tried to eat the safe banana (thefourthvine) wrote,
tried to eat the safe banana
thefourthvine

Slashy Nominations 109: Sometimes Bigger Really Is Better

I am afraid of series. I'm willing to admit it because a) I don't think a person should be ashamed of her fears and b) I have someone to blame this on. Namely, C.S. Lewis, who apparently wrote The Last Battle solely to ensure that his readers would never read the last part of anything ever again. Or the Book of Revelations (upon which Battle is loosely based).

But there are really and truly some excellent series out there in the FF world, and the great part about FF is that I can always pretend the author is even now working on another chapter or epilogue or same-universe story ("PWP 221f: Return to the Last Rimjob, Part 8"), so the phobia doesn't come into play as often as it does in the world of Real Literature. (I could pretend the same about those books, yes, but at least half the authors I read are dead. And hoping for published different-author sequels is like hoping for experimental genital surgery performed by monkeys, given the quality of much of the FF the publishing world has seen fit to put between covers.)

So I read FF series. But I don't recommend them very often; I'm much more likely to pick my favorite story and let people know it's part of a series. There are reasons for that, too. For one thing, well, it's tough to maintain consistent quality. In most series, there's one story that is just legions better than the rest, or there's a couple stories that are just legions worse. And I have to be pretty much ready to propose to a story to write up a recs entry for it, so I'm not going to include those less-than-the-series-best stories, even if they have good elements or I enjoyed reading them. Also, I figure it's asking a huge commitment from the readers to embark on a series based entirely on a paragraph of mostly irrelevant babbling; better to get y'all addicted to the AU or the characterizations or the sex, then tell you it's part of a series slightly longer (and way better) than the collected works of Harry Stephen Keeler.

Occasionally, though, I find a series that has to be recommended in toto. And now my list of said series is too long to ignore. So that's what I'm recommending today. (Not the whole list, though. I considered that, but decided I prefered to finish this entry sometime this decade.)

(Note to series authors: I love you guys. I seriously do. I love reading FF series, even if I don't rec them in their entirety that often. And, please, if you love (or even like) your recommenders (or just being recommended), include jump pages. It's a lot harder to rec when we have to choose between linking to a general index or bunches of individual stories that are all part of one series.)

Best Series Featuring the Only Appearance of the Highlander Characters That I've Been Able to Handle Thus Far. Although Isn't There Supposed to Be a Methos in There Somewhere? Imperfections: Imperfections, II: Believing in Fairy Tales, III: Visiting, IV: Necessary Parts, V: Passing Through the Underworld, and VI: What Comes Around by Dasha, who doesn't have a LJ. The Sentinel x Monk (all) x due South (II) x X-Files (II) x Highlander (V) (and if anyone picks up any others, please let me know), AU, gen.

Warnings: This is likely a work in progress; there's a few plot arcs that aren't entirely resolved, and she's still posting new chapters regularly. (Yay!) Also, in all honesty I have to tell due South fans that they'll be irritated by a few things here - but it's mostly minor stuff, like problems with names, or it can be explained away by the AU-ness, like Diefenbaker on a leash.

So. I promise you sex-based addiction, then begin by recommending gen. But I'm not sorry. I've only relatively recently discovered TS gen; I mean, I knew it existed, but I didn't understand it. Slash makes the TS universe much more believable. Otherwise, well, you've pretty much got all your available disbelief tied up in accepting that a) these guys are, all appearances to the contrary, not actually fucking and b) they work around a bunch of good detectives who don't know about the senses and still don't think there's anything, oh, vaguely gay about them. That's a more improbable AU right there than, say, the one with the horse-robot sex slaves. So, what with my difficulty buying a slash-free TS universe, I did not so much do the gen thing for a while. Stories like these, though, they make me glad I did. This series has to be gen, at least as it currently stands. It can't work otherwise. But it turns out that there are other ways to make the Jim and Blair relationship make sense. Dasha goes here for the world-where-sentinels-are-known thing, and manages to create one that works, that makes sense, that is the modern world with just that one change. (Usually common-sentinel AUs are not nearly so close to reality.) And she also includes loads of plot. Cases! Real cases! That they legitimately work as detective-and-guide! The series is, at the start, highly engaging. And then it gets better.

Favorite stories: It's tough to pick a favorite from this series; they're all fantastic for different reasons. Maybe, um, II, V, and VI?

Best Series That Owes a Great Debt to Cows. Celebrate Our Bovine Friends! Steak: 1: The Box, 2: Steak Dinner, 3: More Steak (Steak in the Rain), 4: Steak in the Dark, 5: Steak In-Between, 6: Steak-In-Waiting, 7: Steak and Cows, 8: Steak and Territory, 9: Steak and Separation, 10: Steak and Motility, 11: Steak and Lizards, and The Rememberers, by keiko_kirin. Stargate SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson (with mention of Jack/f, Daniel/f, and Teal'c/f in 10).

This is a famous series in the fandom; it was, in retrospect, wrong of me to avoid it so long simply because of the predominance of the word "steak" in, above, and about it. By the time I started reading SG, I knew Keiko Kirin's work in other fandoms, so I knew she was good. But I kept looking at this and saying, "Yeah. A twelve-part series about steak. Just what I've been hoping for." Well, that was wrong, and now I know it. For one thing, it isn't about steak, not really - the steak is a metaphor, a device, a bunch of those things you gladly forgot after you passed your last English test. For another thing, this is justly famous and in fact not as famous as it deserves to be. (I understand some people in lowland New Guinea haven't heard of it.) The Steak series is one of the best switching-teams stories I've read, yes, and it's funny and dramatic and sweet and everything else under the sun, yes, but that's only a part of it. Because there's plots here, people; almost every one of these stories could be an episode (well, apart from the sex, but that's obviously a failing of the show, not the series). I'd wager that these are also better than most of the existing episodes. The basic theme here is exploring new worlds - abroad, in bed, and with steak. And you get a heaping helping of all three, in twelve stories that make me want to fall to my knees and give thanks to the gods of FF.

