Best Beloved does not normally talk like that. (In our house, I'm the one who uses profanity like salt.) So I got the message. (Which was, for the record: Post. You fucker.)
And, okay, fine. I have been informed that, in interests of accuracy, I should also share with you the conversation we were having immediately prior to that. See, I was being surprised because I found someone on my friends list complimenting me. In the past tense. (As in, "Yeah, TFV used to post great recs.") Compliments are always nice, of course, but I was whining that I was not dead and gone, and BB was making the point that for all most of you know, I could be.
I'm sure this insight into Life with TFV and Best Beloved has been fascinating and inspirational to you all. Never say I do not provide gripping content. Or, I mean, you can if you want, because, um. It's pretty much true.
And to illustrate that, let's move on to topic B of tonight. See, some_stars has this interesting post in which she invites authors to volunteer to be subjected to audience commentary. I found this an incredibly nifty concept, and I was even more enthralled after I realized how many authors I read and love are on that list. So I thought I would, you know, pony up with some commentary.
Unfortunately, I recently learned, in the course of attempting to do a DVD track type thing with norah on our jointly-written tentacle porn, that I have no idea how to do commentary. Apparently I should've been taking notes or something when other people did theirs, because, wow. I always have something to say, true, but I suspect that for this kind of thing what I'm saying needs to be, you know. Coherent. Relevant. Basically, things that I am not. And if I have no idea how to do author commentary, I am doubly in the dark on the audience commentary thing.
So I thought I'd retreat to what I know, which is recommendations. But this is a set with a difference, in that it is unthemed and assembled entirely from stories (that I already had decided to rec) written by people from some_stars's list. Also, I will be taking a wild stab at actual thoughtful commentary here. This will not, of course, be a line-by-line thing, with quotes from the story and all. I could no more do that than I could soar with the eagles, people.
And if you haven't ticked some_stars's box (um...yeah, that didn't sound good, but I'm sure she'll take it well) and you'd enjoy seeing audience commentary on your work, really, don't let me discourage you. It's a wonderful concept, and I have to think that everyone else who participates in it (...and everyone else on the planet) will be better at it than me.
In fact, it might be best to tick now, before you get a look at what I did.
Yes. That would be for the best.
Also, I promise that I won't be doing story summaries this long again. It got all out of control on me.
(Secret message to all who sent me birthday gifts and wishes: LJ and I had some issues there for a while, mostly involving me not getting informed of comments. But now both LJ and I have our acts more or less together at nearly the same time, which is indeed rare, and you should be getting individual thanks from me shortly. In the meantime, know that you all - including all three of you lurkers - have made me a very happy woman. Thank you.)
Best FF That Will Make You Picture Tim Drake in a Padawan Braid. After Which You Will Never Be the Same, I'm Warning You Here and Now. Flamebird, by sharpest_rose. Star Wars x DCU, gen. When I was 16, my then-boyfriend introduced me to comics. He was a Marvel guy, but he still had some affection for Batman, and he gave me a quick summary of the DCU. (I know. Quick summary = useless summary in any comics canon. I said he was a Marvel guy, right? He gave me so much detail about the X-Men that I'm still in therapy.) He explained about the Robins - or, as he called them, Real Robin and Not Robin. His description of Jason Todd, aka Not Robin, was, in toto: "A placeholder, and kind of a brat." That's pretty much the image I carried of Jason until I found FF, which changed me. (Yes, I know. It changes us all. But this was a change that was entirely g-rated, and that has to have some kind of rarity value.) Why do I tell you this? Because this story makes Jason so very real. It makes me hurt for Jason. Here, that's exactly what he (okay, Jay) is: a placeholder. This is a story, yes, and a great one, but for me it's also as a weird meta thing on how Jason was treated in the Batman series; as far as I can tell, to the extent I can look back past all the crises and reloads and everything, that was pretty much like Jay is treated here.
The other Robins are also here, being very much themselves; I doubt I need to express my joy at the perfection of Tim in this story, but I should mention (because I have no dignity left to lose) that I squeaked when I first read the words "Master Greyson." (I'm sorry. It's the DCU. It does that to me.) And there's someone else who isn't here, but is still everywhere in this story: Anakin Skywalker. (Secret message to George Lucas: This is how Anakin's story should have gone, and I don't forgive you just because you had to make the end of 3 match up to the start of 4 (which, also - you didn't). We manage to work around your screwy canon, so I have no sympathy for you at all if you can't.) I love the way I can see an actual character for Anakin around the edges of this, way more than I did in episodes one and two (I just wimped out on three; I couldn't face it at all). So. Anakin's here in spirit, with his story going right for a change. Jason's here in fact, no matter what his name is, with his story going on for a change. Plus there's Tim, which is just - I mean, Tim. And it's like Star Wars Episodes 1-3 never happened. Is this not the very model of a fan's paradise? It is, and you should read it.
Best FF That Could Quite Possibly Make You Enjoy Eating from a Mini-Bar. It Might Even Make You Enjoy Paying $5 for a Package of Peanuts. It Has That Kind of Power. Cherchez la Femme, by Victoria P., aka musesfool. Ocean's 11, Danny Ocean/Rusty Ryan. A really good writer can make me agree with almost anything, and Victoria is just such a writer. This is a fascinating take on the Danny-Rusty dynamic; it is not my take, but this story totally makes me go there anyway. Hell, it makes me want to set up house there. And that's one of the reasons I love this. I also love the assorted original female characters in here - I mean, when I read this story, I always get distracted by Bachelorette #3 because I want to hear more about her. I want to know how she did what she did, and why, and also if she could maybe saunter into the lives of other favorite slash pairings of mine, because that would be so very excellent I might die. And then, by the end of her section, I'm totally invested in the Danny/Rusty story again, and I forget all about her. (Look. It is not my fault. I have, you know, focus issues. Also, she's way cool, but they are sleek and shiny and totally in love with each other. So it's no contest, really.)
