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22 August 2004 @ 08:55 pm
Slashy Nominations 80: Is It of General Interest?  
I'm not exactly sure why gen is called gen. I mean, yes, I know it's short for "general," which I assume is, in turn, short for "general interest," because as we all know good stories are interesting to everyone, whereas smut is only interesting to a few dissolute perverts. It's just, you know, strange that, given that gen is of such general interest, so many writers seem to be writing exclusively for the perverts.

Or maybe it isn't so strange. Because, yes, it's tough to write sex, or at least tough to do so in a way that prevents your readers from falling to the floor either laughing (the strong and the brave) or out cold (weaker people such as myself), but it's even harder to write a story without sex in it. Without the smut, you've only got character, plot, dialog, and narrative to entertain your readers. And those are, you know, fairly challenging.

In other words, today I'm saluting those writers who managed to make me love a story without any shiny, happy smut. Be impressed with them. I am.

Best FF That Grabbed Me, Threw Me Against a Wall, and Bent Me to Its Nefarious Will. And Has Me Begging for More. Scars, Luck, and Slush, by katallison. Due South. I'm not sure these are intended to be a series, but to me they are and always will be; I think of it as the "Ray Vecchio Doesn't Live Here Anymore" series, but I'm sure that's just me. Series or not, they're thematically related and progressive. Plus I can't read one without reading all three and wishing desperately for the other ones, the stories I sort of sense around the edges of these three, which Kat should clearly buckle down and write immediately, even if I'm the only one that thinks those non-existent stories are there. These delusions of series-hood and additional stories to come pretty much forced me to rec these together. And even if you don't like Vecchio or you don't like gen or you don't read dS, you should read them. See, I got into this fandom via happy Kowalski/Fraser smut. (And, believe me, I have no complaints about that.) So to me, Vecchio was just this Italian guy that left, but still occasionally served as a FF plot point, especially in the angstier stories. In other words, he was a placeholder for Kowalski. These stories changed that, and they did that, oddly enough, by destroying the Real Ray Vecchio. Because in these, Vecchio's gone. And he's never coming back. Instead, there's this amalgam, this Raymondo Vangoustini person, who fits nowhere and is no one person. This quasi-series is fantastic fiction, fan or otherwise - perfect, biting, real.

Best FF That Fulfills the Craving for a Lost TV Series. And Yet Somehow Also Makes That Craving So, So Much Worse. Those Stories Plus, by Luna, aka tangleofthorns, and Jess, aka circusgirl**. Sports Night. My secret goal with this recs set is to give you all fiction-induced whiplash. And here's my first sudden sharp switch. Because this story is perfect, and yet perfect in a totally different way than the last rec. This story essentially is Sports Night. Seriously, the episodes are just like this, only with added amusing facial expressions and body language. And if you've watched a few episodes, you'll be able to supply those yourself when you read this. (Mandatory Pimping Note: so if you like this story, you should definitely see the show.) This is another story you can and should read even if you know nothing of the fandom or the canon; the joy of it is in the dialog, the banter, the relationships, and I think that all comes through even if you've never met the characters before. (Second Mandatory Pimping Note*: but, really, you should meet these characters. For one thing, I'm not going to stop recommending SN stories until you do.)

Best FF That Is Never Going to Function as a Recruiting Point for the Police Force. Daddy's Girl, by Shannon, and does anyone have a link for her? Homicide: Life on the Streets. (Warning: this contains disturbing content. A lot of it.) And it's another sharp, sharp turn into this story, which you should read despite the vague formatting problems, because this is the Questing Beast of FF: a rich, plotty, in-character piece of gen. I'd say it's a mystery, and it sort of is - there's dead bodies, there's detectives, there's evidence and clues and so on - but it also sort of isn't. It's fairly obvious from the start what happened in both cases, neither of which are genteel, body-in-the-library type mysteries. What isn't obvious is how the detectives are going to go from knowing what happened to being able to convince a jury of it. I don't know how well this story mimics the style of the show, but I do know that it mimics the way real-life murder cases go. There's recalcitrant witnesses, mistakes, mess, danger, and a lot of shouting. And, as in real life, the good guys can't make anything better, and they don't always win. This is yet another one that you can and should read whether you know the show or not. It's also a perfect explanation of why I prefer gen in this fandom; you couldn't add sex to this story. You just couldn't. It'd be sacrilege.

