Second thing, of course, is my list of stories for you. I'd like you to join me today for a Very Special Edition of the Slashy Awards. See, I've been sensing some malaise out there, some disaffection with the world in general. norah was particularly plaintive in her cry to be on vacation this week, and I'm getting the sense that a lot of my friends list would also like to be anywhere but where they are. Of course, I can't really help you. I mean, I can't send y'all to Fiji for the fresh mango juice and the friendly goldfish. But I can remind you of fan fiction where the characters do that. So if "shipwrecked and comatose" actually sounds like an excellent deal right about now, this set is for you.
See the Historic World's Largest Toenail in Buttfuck, Nebraska! Adventures in America's Heartland, by pearl_o. due South, Ray Kowalski/Benton Fraser. You know, I love Fraser. I do. But I think we can all agree that he has the potential to be a somewhat challenging companion, particularly in certain kinds of activities. Like, for example, recreational travel. He absolutely would want to stop to read every historic marker on the entire freeway, when all real travelers know that what they all say is: "Something happened here. But you've never heard of it, and we have no intention of telling you about it in any kind of detail, because otherwise you might get some sleep instead of wondering about it all night. And don't even think about googling it; the motels out here don't have wireless, sucker." (I, um. I was betrayed in my youth by a few historic markers. Does it show?) Of course, Ray would not precisely be the world's most pleasant companion either. See, for both of them, it's about the journey; just, for Fraser, it's about the scenery he can take in, but for Ray it's about the vehicle he's traveling in. So I wouldn't advise you to leave home with these guys, but that's fine, because really we all want them to leave home together. And that, my friends - that is very entertaining indeed.
Experience the Glory of Nature and the Majesty of the Elements on an Unplanned and Unwelcome Sabbatical in Panama! Limbo, by julad. The Sentinel, Jim Ellison/Blair Sandburg. This came from the ts_ficathons challenge Getting a Sense for Cliches. The challenge stories are fascinating reading, in large part because a lot of writers who were in TS of old participated in the challenge for one last playdate with the boys. It was unexpectedly gripping (...definitely way better than historical markers) to see how style changes and other fandoms and time affected each author's voice and style, and it was even more gripping to see how their relationship with TS and Jim and Blair had changed. Everyone who has been writing a while should head back to a first fandom from time to time. For my entertainment, of course. (What, you thought I was going to tell you it'd make you a better person or something? Yeah. And would you trust me if I did promise that?) This story does a brilliant job of dealing with one of those little weak spots that are part of the ineffable charm of the TS canon, namely that Blair's final solution to the whole accidental-outing-of-Jim problem is not actually one that is going to work for very long. But not to worry; Jim and Blair are up to the job. This story shows us that we have nothing to fear except lawyers and pulpless orange juice. And that Jim and Blair belong together. Really, it makes me want to say something incredibly sentimental, and I would, but I'm afraid I'd sprain something, so no. Just - you know. Read this.
Decipher the Unimaginable Mysteries of the Local Cuisine and Culture in Rural Minnesota! The Empty Well, by Destina Fortunato, aka destina. Stargate: SG-1, Jack O'Neill/Daniel Jackson. Oh, how I love the SG1 team; they're wonderful together. And in this story, they're all very much in their accustomed roles: Jack catching fish, Teal'c efficiently dismembering the fish, Carter pondering the space-time implications of the fish, and Daniel refusing to eat the fish for moral reasons. And then they sustain numerous casualties during the course of a very dangerous children's game. (Very dangerous. I've played that game with the most competitive woman on the earth. It is a game that kills, people, and if there was any sense in the world the people who go on and on about video games would be working to ban this instead.) Seriously, I love these people to death. (And, you know, past it. Several times.) Just as good are Jack and Daniel by themselves, each decrypting heavily encoded messages in their own way. I love this story for the hope it gives me for SG1, including a happy ending in the face of nearly insurmountable odds, and I love it for one of my all-time favorite Jack and Daniel exchanges. (Daniel: "Think outside the box." Jack: "I like the box.") Really, just read this. You won't be sorry. And you won't have to catch any fish to do it, either.
Choose Your Companions Wisely for Your Whirlwind Just-the-Low-Spots Tour of Southern North America! Arizona, Puerto Vallarta, and Mexico City, by seperis. Stargate: Atlantis, John Sheppard/Rodney McKay. And, um. Don't be reading that last one if you like your endings happy, okay? Or, let me put it is this way - if you do read it, and it makes you sad, blame the author, not me. I can only rec what they give me, you know. (The eternal plight of the recommender, it just brings tears to your eyes. So very tragic.) But do read this. Why? Well, how's this: John is an assassin hired to kill Rodney McKay. And then there is sex. (See, and this is why I love the SGA fandom; I can think of several excellent and original stories with that basic plotline. Seriously, at some point soon I will able to assemble a set on almost any theme at all just from SGA. Not that I will. Just knowing that the possibility exists will be enough for me to die happy.) And now I'm kind of up a tree without a chainsaw here. I can either get detailed, which will be all spoil-y, or carry on with the non-specific encouraging praise, which, face it, if those were going to get you to read this, you would have already clicked away from this page, or go for the tragically over-specific praise. ("For a story with such a lot of stomach trouble in it, really, it's amazingly sexy!") I think the wisest option would be d: none of the above. Also known as: shutting up now.
Get Back to Nature, Commune with the Future, and Have Lots of Sex All Over the Great State of Maine! Dirigo, by Speranza, aka cesperanza. Dead Zone, Johnny Smith/Sarah Bannerman/Walt Bannerman. This is a brilliant story, and I think you'll appreciate how brilliant when I tell you I love it even though it took me more than a week to get through the first part. See, the first part, it's not the most comfortable part of the story. It's actually, for me, by far the least comfortable part. And normally authors suck you in and then make you tense, but Speranza pretty much just hits you with it from word one. Or, actually, you know what? It isn't her, really. It's me. Because, see, the dinner party that damn near killed me dead isn't nearly as excruciating as I thought it was going to be. It just took me a while to read the actual words; I was all night-before-school-starts anticipating of the very worst. It isn't as bad as all that. Just, you know, uncomfortable. But so very worth it; trust me here. Doesn't matter if you don't know the characters, doesn't matter if you don't know the show, doesn't matter if you don't like threesomes - read this. You won't be sorry. Although, in all fairness, I have to say that this is not a crew you should trust when they break out the good china; there's another dinner party in here that stopped my reading cold for much of a night. (I had to have a fight with myself. It went like this:
TFV's Paranoia: Oh, god, this has the potential for unbridled disaster. There is only one way this can possibly go, and if she isn't on that track, I'm doomed.
TFV's Confidence: Trust Speranza. She handled the other dinner pretty well, didn't she? You always get worked up over nothing. It'll be fine. Read.
TFV's Paranoia: But if she screws this up at all I will never be able to read her work again. That would be a very bad thing!
Fortunately, at that point my inner drill sergeant showed up and made the point that I was damned well going to finish the story and everyone knew it, so I should suck it up, goddammit. Which I did, and it turned out that everything went the way I needed it to go after all, so my angst was for entertainment purposes only.) But, again: worth it! Wonderful, and so very worth it! Just keep a few tension sheets on hand for the dinner parties, is my advice.