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06 October 2004 @ 05:45 pm
Slashy Nominations 86: All the World Is Gen. Except When It's Not.  
I'm finding it increasingly hard to assemble gen sets. I'm sure, back in the days when Kirk/Spock and slash meant roughly the same thing, it was fairly easy to know if you were reading (or writing) slash. If there was the vaguest overtone of male homosexuality, there you go - slash.

It's a little tougher these days. We've got gay-in-canon characters and gay canons and gay pants all over the place. What do I call a story that makes a reference to Angel's past relationship with Spike? What do I call a story involving any of the Ultimate universes (apparent editorial slogan: "Stan Lee is dead. Bring on the gay!")? What am I supposed to call Beecher/Keller stories? No one is happier than I am that people are finally trying to put homosexuality where it belongs, squarely in the canon, but it makes it tough to classify stories.

So, for the record, let me explain what I am going to mean by these terms in the future.

Gen: If the focus is not on a sexual or romantic relationship and you get roughly the same types, kinds, and levels of sex and romance as you get in the canon, I'll call it gen. That means a gen story could well contain hints of possible slash (see, for example, "Four Ways of Coming out of the Cold," below) or het, but it won't contain elaborate descriptions of anyone's cock, and licking will be kept to a minimum.

Slash: If the focus is on a m/m sexual or romantic relationship or if the story contains significantly more male homosexuality, explicit or otherwise, than you'd get in the canon, I'll call it slash. That means an Oz story that just mentions Beecher and Keller as lovers won't be slash, but a Harry Potter story that just mentions Draco and Snape as lovers will be, at least until JKR goes fangirl on us.

Femslash: If the focus is on a f/f sexual or romantic relationship or if the story contains significantly more female homosexuality, explicit or otherwise, than you'd get in the canon, I'll call it femslash. And I'm making a distinction between m/m and f/f because femslash is woefully under-represented in fandom, so people who are searching for it should be helped when possible.

Het: If the focus is on a m/f sexual or romantic relationship or if the story contains significantly more straight sexuality, explicit or otherwise, than you'd get in the canon, I'll call it het. Also, if a story refers to a relationship that is m/f but not canon, or even close to canon, I'll try to call it het. (So Buffy/Angel could be discussed in BtVS gen in my world, but Buffy/Giles couldn't, not even non-explicitly.)

If you can think of a better or more helpful way of using these terms, I'd love to hear about it. In the meantime: on to the recs.



Best FF That Proves That a Really Good FF Writer Can Make Me Interested in Any Character, No Matter How Repellent or Dull That Person Is in the Canon. Damn It. Four Ways of Coming out of the Cold, by penknife. X-Men. Storm has, in my opinion, not been well served by either the movies or the comic books; it's like no one knows what to do with her or how to make her entirely three-dimensional. Ironic, really, when you consider that a main theme of the whole universe is that mutants are people, too. Penknife does an excellent job of giving Storm some actual humanity, and I'm trying not to resent it. (I like disliking some characters, OK? Soon I'm going to like every damn character in the world. And then, if trends continue, the canon writers will feel obliged kill everyone off.) So, anyway, here we have four ways Storm's first encounter with Xavier could have happened. If Storm makes you gag, you should read this anyway, because it's also about Xavier, about who he is and who he could be. This story is an example of what I meant about tough-to-classify fic, because there's a hint of Xavier/Magneto in one of these vignettes, but, frankly, there was a hint of that in the canon, too. If it bothers you - assuming there are people left who still have problems with non-explicit m/m relationships - just remember their history of friendship and betrayal and hope and betrayal (and oh my god I never thought of the similarities between Xavier/Magneto and Beecher/Keller before, and I never want to again) and let it go at that.

Best FF That Makes Me Want to Dig up C.S. Lewis, a Man I Have Always Admired, So That I Can Punch Him in the Mouth. Although by This Time I'd Really Just Be Punching Him in the Mandible, Which Frankly Would Not Be Sufficient. The Queen in Exile, by LindaMarie, aka lm. The Chronicles of Narnia. This is one of those I-can't-warn-you-but-I-need-to situations, so let me say that "The Queen in Exile" is absolutely brutal, and it is not for people who are taking psychoactive medications, seeing visions, or having a bad day. But it is so worth reading, and so totally, totally right. Before I encountered Narnia fan fiction, my feelings about Lucy were just vaguely uncomfortable, but some great authors have showed me the light. Or, in this case, the darkness. Because how hard did you search for Narnia when you were little, when you half believed that you only had to open the right door to find a world that was made for bookish little kids like you? So how much harder would you look if you were Lucy, if you'd been there, grown up there, loved there, lived your life there, and then lost it? No, that's not quite right. Had it taken away from you by someone you worshiped and served and never once let down.

