Why do we write meta? I'm not sure, but I know this: if we weren't picking apart our own obsessions and compulsively commenting on every aspect of fandom, we wouldn't be fans. We'd be some other mutant thing. Tiger Beat subscribers, maybe. A wry sense of humor about one's own fanaticism is an essential component of the kind of fandom practiced and worshiped in this LJ; we all have an interesting and thoughtful perspective to offer on our lack of perspective, and we all have something pithy and amusing to say about the things we take so very seriously. And these, um, word-filled thingies - they aren't all stories, and they aren't essays, and I can't think what to call them, frankly - are perfect examples of that.
I'd talk about how much these kinds of word-filled thingies make me love y'all, but that seems way too straightforward and sappy to be at home in this post, so let's save the heartfelt sentiment for the established relationships set and get right to the funny in this one.
Best FF That Demonstrates That the Presence of Eggbeaters Is Directly Related to One's Personal Safety, At Least When One Is Having a Metaish Experience. Wax Jism Rushes in Where Mary Sues Fear to Tread, by waxjism. X-Files meta. Self-insertion, and is that not the most wonderfully dirty word with which to describe a FF no-no? It is, and norah will agree with me. (MMWD complained after the last set that I'd made her read self-insertion. She had no idea just how inserty the selves could get around here.) Here we have an unfortunately clad Wax Jism encountering Krycek (and, I suspect, Spike). I'm sure this would be even more amusing to me if I knew who Krycek was, but I get that he's a Bad Guy and, curtainfic and domesticfic and schmoopy schmoopy schmoopfic aside, he's apparently not someone you'd want to encounter in a dark alley. Which is why this story is so great. Sometimes, in our eagerness to turn the hate to hot sex (because we all try to live the Slasher's Motto: "If two guys exist in any time or universe or canon, I can get them to fuck. If they hit each other, try to kill each other, or call each other names, I can get them to fuck with gusto."), we forget that there may be a reason two people are mortal enemies. Like, for example, one of them may be evil or soulless or bent on ruling all of Metropolis. Or he could just be an asshole. So, when I've read a story that turns a canonical bad guy into a misunderstood pile of ever-loving mush, I read this story as a palate-clearer.
Best Non-FF but FF-Related Thingy That Will Teach You Several Important Life Lessons That I Beg You Not to Put into Practice, Unless It's the One About Bringing Planets Under the Dominion of Prospect-L; You're More Than Welcome to Do That. Deep Fanfic Thoughts, by Jack Handey, by Valeria Fate, aka violetisblue (I think). Fandom and fanfic meta. OK, this is another one where I get enough of the joke to laugh without necessarily getting the whole thing, because I am just pathetic, and also lazy enough not to want to do the necessary Googling to cover for my pathetic out-of-it-ness. First problem: I'm not sure who Jack Handey is, except that I suspect he's not a real person. Second problem: a lot of these deep thoughts concern mailing lists, and I'm not on any FF-related mailing lists. But you know what? It doesn't matter. Because there are lines in this like, "People think it's fun to write fanfic because you get all those readers. But they forget the negative side, which is the psychosis." And don't forget this timeless piece of wisdom: "If the Vikings were around today, they would probably be amazed at how we take male pregnancy fics completely for granted." Really, these are the kinds of philosophical meditations fandom needs. Because with Thanksgiving coming up, at least here in the US, shouldn't we all take a little time to be thankful that we live in an age where smut is so readily and freely available? And such specialized smut, too. Yes, this year I intend to give thanks that I can find all the MPreg and wingfic and Mary Sue fic that my heart could desire. (Actually, quite a lot more than my heart has ever desired, but I won't mention that part, in case the porn gods are feeling tetchy.) Plus, you know, I'll give thanks for plain ol' smut. Only I will do this silently, so that my parents don't give me an exorcism for Christmas and a year of therapy for Hanukkah.
Best Sort of FF and Sort of Something Else Thingy Featuring Standards and Practices People Being Tormented by Gay Sex, Which Is Such an Accurate Depiction of My Ideal World That I Weep with Joy and Frustration Whenever I Read This. The Due South Reunion Movie, Draft 1, by shayheyred. Due South meta, involving assorted slash. Sort of. Yeah, you know you're deep in the meta weeds when you can't write a story summary that is coherent and useful and shorter than the story itself. So, for the record, I'm going to focus on "shorter than the story itself," and leave the coherence and usefulness to a LJ better suited and more accustomed to that sort of thing. Which would be all of them, I'm thinking. But even if I can't explain why you need to read this, need to read it you do, because it is just really, really funny. Shay pretty much had me at the title - not of the story, mind you, but the story within this story, because remember how I said this is the complicated kind of meta? - which is "Here Today, Yukon Tomorrow." I'm sure we can all totally see Paul Gross writing that and snickering to himself, unless that's just me. Oh, and I should probably warn you that there's suggestions of RPS in this, but it didn't trigger my RPS gag reflex, so it probably won't trigger yours. (Although I'm beginning to be afraid that my RPS gag reflex is weakening, and if it is - oh, god. I so don't need RPS fandoms. And I don't need the drastic reduction in already wavering self-esteem, not to mention the major recalculation of self-image, that would result from the loss of my last few remaining fandom standards, scruples, and boundaries. So please hope along with me that the RPS gag reflex is still going strong.)
Best FF Commentary Thingies That Feature Conflicted Batman and Gay Bar Kowalski and Bitchy Methos and Wistful Remus and Lots of Other Characters, Plus Forsythia, and Yet Still Make a Lot of Sense, Which I Know Doesn't Even Seem Possible, but Trust Me, It Is. Fic Frustration, by jjtaylor, PWP = Progress? What Progress?, by penknife, and WIP Meme, by shrift. Meta-ish insane auctorial babbling. Slash, het, and gen. See, I hate memes. Except when I love them. And this was possibly my favorite meme ever: authors summed up their works in progress in script form. (Because it's easier to describe by example, even if it's a bad example, here's what it looks like. Keller: Actually, I'm glad we can't get direct sunlight in here. Beecher: Really? [thoughtful pause while gazing at his copy of Dracula] Oh, shit. Keller: bitey bitey! Author: Wait, no, you were supposed to have sex! What is wrong with you people that you're always with the blood and the pain and the fighting when I want hot, uncomplicated sex? Keller: Why would I care what you want? Beecher: He's got a point.) I read these and laughed and laughed and laughed. (Don't judge them by the bad example!) Unfortunately, I didn't think to bookmark all of them at the time. (Hey, I was new to this LJ thing, and I naively thought there'd be a way to find them later. So if you wrote one of these, let me know, OK?) But I did bookmark these three, and I am profoundly glad, because these are just - just - look. I read a lot of FF. Probably way more than you think I do. Which is actually pretty scary, but that's a worry for a whole other sleepless night. Point is, I know fic when I see it, even when it isn't actually in fic form. And these are great fics - in character, interesting, and either sexy or plotty. I couldn't ask for more. Except, of course, for these to be finished. But, hey, fandom has always needed a way to get more mileage and less frustration out of works in progress, and this is one such way. Brilliant! (And wouldn't now be a great time to revive this meme, oh author of many works in progress? Just a thought.)