Favorite stories: The last two, entirely for plot reasons. Part eleven takes me home to my SF roots, only with added sex, and "The Rememberers" (which she doesn't number like the others, so I didn't, either) is about some of my favorite things: memory, long-term relationships, and how people become who they are.

Best Series That Helps a Certain Teenage Mutant Find His Inner Drama Queen. And a Cigarette Lighter. And Ice Cream. And, in the Fullness of Time, Sex with His Roommate. It's Just Like He Went to College! Thermal: Freeze Out, Applying Heat, Defrost, Liquefy, Flux, and Mercury Rising, by Zahra, aka hackthis. X-Men movieverse, Pyro/Iceman.

Warnings: Those who hate the use of "St. John" in the movieverse will fume over this series; so will people who insist on the name. It's an equal-opportunity offender!

There's no better summary of this than the author's own, so I'll begin by quoting that: "It's those damn teenage hormones, again." In short, this is mostly smut - smut with build-up and context and background. And I admit I'm mostly recommending it for those last two. (I know. I hardly recognize myself these days.) See, the X-Men movies have a lot of strengths, including some major improvements over the comic books. (No universe reloads. No White Queen parading around like a bleached blow-up dominatrix, pretending to be Jean Gray. No Summers family history complex enough to destroy life as we know it should anyone ever actually manage to comprehend the totality of it. No 18 million Wolverine crossovers with every other comic book, including Asterix and Tin Tin. And so on.) But there's some things the movies just cannot supply to an old comic book fangirl (which, yes, I am, but I consider myself a recovering one, although Te constantly tempts me to backslide, the evildoer). Like depictions of ordinary days in the lives of our mutants; in the movies, there's always something heavily tentacled attacking or some moderately slashy world-ending scheme to prevent. So I enjoy the look at mundane daily life for a teenage mutant, which looks pretty familiar to any non-mutant that has lived through those years. With, you know, a few minor exceptions, like getting caught masturbating because you froze the room. Again. Also, I like that we get a look at the students - not just Pyro and Iceman, but Kitty and even Jubilee (who I fucking detested in the comic books, so it's impressive that I like her here, and frankly astonishing that I'm willing to admit it) - as people, rather than background. The movie focuses on the core team (lightning, claws, lasers) and the bad guys, which is as it should be. But I'm grateful to FF like this for fleshing things out. And for letting boys be boys.

Favorite stories: I view this more as a continuum than many series; it's hard to have part IV without part III, in other words. But probably the last two are my favorites. I like the Bobby-taunting.

Best Series That Contains Everything. Including the Kitchen Sink. Very Much Including the Kitchen Sink. Unfinished Business: Unfinished Business, A Little Less Conversation, Coda I: Conversation, Coda II: Bella Morte, The Debt You Owe, The Price You Pay, and Sway, by maygra and sometimes Bone, aka thisisbone. The Fast and the Furious, Brian O'Conner/Dominic Toretto.

Warning: This is a work in progress, although all the stories linked above are complete. And some of those pages contain pictures that are definitely not work-safe. Finally, some of the stories are rougher, in terms of grammar and spelling, than others.

First things first. You do not need to have seen the movie to read this. You hardly need to know who the characters are. So don't make that your excuse for missing out on this - this - well, I can't really call it a series. It's a universe, a whole bunch of branching possibilities. It even has its own AUs. Of course, if you haven't seen the movie, you won't appreciate just how well this series fixes the mess the movie left behind - and builds on that. And then builds some more. And then adds two outbuildings, a cupola, and a gazebo. Truly; if you track down all the various parts and fragments and works-in-progress that are either contained in or spawned by this series, you will have several days of solid (and lovely) reading ahead of you. What I linked above is a couple novels' worth, but it isn't all of it by any means. So, obviously, I cannot possibly summarize this. It would take a finer blurb-writer than me; it would take genius. Instead, I'll tempt you with a list of randomly-selected items you will find somewhere in the series. (Think of it like a print version of Where's Waldo. With porn.) Border-crossing motorcycle hijinks! Lasagna! Handcuffs used for their intended purpose! Handcuffs used for an off-label and exceedingly not-manufacturer-recommended purpose! Assorted beatings! Sex in a multitude of locations! And a shopping trip to what I have always believed was Century City Mall, although in fact it's probably Beverly Center! (Why not email the authors and ask them? Well, aside from the fact that it would distract them from adding a guest house and a semi-finished basement to the universe. And, yes, I know I've fractured the hell out of some metaphors there. Don't care at all.) Seriously, you need to read this. It's worth picking up a new fandom just to discover the heights (and breadths and depths) that FF can reach.

Favorite stories: Well, "Sway" was dedicated to me, so that has to come first. And then "The Price That You Pay" and "Unfinished Business" itself. And "Damage," which I didn't even link above, because it isn't finished yet. Hell, just read all of them.
Tags: [rec theme: series], fast and the furious, sentinel, stargate: sg-1, x-men
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