Yeah, I don't exactly get the connection, either. But far be it from me to argue with inspiration. (I mean, seriously, far be it from me. Inspiration fights mean.)
Best FF That Involves a Major Character Turning Into a Cricket as a Side Note. Seriously. It's Not Even Remotely Central to the Plot. I Just Cannot Tell You How Much I Love That. So Long, Farewell, See You Around, by Tallulah Rasa. Stargate: SG-1. Actually, this is seven related but unconnected stories, seven alternate versions of Jack leaving SG-1. (That's the whole summary, people. Feel free to go read it now and skip the rest of this, which is just me getting in touch with my feelings.) Okay. So. First thing first: these are not sad stories. (In fact, one of them made me sincerely, joyfully happy. That was the one featuring, um, major character death. But it's happy major character death, people! And, really, the fact that I even typed that sentence, never mind the fact that I sincerely mean it, should be sufficient to convince you to read this.) Really, not sad.
But I still teared up reading them. I have two theories about this (three if you count, you know, Wildcat Hormone Attack). First theory: this story forced me out of my denial about SG-1 ending. Because, really, it did; now we have a whole new show, featuring new people and new crack. (No one even try to explain those photos of the Merlin guy to me, okay? I prefer a world in which I can pretend they were just a wacky welcome-to-the-show prank played on Ben Browder.) And, okay, technically I have never actually seen the show, but I am still very attached to it. As it was. With, you know, Jack. And Sam. And Old Glow-Eyes. And I really don't accept change very well. Second theory: this story reads like the writer's farewell to the series. Now, I'm sure it isn't. I'm sure Tallulah has many excellent stories about SG-1 still to come. (She'd better. I don't want to have to read West Wing, but that's the only other fandom she writes in.) But it reads that way. And I got to thinking - I know some people are sad when they leave fandoms behind, but I'm only really sad when authors I love do that. Because - okay, odds are good I'll follow them into whatever new fandoms they find. But still. Their versions of those characters are gone for good. So my second theory is that, while reading this, I had to contemplate a world without Tallulah's Jack and Daniel and Sam and Teal'c. And that? That would really be worth tears.
Best FF That Makes Me Want to Roll up All My Love for the Writer and Use It to Make Stars That Spell Her Name. And in This Fandom, That's Pretty Much Canon, People. Why Tycho Quit Drinking, by Punk, aka runpunkrun. Katamari Damacy. Yes. You heard me. This is fan fiction for that highly addictive video game in which you roll a sticky ball around and pick up coins and erasers and flowers and cars and cows and stuff. (And this is going a little outside my mission statement, here, but if you haven't played this game, play it. Play it for the King, play it for the soundtrack, play it for the mutant satisfaction of making a giant ball of every last thing in level 8. Play it so you can read this story. It's worth not just the cost of the game, but the cost of the Playstation, too.) Anyone who has played Katamari Damacy knows that one of its many pleasures is the King of All Cosmos. He's just - well, I cannot even begin to describe him. Only the real thing can even come close. Which is why it's so amazing (and highly suspect) that Punk has his, um, characteristic and unique voice down this well. I believe she may have a secret identity. I believe it may involve tights and a flowing cape and a big ruffled neck thing. (He's like - he's like Clark in a Superman costume, after Lex's interior designer mistakes him for decor. And that's just his looks, people. Really, you have to meet the King to believe him.) I mean, she could be the King of All Cosmos. (For one thing, it would be just like him to have a secret identity that writes gay porn, let me tell you.) That would explain how she got the details of the night the King went out drinking and accidentally destroyed all the stars, details that were previously known only to Vice Duke of Underpants and the Queen, neither of whom would ever tell. But Punk, Punk has revealed all. At last, the truth is out there.
Best FF That Teaches Us Important Lessons About True Love, and Self-Defense, and That Glorious Area Where They Intersect for Everyone's Good. The Wind Will Not Subside, by shrift. Samurai Champloo. This is a perfect - and perfectly believable - look at Fuu, Jin, and Mugen, and how they fare after the series. And, yes, okay, Mugen technically does not appear in the story. He's still very much present, and that's the whole point, really: these are three people who got stuck together by fate (in the form of a teashop, a gang of louts, and one very corrupt politician; sometimes fate chooses strange emissaries) and who cannot get unstuck no matter how much they try to fly apart. You kind of have to love that. At least, I do. Plus, I mean: Jin! Mugen! Fuu! Random gratuitous squirrel character whose narrative function I still have not entirely grasped! This is a recipe for happiness, people, and so you should see the canon. You should also read this story. It makes my heart go pitter-pat with sheer love for all of them, and that's before I come to the last four lines, which happen to be basically the most perfect last four lines ever found anywhere, and also the clearest, most wonderful expression of love and friendship that I have ever read. (Keep in mind who you're talking to, though: I'm the person who got into Highlander, and specifically Duncan/Methos, solely because Methos shoots Duncan in a sincerely loving and romantic way. This is the same kind of thing. Except no guns, no immortals, and no romance, so...not really even all that similar. But the last four lines of this story punch the same one of my buttons that Methos shooting Duncan did. And if I had to guess, I would say that that button is probably labeled something like, "Schmoopy bodily harm." No, really, I don't even want to know why. My depths disturb me.)
