've, um, coped with your backlog (or when you can no longer cope with the idea of coping with, or indeed facing, said backlog) and I will tell you the whole story.


I'm glad you have returned. LJ was not the same without you (and HP *definitely* wasn't the same).
(no subject) - switchknife on August 6th, 2004 12:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Black Kitten: Nobility - Sacrifice - Chocolate: pirate!laylah on August 4th, 2004 07:21 am (UTC)
Bonus, pirate-flavored language recs: viva_gloria has written some fabulous fic that's as much about the sensual thrill of the language as about the sensual thrill of smut; check out her PotC page for the whole "Breathless" series, which are 1200-word, single-sentence stories that work *beautifully,* exuberant and brilliant.

Also, try The World Turned Upside Down, Sparrington fic in which James feels like he's not speaking the same language as anyone around him, and he can't find the words to explain himself:

"If a man has no word for something, how can he think of it?" asked Mr White, and without waiting for the Commodore's answer he span off into a diatribe about the inferiority of the French, as demonstrated in their spoken and written language.

Norrington listened, sipping champagne and nodding as though he agreed. He wondered what Mr White would say, were he to ask about a new language that nobody spoke, or if he talked of the void that had opened between him and the rest of the world. The schoolteacher would probably be appalled at Norrington's breach of manners.
tried to eat the safe banana: universal fandom blue/MMWDthefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 01:41 pm (UTC)
Oooo, yes. Gloria's grammar BDSM fics are a joy and a constant wonder, and I would indeed have rec'd them here if I hadn't already pretty much recommended them into the ground. But you are so right about "The World Turned Upside Down," and thank you for pointing it out. I can't think how I missed it.

(And now I know of two fics called "The World Turned Upside Down." Is there a reference that I'm missing in there?)
Raven: Bats & Nightwing by Teraveninthewind on August 4th, 2004 08:16 am (UTC)
identification with a member of the Batclan is one of the seven warning signs of insanity



Great recs. You are so right about the DS writers appreciating the subtleties of language remarkably frequently. That story is one of my favorites, even if "Scrabble" came to mind as the ultimate DS language fic.
tried to eat the safe banana: blue girl/runpunkrunthefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 01:44 pm (UTC)
"Scrabble" is an amazing dS fic and definitely one of the many great language-related stories in the fandom. It is lurking in my recs-to-be list, though, and it fills out a special category. It is taken, and I must resist all temptation to use it until I do that category, 'cause I don't think I'll be able to find a story to replace it there.

And that is almost assuredly way more than you wanted to know about my noms-assembling process.
erjika: Santa Cruz/Feulnererjika on August 4th, 2004 10:45 am (UTC)
Hi, I'm a not-so-closeted language slut, so THANK YOU for posting these recs. *in a happy place*
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 06:21 pm (UTC)
Yay! Rejoice in your uncloseted, open, proud language sluttishness. We are the last bastions of decency in this society, and fine company, too.

We need an icon, actually: proud to be a word slut. Increase our visibility! Show everyone we aren't ashamed!

Um. May be over-doing this a trifle. But you take my point.
(no subject) - fanofall on August 4th, 2004 08:27 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 09:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - fanofall on August 6th, 2004 10:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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Anna S.eliade on August 4th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reccing "Alignment." I'm working my way through a re-read of the series & am just about ready to start Silver on the Tree, and knew I'd want to read some fan-fiction afterwards, so this is good timing and a good prod to my memory. :>)
tried to eat the safe banana: what big eyes I have - wanderlustloverthefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 06:24 pm (UTC)
Allow me to confess my secret shame: I have never read Silver on the Tree. I can't, I tell you - I can't admit that the series ends. Plus, C. S. Lewis scarred me for life with The Last Battle; thanks to him, I have panic attacks when I try to read the last book in any series.

There are several other DIR fics that you MUST read once you've (gasp!) finished the series; I've rec'd most of them, but if you want a convenient list, let me know. (And, you know, now would be a good time to write DIR fic, what with the series all fresh in your mind and everything...)
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on August 4th, 2004 08:17 pm (UTC)
You know I love all your recs, and so commenting on them would just be a parade of FEELTHELOVE. And who needs that? ;-D

I AM going to tell you, however, because I know you will appreciate it, that I saw a commercial for The Manchurian Candidate this evening where either the reviewer or the advertising agency had misspelled "exhilarating." To wit: "This movie is exhilerating.--Random reviewer, Random news agency".

tried to eat the safe banana: burning - wanderlustloverthefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 09:36 pm (UTC)
Burning. I am burrrrrrniiiiiing with rage, and I intend to take it out in an unfair and unbalanced way on the movie itself, because, fuck, can't they hire someone who can fucking PROOFREAD? Apparently not. Which I take to mean that they can't make a decent movie, either.

...commenting on them would just be a parade of FEELTHELOVE. And who needs that?

You tell me horror stories about the decline of literacy in our society and you ask who needs to feel the love? I do. I so, so do, because, really, that's the only thing that's keeping me from testing that whole handgun waiting period thing.

(Yes, this has been an unabashed and pathetic whine for more praise. I'm not proud.)
(no subject) - fanofall on August 4th, 2004 09:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 11:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 5th, 2004 03:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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Ardent: Fraser Brownardent_muses on August 4th, 2004 09:44 pm (UTC)
Pares aka Kormantic is one of my favorite writers. :)

Another really good tattoo story that you may not have seen is "Indelible" by CL Finn. Your rec brought it to mind, and now I have to go re-read it even though it's late. Darn you! *G*

Just in case:
tried to eat the safe banana: batvine grows on you - MMWDthefourthvine on August 4th, 2004 10:44 pm (UTC)
I have indeed read "Indelible," and I love it. Because it is good. And tattoo-filled. Now I will have to re-read it, too.

There should be more tattoo fic. Yes, there should.

And Pares is indeed wonderful.
Bastet: women without moralssweetvalleyslut on August 15th, 2004 02:02 pm (UTC)
Hey, Bastet here, this is my LJ :) Thanks so much for reccing me, especially alongside "Prolix," which I love beyond all measure.
tried to eat the safe bananathefourthvine on August 15th, 2004 07:45 pm (UTC)
Hi there. Love your LJ name - would that I had gone for something that memorable, or even just not as punnish as what I did pick. I've changed the entry so that other people can admire your name-selecting talent, too.