Best FF That Proves That Parents Who Think They Can Control Their Children Are Delusional. And That's True Even When That Child Hasn't Successfully Led a Double Life for Years and Doesn't Know More About Psychological Operations Than the Entire U.S. Military. Visit, by jamjar. Teen Titans. I'm putting this story last 'cause I want you to read it last; I like happy endings so much I want them even in this LJ. And if the foregoing grit got to you, well, this should cheer you right up, because it is basically the living definition of a woobie story - it's got comfort without hurt, hugs without kisses, and lots of fattening foods. So why I am recommending it? Well, OK, yes, it's partly because of my sad obsession with post-Robin Tim Drake, which I am now prepared to admit to in public. (Yes, a 12-step meeting is what comes next, except that I don't think there is a Tim Anonymous, and even if there is, I'm happy with my addiction, and I will fight to the death anyone who tries to take it from me.) But I'm mostly recommending this story because it makes a point I think some of the post-Robin fic is missing, namely that Jack Drake is in way over his head. Seriously. On the one hand, we have a father so clueless that he didn't notice the injuries, the personality changes, or even that his son no longer really lived in his house. On the other, we have Tim, who can fight crime and manipulate psychotic villains and heroes alike, and who is so analytical and intelligent that he makes Oracle look like she has ADHD. He used to have all the bad guys in the world as a focus for that brain and those skills. Now it's all going to be directed at his father. Who is going to cave like a house of cards and is never even going to know it. Good luck, Jack, and goodbye. It wasn't so nice knowing you, but I'm sure you'll be a much better person after your son is done with you.


* And now this post meets the Procurator General's recommended daily allowance of pimping! Never say this LJ does not enhance the mental health and well-being of its readers.

** Thanks, tangleofthorns!
luna: issuestangleofthorns on August 22nd, 2004 09:32 pm (UTC)
Jess is circusgirl.

C'est tout.
tried to eat the safe banana: universal fandom blue - MMWDthefourthvine on August 22nd, 2004 10:11 pm (UTC)
de rien
Thanks for the info! I've updated the post.
Breeamal: Dance!breeamal on August 22nd, 2004 09:59 pm (UTC)
You know, I have no familiarity with Teen Titans or Nightwing and you have made both of them my new fan fic faves. It's terrible, I find myself browsing Amazon for Cannon I can't afford. . . And it's All Your Fault:)

Must go read more Tim/Dick smut. Must feed addiction.
tried to eat the safe banana: batvine grows on you - MMWDthefourthvine on August 22nd, 2004 10:18 pm (UTC)
My evil plot continues to work! Soon all will share my addictions! And fandom will rule the world!

Um. Or maybe I shouldn't have said that last part. Ignore that, foolish mortal.

I know what you mean about the addiction. The awful thing is, even I'm growing increasingly tempted by DCU canon, and I've always more or less believed canon is for wimps. This is why we must all fear DCU, for it is the Evil Tempting Canon of the Damned.

My advice to you, as one sufferer to another, is twofold. First, do not blame me. Blame thete1, who is responsible for getting me into this fandom. Were it not for Te, I'd only be recommending Marvel stuff, and most of that is just based on the X-Men movies. Second, if you're not already reading it, get thee to scans_daily at once. In the long run, of course, this will only make your addiction worse, but at least it will provide you with your daily dose of amusing, pretty, or slashy comic book panels in the meantime.

So. Not the most helpful response in the world, but I'm afraid there is no cure for DC addicts. Even heroin addicts pity us.
Innocent Bystanderfiresprite1105 on August 22nd, 2004 10:01 pm (UTC)
Huh. I always thought that "gen" was short for "genre," and that "genre" was just another word for "canon."
tried to eat the safe banana: Love reading - wanderlustloverthefourthvine on August 22nd, 2004 10:27 pm (UTC)
Well, definitions for gen are all over the board. I've seen one site define it as either a synonym for het or a story about a canon romantic relationship. Another site defines gen as "general themes fan fiction, which doesn't fall into a specific category above, such as slash or AU." Then there's this site, which defines it as "suitable for a GENeral audience" and "not slash or adult."