Best FF That Suggests That an Ancient Gene Is the Pegasus Galaxy's Version of a 'Kick Me' Sign Glued to Your Ass. The Pegasus Galaxy Presents: George Romero's Alice in Wonderland, by Domenika Marzione, aka miss_porcupine. Stargate: Atlantis. There are many reasons I love Domenika. For example, her LJ name, which always makes me think of a particularly excellent poem by Dorothy Parker (Parable for a Certain Virgin - um, no offense intended toward our Porcupine). And her titles - this is, after all, the person who wrote The Jenny Code, which left me pondering in some confusion for half the story, and then smiling blissfully for the last half, and I think you'll all agree that this title is also, um, let's go with 'gorgeously evocative.' But most of all, I love her for the authenticity she gives to the Stargate universe.
See, okay, our people? In the canon? Do not always act so much like, for example, military officers, or stern-willed diplomats (or actual medical doctors with actual medical ethics, but that, my friends, is a rant for a different day). Domenika takes those same characters, and without changing their personalities or their actions, makes them act like what we've been told they are. It is an amazing transformation, and, seriously, I'd read her stories for that alone. But she also throws in action and humor and actual plot, which means I'm pretty much riveted to my monitor. (And, uh. That phrase paints a somewhat disturbing picture, so how about we say I'm riveted to my chair instead? And, hey - new computer chair! Comfy! Sleek! Entirely unlikely to dump me on my ass on the floor at random intervals! And it is all thanks to you, f-list. I love you so.) And in this one, she gives some very believable Sheppard backstory - with nary a Ferris wheel in sight, no less! - and Sheppard doing paperwork, which just makes my heart burst with (only mildly malicious) joy.
Best FF That Teaches Us the Importance of Kindness to Others. Specifically, Extremely Weird Others of Indeterminant Gender and Alarmingly Good Intentions. Fellow Traveler, by ltlj. Stargate: Atlantis. I'm going to be recommending two SGA stories in most sets for - well, basically for as long as I feel compelled to. Which I do. This is not my fault, people! SGA appears to be courting some weird fandom version of singularity; the good fan fiction is doubling at an ever faster pace, and at some point soon I expect it to transcend the boundaries of the internet. After that, if Vinge and Kurzweil know what they're talking about, fandom should alter in ways we cannot possibly imagine, let alone anticipate. (Not to worry. This is fandom, so it has an inherent self-correcting mechanism - fannish attention span - and an external correction mechanism - in SGA's case, the stupidity of television executives.) My point is, I can't keep up. I mean, I can never keep up with the good FF in any fandom, or at least any fandom that doesn't qualify for Yuletide, but SGA is taking my recommendation gap to new and frightening levels. Two stories per set seems like the least I can do in return.
So, anyway, um. Getting back to the story (to save you the trouble of scrolling up: I'm talking about Fellow Traveler, here, or at least I'm supposed to be). See, this story has plot and action and all kinds of good things. (Like banter, and humor, and a hive-ship hoedown, and just - look, it's got good stuff in good quantities, okay?) But I kind of expect that from ltlj. What constantly surprises me about her writing is her original characters, which are just - well. Like take the original character in this one. He's a strangely lovable crossdressing alien misfit with memory problems, and really, I haven't even started with the adjectives I could use for him. You have to adore a writer who can make a character of that description work. And adore her I do. (And if it also makes me want to try creating a character from six random descriptives pulled out of a hat, well, that's my issue, and I'm working on it, okay? I have a sincere desire to change, anyway, and they tell me that's half the battle.)
And, finally, a poll. Influence the future! A very small part of it! Right here!
I thought the use of paragraphs - actual carriage returns! - within these story summaries was:
If you picked something else, here's your box. Feel free to include the DSM-IV diagnosis that explains your obsession with paragraphs. (I'll you show you mine in return!)