Best FF That Heals the Wounds Left by Painful Canon Without in Any Way Being Canon Repair. TV Camp, by shrift. Sports Night. What, you thought I could only rec SN slash? Well, you are so wrong, because this is gen, my friends. It is even cheerful gen. (I do have a lethally wonderful gen story for this fandom, too, but I didn't think I could handle re-reading it right after "The Queen in Exile." There's a limit to my ability to handle even the very best killing blow type stories.) This story makes me increasingly happy as I tentatively poke at the second season of Sports Night, because in that season Danny goes out on a ledge and over the edge. He's unstable in a way he just wasn't in the first season, in ways that weren't even suggested then; I think it's 'cause Sorkin needed to express his own instability, and he sure wasn't going to use Casey as a self-insertion. (But let's not get into that, or I'll be here all day.) This story lets me remember my favorite kind of Danny: the guy who listens and remembers and is just irresistibly charming, even to the self-absorbed, the neurotic, and the deliberately abrasive. As in, for example, Sam Donovan, who I also love because he is so damn competent. (The man could rule the world if he wanted to; really, the network types should count their blessings that all he wants to do is improve ratings, because if he wanted to eat their hearts, he would.) Here Sam, the world-conqueror, succumbs to Danny's water-on-stone method of making friends, and it is just really wonderful. I love it.

Best FF That Reminds Us That You Can Overcome Your History, Yes, but It's Far More Likely That You Won't. A Small Truce, by Marina Frants, aka marinarusalka. Harry Potter. I honestly cannot believe I didn't rec this story long, long ago; it's been in my database forever, and I truly love it, and I thought I'd recommended it, but it isn't marked, so - here. Go read this. Why? Well, first, because it starts like a typical slash story and then goes in an unexpected direction - a direction that is far more in keeping with the canon than it would have been had it been slash. (Which isn't to say I don't love that kind of slash, because I totally do; you know that. It's just that JKR has never let either Sirius or Snape overcome the past or let go of hatred, so continuing to fail to do it is highly in character for them.) I think of this story as Harry Potter for grown-ups, Harry Potter the way JKR might make it if she was writing for an adult audience. Which we all are. Or had better be, because the next set is, believe you me, taking us right back to smutland.
 
 
 
solar powered anticipation machine: book babymoireach on October 6th, 2004 07:06 pm (UTC)
Oh man, oh man, I've read The Queen in Exile about a trillion times and it never ever gets any less *amazing* and, yeah, completely brutal. Fangirl like whoa.
tried to eat the safe banana: batman - wanderlustloverthefourthvine on October 7th, 2004 06:44 am (UTC)
Oh, god, I know. I've been waiting to rec it for a while, because it is just so - unsparingly, unrelentingly cruel. And yet so, so good. I'm all in awe of the author.
I have tactile telecuntnesis.: peter/logan-shower by annelinezeelee_penguin on October 6th, 2004 07:18 pm (UTC)
What do I call a story involving any of the Ultimate universes (apparent editorial slogan: "Stan Lee is dead. Bring on the gay!")?

It's funny 'cause it's *true.*

Thanks for the Narnia rec. I'm trying to get up the courage to read it, because man, the canon hurt me badly enough just by being *itself.*
tried to eat the safe banana: Wolverine claws - wanderlustloverthefourthvine on October 7th, 2004 06:47 am (UTC)
Let me know if you get up the courage to read "Queen." I'm not going to try to influence you one way or the other, at least, not beyond recommending it, because it really is painful. But good. But ouchy! But so damn good.

If you do read it, though, I'd love to know what you thought. (It's short. Does that help?)

And, yeah, Lewis deserves the "Warper of Children" award for the Narnia series. I see now that the man had issues.
I have tactile telecuntnesis.: Mmm Helena (by te)zeelee_penguin on October 7th, 2004 11:11 am (UTC)
I did read it.

Wah. I. Oh, man. I'm just going to sit over here and sniffle for a bit.