The other thing I love about this story, the thing that made me pick it for the blather fest this post is turning out to be, is. Okay. I'm going to try my hand at actual analysis here, albeit at a very low level, and you all have to be very supportive and try not to laugh, because this is not my metier. See, when I look at the women Danny dates in this story, what I notice is how they all are complete characters, and yet they each represent just one facet of Rusty's personality, from the freewheeling indie to the con artist extraordinaire. Danny's dating women who remind him in some way of the guy he's already with. So Victoria, in other words, seems to me to be saying, "Check out Danny. He is such an idiot that he does not get that he's actually looking for Rusty." Except, of course, he's not an idiot. He figures it out in the end. Some people just need to be smacked in the face a few times before they can process this sort of thing, and I for one don't hold it against them.
Best FF That Always Makes Me Wonder How the Hell You'd Carve a Turnip. But Then, I've Never Carved a Pumpkin, Either, So Maybe I'm Just Not Picturing This Right. Wheel, by Brighid, aka mz_bstone. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Sam Carter/Daniel Jackson. Warning: I can't warn you, but I can say it's all on the upswing after the first part. If you make it through that, you're good. But thost first few sections hurt, people. My basic summary of this story is: wow. I've been wanting to rec this for a long time, partly because it makes me happy, but mostly because it's brave. It is just such a fucking courageous story; in it, Brighid does two specific things (no, I am not going to tell you what they are, because you'll know if you read it, and also they're spoilers of a large and looming nature) that are unusual (especially when paired like this) in SG1 stories of this genre. (The genre is The World Ended or Maybe We Just Lost It. In this case, for the record, they just lost it; earth is doing fine, but it and SG1 are maintaining separate residences.) And she does them (Brighid does the things, I mean; I refuse to apologize for my dependence on parentheses. They are pretty and fun. So there.) so well, and neither one is a particularly popular choice.
Okay. Look, we can't go on this way. If I'm going to talk about this story, I have to talk about those two things. So, please, just go read it, and I'll stay here and spoil in privacy.
The first thing she does that's weird is killing Teal'c the way she does. There are rules to this sort of thing. If you kill someone loved and important at the beginning of a story, either you bring him back or it's a sad story. You don't say, hey, it starts here, and this is hard and bad and awful, but now let's move on. Brighid does that, which is, I suspect, one of the many reasons this story has the title it does. And then she gets Sam pregnant. Which continues the cycle, of course, and that's why it works in this story, but - it's rare for Sam to have a baby in an SG1 story. (It was even rarer, oddly enough, before the actress did.) Especially in these kinds of SG1-without-the-SGC stories, people work hard to keep Sam who she was on earth: a woman in a very male profession, a woman who works hard to be one of the guys. Usually it's Jack and Daniel who do the changing, the relaxing, who feel the boundaries created by the SGC and their importance and earth weakening and slipping away. In this story, that happens to all of them. And they all have to adjust to it, too, and that's hardest on Sam; she doesn't just automatically become a domestic goddess. (Really, this is a Jack/Sam/Daniel story, but for me the heart and the joy of the story is Sam.) This makes me happy. Which is good, because I tend to re-read this only when my life is bad. To me, it expresses something I believe very strongly: life can be bad, but then it gets better. Just usually not in the way you expect.
Best FF That Makes IQ Tests Not Just Fun but Sexy. Take That, Wechsler! The Pegasus Society, by Sabine, aka iamsab. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay/Atlantis. And. Okay. I was saving this for last, because I actually had something substantive to say about the other stories. (I am, yes, well aware that I didn't actually manage to communicate that something. This is an imperfect medium, people, and there's bound to be some content loss between writer and reader, and also I zing from topic to topic like I'm in Brownian motion.) About this I have nothing to say but oh my god. (For the full effect, you'll need to read that part in italics out loud. Make it high and breathless, like a 14-year-old girl who has just touched a boy band...um, boy, I guess. What do you call the individual members of a boy band?) See, this story - it just hits all my shameful SGA kinks. There's super smart John pretending to be dumb, and Atlantis all over the place (seriously - Atlantis point of view, and it's a benevolent Atlantis, which is just - see, in my head, Atlantis is benevolent, but when I try to write it she ends up eeeeevil, so this is like a super-extra bonus for me), and Rodney bringing new meaning to the concept of multi-tasking. There's even intelligence tests in here. It starts with the whole sum of the squares thing, which for most of us is like encountering an old friend; I can only think of a handful of opening lines that have brought me into a story faster than this one, because I was right with Rodney when he yelled out the answer. I mean, I felt a bond! With Rodney! It's just...and also...and then...
And now you see what I mean about this story. I've got no content for this rec at all, just a lot of pathetic squeeing. You know how some people get about their canon? Like, how most people get about their canon? I really only get that way about fan fiction, and this story - this story made me react the way Smallville fans would if they found their way into an alternate universe where the series was written by someone who had a crush on Lex instead of Lana. And was an actual good writer. (No offense intended, Smallville people! You know I have love for you! It's just, the recent spate of SV-SGA comparisons has left me gape-mouthed with shock and horror. That, that is some very interesting canon you've been swimming against for five years. No wonder you're all so durable and steadfast.) So. This story brings me joy. Tragically, it also connects my i/o ports directly to my squee center, bypassing my brain completely, so this "commentary" (All together now: "There hasn't actually BEEN any commentary, TFV!") pretty much consists of the basic concept expressed by the word yay. Only, um. Spread over two paragraphs.
Next time: a return to your regular story summaries, which are just as contentless, but much, much shorter. It's something for us all to look forward to, yes?