I could go on forever. The one thing the many fannish dictionary or primer sites seem to agree upon is that "gen" is short for "general." Beyond that, chaos. Which is not a huge surprise. I mean, this is fandom; chaos is our method.
(Anonymous) on August 22nd, 2004 10:30 pm (UTC)
I always heard it Gen for General Audience. From the old movie ratings systems.

just a passing lurker.
peeps wanna see peeps boink: smugmusesfool on August 23rd, 2004 02:21 pm (UTC)

That was my understanding at first, though I've seen all the other definitions. The one most in use nowadays is that it is non-romantic and case-filish.
Iphiginia Saberhagen: SportsNightfanofall on August 22nd, 2004 11:59 pm (UTC)
Bhagwan SportsNight Speaks...
...And it is very pleased with you. :-D Look at you all pimpin' out!

Have I mentioned lately that I read (almost) all your recs, and that I love them very much? Because I do, and I do.
jamjarjamjar on August 23rd, 2004 02:46 am (UTC)
I've always understood Gen to mean a story where romantic or or sexual components are not the focus. A Gen story can have sexual elemants, can contain m/m of f/f or m/f relationships, but those relationships are not the motivation for the story.

Slash and het fic are *about* slash and het relationships- they're the reason for the story. In Gen, they may exist, but they're not the why.
Kat Allisonkatallison on August 23rd, 2004 05:03 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I am all pink and beaming with delight. And you're very perceptive -- there is in fact a larger story I'm trying to get started on that these are outtakes from, or something.

(One additional piece that's kind of related to these is Baggage</i>, which I did for ds_flashfiction a while back. I haven't got it up on my website yet because I am still intending someday to redesign and update my website, in that mythical misty future era when I have free time.)

Thanks again!
Kat Allisonkatallison on August 23rd, 2004 05:06 am (UTC)
Ah, crap, apologies for the unclosed tag in the above.
Iphiginia Saberhagen: SportsNightfanofall on August 30th, 2004 11:02 pm (UTC)
Are you unwell? Have you fallen into a great hole? Has Angel sucked you in? I'm quite concerned...
tried to eat the safe banana: thefourthvine blue horizon - MMWDthefourthvine on August 31st, 2004 12:36 am (UTC)
The curse has come upon me. By which I mean that over the past week, the following things have broken:

1. Air conditioner
2. Washing machine
3. Garage door and light
4. Sink
5. Shower

And the toilet appears to be breaking as I type this, and tomorrow we'll be leaving our house for a week so that people can rip up some of our floors. But 1 is the reason I've not been posting; it's hard to spend much time in front of the computer when it's so damn hot in here. I've been trying to go places with functional air conditioning.

I'm a victim of entropy.

And I won't bring up the medical side of the saga.
Iphiginia Saberhagenfanofall on August 31st, 2004 06:34 am (UTC)
PHEW! Okay. You're not lying at the bottom of a ditch somewhere waiting for someone to notice you're not there. That's a relief.

That sucks about the air conditioner; I don't know how people survived before its invention, and it's not a state to which I care to return, so I am totally feeling for you right now.

The rest of it kinda blows monkey chunks, too. :-)

Okay. Write when you get time, or the air conditioner gets fixed, or, you know, when we enter the next Ice Age... :-D
fictionbya: Oz - Miguel Alvarez (crystal_lily)fictionbya on September 20th, 2004 09:34 pm (UTC)

Oooh, great to see Shannon recced. Her stories are the ones that got me sucked into Homicide. I started off reading her Equalizer/X-Files/Homicide fics even though I had never seen Homicide before. After that, I *had* to see the show.

I'm so bummed that several of her fics of been "temporarily unavailable" at 11 cents for years now. "Deja Vu" was a particular favorite. Sigh.