So. I had a whole introduction here linking 2007 and AUs and stuff, but I managed to delete it in a way that could not be undone. (The technological disaster front is weakening, but still present. Exorcism of our premises may be required if this keeps up much longer.) Instead, I will just say this:
Hey. Here are some AUs I think you should read.
The One That Proves That the World May Change, but Macaroni Sculptures Stay the Same. A Chip off the Old Blog, by Salieri, aka troyswann. due South, gen.
Okay, two things: I'm not going to spoil this (not not not, no matter how much I want to, and oh god I so do) and I am going to warn for something. There is a suggestion of animal harm. The harmed animal is not Dief. The animal harm does not appear onscreen, as it were. And yet, it bothered the hell out of me, and I know there are a few people out there who might also be bothered. Hence, warning.
But here's the thing: I love this story anyway. And those of you who know me will know how stunning that is. Normally, if there's animal harm of any kind, that's it - my brain wipes and the rest of the story becomes meaningless. In extreme cases, this ends with me sobbing helplessly against a fence in Disney World (Curse that animation demo, with the clips from Certain Animated Classics We Won't Mention, Because Just the Names Sometimes Make Me Cry!) to the degree that Disney employees grow worried and offer to "help," for which read, "Take you somewhere where you won't disturb the people who are having fun in the happiest place on the earth, unlike you, you - um. Are you all right? God, can you even breathe?" (Yes, that really happened. It wasn't a shining moment for my dignity. Also, please keep in mind that I was twenty-four at the time. And I couldn't talk, so Best Beloved had to reassure people that no, really, I was perfectly fine - not easy against a background of choking sobs - and then tow me out and keep me from bonking into random tourists, because I also couldn't see very well because of all the crying. Disney animators: destroying hearts, minds, and lives since the 1930s!)
Anyway. My point is: I love this story so much that I just deal with the whole animal unhappiness. Because this story is incredible. I have an unhealthy love for science fiction anyway, and this is like a tribute to certain SF classics (which I am not saying, because remember how I am not spoiling this?) and the most perfect dS AU ever. The casting is - oh, it is so perfect that I get light-headed from glee just thinking about it. (You can tell because of all the italics. I get crazy with the emphasis when I'm gleeful.) I - I kind of want a dS v 2.0 TV show, based on this premise, because I tell you and I tell you true: the only thing better than a sexual-tension laden buddy cop show filled with magical realism and Diefenbaker is that same show in a classic SF setting.
Oh, I can't even begin to communicate the perfection of this story. Or, okay, I could, but I'd end up spoiling it. Which I am not going to do. Just - just read it, okay? Please. Otherwise I'll be forced to keep babbling, and since I can't talk about the story (which is oh my god so perfect), I'd end up talking about other cruel things Disney animators have done to me and mine. You don't want to hear about how my father (yes, it's genetic) and I both cried all the way through dinner on my 16th birthday, alarming waitstaff and fellow diners and forcing my mother and sister to come up with topics of conversation that didn't revolve around the two freaks weeping into their linguine across the table. (The restaurant manager refused to charge us for our meals, even though my father tried to explain that it wasn't the food that was the problem.) Neither do you want to hear about my first and only childhood moving-going experience. Really you don't. So just read this story, okay?
ETA: The day I after I posted this recommendation, Salieri posted an extended version of this: Real Boys (A Chip off the Old Blog), due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. It is all of the awesomeness described above times about fifteen.
The One That Will Heal the Wounds Left on Your Soul by Long, Stilted Sentences. And Classic Fiction. Seriously, This Is the Anodyne for 90% of English Class Related Scarring. Jane Narf, by Parhelion, aka parhelion_aloft.** Pinky and the Brain, and the pairing is - Pinky/Brain, maybe? Assuming Jane Narf is Pinky? I don't know. I'm a little shaky on this, as I have never seen or even heard of the canon. (I'm just assuming this is an AU, actually; I don't know for sure. If the canon is really like this, oh my god someone please tell me, because I will immediately procure it even if I have to commit illegal acts to do so.)
So. I don't know Pinky and the Brain. But I do know Jane Eyre, and let me tell you, reading it was an unfortunate experience. I was 8 or 9, and as far as I was concerned, the book started well. Orphans! Injustice! Picturesque diseases! All it needed was a magic amulet or something, and it would have been on the road to greatness. And then it deteriorated into this long story about exceedingly boring old people who, in my 8-or-9-year-old opinion, were pathetic: they spent long periods of time whining and then deliberately making life worse for themselves, apparently so they could have more to whine about. I just could not believe how stupid they were. I kept reading only because of my sincere conviction that sooner or later the magic would turn up. I finished with a feeling of great betrayal: where was the magic? Stupidity was not okay without magic!