I agree with Philip Pullman when it comes to C.S. Lewis: the man was so terrified of his children characters growin up and dealing with scary adult things like OMGSEX that he KILLED THEM OFF instead. The only one that grew up, Susan, didn't get into Heaven. Bah.
Sienamystic: de chiricosienamystic on October 7th, 2004 06:58 pm (UTC)
Ouch. Well, that was bleak, and powerful. But I seem to be one of the only non-Lewis haters around here - he didn't particularly traumatize me, and I loved the books. I never thought that Susan didn't get to Heaven because she became an adult, but because she started placing frivolous things like lipstick and nylons above being a good person. I got the sense from the books that she was constantly patting Lucy on the head, and saying "Dear little girl, I can't believe you think all that silly Narnia stuff was *real*," and using really dripping, sarcastic tones. I don't think Lewis realized quite how painful being sent back into childhood after being a Queen would be. Plus, I love his theological writing. Most of all, I think I still sort of resent Susan Cooper's "and then they all forgot about the magic" a little more than anything Lewis did (perhaps because the Dark is Rising books mean more to me).
And The Clocks Were Striking Thirteen: Freaked_redpanda_ on October 6th, 2004 07:41 pm (UTC)
"The Queen In Exile" just destroyed me. Urk.
tried to eat the safe banana: blue girl - runpunkrunthefourthvine on October 7th, 2004 06:48 am (UTC)
*holds _redpanda_*

I'm thinking forming a "Queen in Exile Survivors" support group, actually. Wanna join?
And The Clocks Were Striking Thirteen: Freaked_redpanda_ on October 7th, 2004 09:53 am (UTC)
I'm in. If I can stop wibbling long enough to attend the first meeting.

My Narniafic is happy! My Narniafic is happy! My Narniafic is happy! Will resist urge to write wrenchinglysadNarniafic!!! *clings to it desperately*
Zebrazebra363 on October 6th, 2004 11:07 pm (UTC)
as I tentatively poke at the second season of Sports Night

Come on, be brave! With the angst comes some of the best Dan/Casey moments.
tried to eat the safe banana: blue girl - runpunkrunthefourthvine on October 7th, 2004 06:50 am (UTC)
But, but, but - angst! I'm not good with angst!

Especially when it comes to Danny and Casey, who, in my world, are happy together for all eternity and no one can tell me otherwise. I cleave unto this belief, and none shall rend me from it. Not even Sorkin himself, dammit.

(Although wine and spackle? Best. Gift. Ever. Right there, I felt love for Danny welling up inside.)
Zebrazebra363 on October 7th, 2004 07:13 am (UTC)
I'm not good with angst!

Says the person who just recced The Queen in Exile! Which I enjoyed very much, by the way.
tried to eat the safe banana: blue girl - runpunkrunthefourthvine on October 7th, 2004 07:51 am (UTC)
"The Queen in Exile" goes well beyond angst, I think. And it's not like I handled that well, either; my dog is probably still wondering why she got squeezed so hard when I first read it.

But at least "Queen" didn't feature bad things happening to Danny and Casey, my Happy Pairing. (You know, the pairing you read when you've just read some gut-wrenching, agonizing story - like, for example, "The Queen in Exile." The pairing that makes it all better.) The very concept of angsty sadness with Danny and Casey causes my brain to lock up in terror. Hence the wary approach to season two. (But, when I finish season two? I am so doing a FIHL for SN.)
Mandy: hurt prettehgeneticallydead on October 6th, 2004 11:26 pm (UTC)
(and oh my god I never thought of the similarities between Xavier/Magneto and Beecher/Keller before, and I never want to again)

bwhahahaha.

now I'm scared. thanks for the rec:)
tried to eat the safe banana: Lady Shiva says: ENOUGH - wanderlustlovethefourthvine on October 7th, 2004 06:53 am (UTC)
No, no, no! Now that you've quoted that line back to me and I've read it out of context, my brain is shrieking, "Crossover, crossover!" And it's not like anyone is ever going to write that.

Hell, it's not like anyone should write that. And yet now I want to read it.

Dammit. This is my fault, actually, but can I blame you anyway? Having an unsatisfiable bunny is bad enough without knowing it's your own damn fault.
mary margrave: i want to touch! [innerpoise]danibennett on October 7th, 2004 12:34 am (UTC)
just remember their history of friendship and betrayal and hope and betrayal (and oh my god I never thought of the similarities between Xavier/Magneto and Beecher/Keller before, and I never want to again)

*laughs and laughs*

Were Beecher and Keller ever really what could be considered friends, though?
tried to eat the safe banana: Tattoo - wanderlustloverthefourthvine on October 7th, 2004 06:56 am (UTC)
Well, I'd say they were, or at least Beecher thought they were, in the very early stages of Operation Toby. (I'm willing and eager to be corrected by someone who has seen the canon, though.) And since, in my mind, Magneto and Xavier's "friendship" included love and lots of sex, I see the similarities.