Well, as it turns out, the magic is here, in this story. Clearly, Pinky and the Brain is the secret ingredient that makes Jane Eyre magical and right, at long long last. Well, okay, the actual equation would probably look more like this: Parhelion(Jane Eyre + Pinky and the Brain) = awesomeness of a previously undiscovered caliber. Because, obviously, it took a mind of great genius to produce this work. It is - god. The voice, the tone, the sheer joy this brought me. I cannot begin to describe it.
I will say, though, that this story healed me. I've been carrying around resentment about Jane Eyre since, well, I was 8 or 9. No longer. Now it is and forever will be a wonderful story - a classic work about a young lab rat and her forbidden romance with the mysterious Mr. Brainchester. And it will remain forever on my list of Things That Bring Me Great Joy.
The One in Which We Learn That We Must Throw off the Shackles of Superstition, for It Can Stand in the Way of Orgasms. String Theory, a Concerto for Violin in D Minor, by toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.
I have a great fondness for the alternate occupation AU. If there's a story where Beecher is a bartender and Chris Keller is the bar's bouncer, I will read it with pleasure, even though there are well-documented problems with taking Beecher and Keller out of a prison setting. Same with, for example, a story about Ray Kowalski and Benton Fraser, zoo employees - I will read that one and likely chortle with delight as I'm doing so. And if you make Batman a ship's captain running down the Dread Pirate Joker, I will not only read it but likely die of unbounded fannish glee in the process.
SGA gives me an unusually high dose (even dangerously high, but that's fine: my tolerance is astonishing) of this kind of happiness, because the characters fit anywhere. Seriously. I'm not sure why, but it's tough to think of alternate occupations you couldn't give the SGA crew. (It's just like - I have this game I play with Best Beloved: name a movie, and I'll recast it with SGA characters. Classic romance is especially good for this, but almost anything works. The Matrix! Master and Commander! The Godfather! Pride and Prejudice! No, wait, I think someone already wrote that last one.)
So, here we have Rodney McKay the brilliant composer and conductor and John Sheppard the fuckup violinist. And I just - I have such love for this, because it works. These are recognizably our Friends of Pegasus even as they slot perfectly into the orchestra AU roles. (And Ronon is a percussionist. I was a percussionist once, so I practically collapsed at my keyboard when I read that. Seriously, Ronon was born to play percussion.)
And it's just - it works. It's wonderful, and it's fun, and it makes my heart turn cartwheels from happiness. What more can I say?
The One That Made Me Like a Creepy Talking Monkey. And I Loathe Monkeys, People; As Far As I'm Concerned, Hell Is Talking Monkeys.* Home Is Where the Heart Is, by Martha Wilson, aka ltlj, and Kimberley Rector, aka researchgrrrl. Hercules: the Legendary Journeys, gen. Ish. (It's hard to say with Hercules, unless someone's cock is in someone else's mouth, because if you're writing in line with the canon, it feels slashy even when it's totally gen.)
Okay. So. You don't know Hercules? I don't care. You can read this as original fiction - it's that good, and that original, and that much fun. Here's what you need to know: there's this guy named Hercules, who you may already have heard of in other contexts. He's a demigod, in case you didn't know. His friend and long-time companion Iolaus died, and he tried to find another one, but it didn't work out. There. Now you're ready to read this.
And read it you should, because - oh my god, this is so good. The Egyptian elements made my heart leap with joy. (People with heart conditions that preclude leaping should consult their doctors before reading this story.) I can't even talk about how wonderful this is, and partly that's because I don't want to spoil it, but also because I get incoherent and babble-ish, and this soon after my re-reading of Jane Narf, that could be dangerous.
And if you do know Hercules? Well, you may remember a spot of unpleasantness that those in the know call "the fifth season." This fixes that. It's an AU that doesn't just erase the whole whatever-it-was that ended up with Iolaus dead and replaced by WTF-that's-not-Iolaus (because, seriously, I don't know for sure what happened there - Best Beloved stopped watching Hercules after season four, thanks to some advice I got from marycrawford, who is my Hercules consultant). It takes those events, accepts them, and then somehow makes them all better, in a way that is both brilliant and perfectly in line with the canon. And is also full of Egyptian mythology. Did I mention that?
(By the way, if you read this story and think, "I want more Egyptian mythology influenced fantasy. But, by god, this time I want it with time travel and Lord Byron," let me know. I'll have an original fiction recommendation for you.)
* Yes. Ironic, isn't it?
** Thanks, mutecornett!