I don't want to see the similarities, though. Yeeek.
mary margrave: that's the next best thing [irishikesh]danibennett on October 7th, 2004 10:52 am (UTC)
Well, I'd say they were, or at least Beecher thought they were, in the very early stages of Operation Toby.

Aw, that's sort of cute. In a tragic, violent-learning-curve-ahead sort of way.

I sort of see the similarities as well, but then, I'm more interested in getting you to think about them, because I have the feeling you'll come up with an in-depth theory or two. Everyone loves overanalysing ships! Think about it more, you know you want to. Misunderstandings, hurt feelings, pride. Magneto's a snarky bitch, Beecher can be a snarky bitch...
A Certain Ms Uneslemslempike on October 7th, 2004 01:26 am (UTC)
I thought "ooh, yay, safe stories to read at work", and suddenly I'm sitting at my desk trying to cry surreptitiously, which is rather difficult. Queen in Exile is a beautiful, horrible, story.
tried to eat the safe banana: blue girl - runpunkrunthefourthvine on October 7th, 2004 06:58 am (UTC)
*pat pat pat*

I know, I know. As I said to _redpanda_, I'm forming a "Queen in Exile Survivors" support group. We'll hug and stuff; it'll be really scary. Want to join?
A Certain Ms Uneslemslempike on October 7th, 2004 07:01 am (UTC)
Yes, anything to stop the screaming...

I think the only other story I've read in Narnia was similar - Lucy crying in a wardrobe. DId you rec that one too?
tried to eat the safe banana: batman - wanderlustloverthefourthvine on October 7th, 2004 07:54 am (UTC)
Might have. Well, OK, I did rec that story, but let's pretend I didn't. I don't want to be responsible for all the Narnia wretchedness you've read. It makes me sound - dysfunctional.

Of course, if I'm dysfunctional, and you still read my LJ, what does that make you? This is an issue we can really explore in depth in the support group. There will probably be sharing, too, and "I feel" statements.

Or, you know, we could just read cheering fanfic and watch funny vids. What do you say?
A Certain Ms Uneslemslempike on October 7th, 2004 02:56 pm (UTC)
I think I'm a lost, disfunctional, cause, because I don't think I'd like Narnia fic that wasn't wretched. At least an uncomfortable undercurrent, at least.

But cheerful fic and funny vids are just what I need. I watched some fo the ones you linked to today - v. cool.
I made this beat with my panflute and my keyboardjanet_carter on October 7th, 2004 06:45 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'll be needing that support group now. The Sports Night story helped, but I think I might need to watch several episodes of Sports Night to soothe things over. Ow.
tried to eat the safe banana: blue girl - runpunkrunthefourthvine on October 7th, 2004 07:27 pm (UTC)
Ow, indeed. Come join us in "QiE Survivors," where we will hug and snorfle and pass around boxes of tissues.

Just for you folks who seem especially shell-shocked by this fic, I'm going to try to make the next recs post much, much less angsty. And much, much more cheerful.

Hmmm. Next rec set could potentially also be evil. But in a happy way, I promise!

(Watch "Thespis," is my advice. And "Napoleon's Battle Plan.")
lm = panavatar: kindle my heartlm on October 24th, 2004 01:29 am (UTC)
*cries*

No, um, really, the rec and all the sweet comments have probably made my year. I'm so terribly terribly touched, and...yeah.

Oh, wait, back up--Hi there! I'm LindaMarie, and I've apparently scarred a lot of people for life. Yay!

(I found this post because I'm one of those terrible people who occasionally uses Google to see if people are talking about me. And for once, they actually were!)
tried to eat the safe banana: Big eyesthefourthvine on October 24th, 2004 04:20 am (UTC)
*hustles LindaMarie out of the comments section before bodily harm is done to her*

Whew. That was close. Hey there, and thanks for being brave enough to identify yourself - and don't worry about the slavering crowd screaming, "You made me cry at work! I'll never be able to read the Narnia books again! You killed me dead, damn you, dead!" That's how they show their love, and they'll calm down in a bit. Just - you know - you probably shouldn't have shown up on the day when "Survivors (but Just Barely) of 'The Queen in Exile'" meets. But you're still very welcome.

I'm your genial hostess, and I'm hopped up on all manner of cold medication; I'm not normally this peppy. But I love your writing, even if I do think a certain portion of it is likely responsible for the nation's growing dependence on SSRIs, and I'm happy to have your LJ name at last. One more mystery solved!

*updates post*
lm = panavatar: pan gay!lm on October 25th, 2004 02:05 am (UTC)
If it makes you feel any better, the only other Narnia story I've completed was about a dwarvish gay bar.