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14 November 2007 @ 10:07 pm
175: What a Long Strange Trip It's Been  
It's always a bad sign when you start fantasizing about killing orphans, isn't it? But I've had terrible songs stuck in my head this week, including two solid days of "The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow," and until you've had sweet but plucky cherubs advising you to bet your bottom dollar there'll be sun (which, thank you for that insight, orphans, but I live in Los Angeles, so it's not exactly news or anything - if you could predict traffic patterns, well, that would be impressive), you really don't know the depths to which you can sink. After a while, you would totally rush out and buy that movie if it featured scenes of singing orphans being dangled by their hair.

So, you know. I'm a bad person, obviously, but I was driven to it. By orphans. I want you to remember that.

Anyway. I thought I'd better recommend something before my brain was completely consumed by annoying songs. So: travel stories! (Yes, yes, fine - horrible segue. I blame the orphans. They are up to no good, I tell you.)

The One That Will Keep Popping into Your Head the Next Time You Visit a Highly Touristy Destination. This Is Not a Bad Thing. Strata, by katallison. Highlander, Duncan/Methos.

Highlander is a gen fandom for me. I'm just much more interested in the universe than in the sex, as it turns out. (I know - shocking! - but I'm trying not to let it shake my world view.) But Kat's Duncan/Methos stories are perfect encapsulations of one of the things I truly love about the Highlander universe: the characters. In particular, she writes Methos perfectly. (And for me, this is important, because - okay. I am the kind of HL fan that real HL fans probably hate and despise: I prefer Methos to Duncan. I'm sorry, I just do. Really, it's not my fault; he's just very interesting, so if anyone is to blame, it's Methos himself.)

So here we have this rare beast, an explicit Duncan/Methos story that I love to pieces. And why do I love it? Look, even if you don't know the fandom at all - which I didn't when I first read it, because I read everything Kat wrote early in my time in fandom, on account of I am not an idiot (although I had to take a break for a while after I read The End of the Road, because I tended to burst into tears whenever I saw her name) - it's impossible not to be fascinated by these people, by their actions, and most of all by the actual sense of age you get from them. (My number one desire in any story in HL: I want to believe the characters really are as old as they're supposed to be.) But once you - oh my god, why am I in the second person? I have creeping second personitis, and it will likely prove fatal, at least to this recs set - now that I do know something about the characters and the universe, this story is all the better. It answers two age-old questions: where does Methos go when he goes, and why? I mean, he's been everywhere, and he can't get bored that easily; in five thousand years, presumably you learn patience or you take up suicide as a hobby. And it features Duncan and Methos interacting in a way I totally believe. And it's wonderful. What more could you want?

The One That Proves That You Really Don't Want to Know What's Hiding in Some People's Closets, and That Goes Triple for Serially Immortal Alien Types. Nothing But Flowers, by Vali, aka violetisblue. Doctor Who, Doctor/Martha.

Recently, I have discovered a disturbing trend in myself. I actually discovered this while I was watching vids; I watched this Doctor Who vid that made the Doctor look, well, alien and kind of mad, bad, and crazy to know (and also likely to cause things to explode), and I thought: this is so awesome. In other words, I like my Doctor like I my coffee: completely foreign to me and really hard to take. (I, um, don't like coffee. I blame my maternal grandmother, who thought it would be deeply amusing to get a four-year-old to drink black coffee. "I love it!" she said. "It's very good. Try some." And so I did. I learned two things: first, coffee smells good but tastes like hot death. And, second, never trust old people when they're smiling.)

This story totally fulfills my need. (My alien Doctor need, that is.) The Doctor in this is far from perfect and certainly not entirely sane in human terms, but then, he isn't human. He has a TARDIS! He reincarnates! He collects unfortunate attire from all over the space-time continuum! He has no reason at all to meet our standards of reasonable mental functioning or make any sense to us at all, and I just love so much that in this story he doesn't.

But most of all, I love Martha in this story. I still haven't met Martha in the canon; I watched all of Nine (for me, this is a feat on par with climbing - oh, not quite K2, not a season of British television; more like Denali), fell into a black despair when I realized I would have to adjust to a whole new Doctor, and never returned to the show. So Martha is an unknown character to me. But in this story, I love her to death. She deals effectively with the Doctor's weirdness, and she's smart and human and funny. And she travels well, which is much more important than being well-traveled if you're going to hang out with the Doctor. And she shares my sincere belief in the importance of clean underwear. What's not to love?

The One That Features Every Man's Worst Nightmare: Having His Car Cheat on Him with His Girlfriend. Pieces of the Dead, by David Hines, aka hradzka. Transformers 2007, gen.

This is the most adorable death story ever.

No, wait. That came out wrong. Don't leave yet!

So, okay, first let me clear up the death issue. There's no character death here. It's more about how giant robot car alien things deal with death, and it is touching and sweet.

And while I'm on the topic of giant robot car alien things: you don't need to know anything about Transformers of any year whatsoever in order to read this story. Here's what I knew about Transformers prior to reading:
  1. They are robots, and also cars. (The alien thing was news to me, although I suppose I should not have been surprised. The concept behind this canon's creation appears to have been, "Hey! Let's take a lot of things that appeal to little boys in their individual parts, and then mix them up for a surefire runaway hit!")

  2. They had a cartoon and a movie and then, much later, another movie. Some people are still unhappy about the first movie, for reasons unknown to me. Some people are unhappy about the second. No one is unhappy about the cartoon that I know of, but I'm not exactly tapped into TransformerWorld or Transformista or whatever they call they their fansite, so maybe there are lots of seething fans who spend their days filled with active loathing for how everything went bad after the second season or whatever. Could totally be!
My point is: that's it. That's all I knew. I didn't know anything about the characters, for example.

Didn't matter. This story's world is complete and entire and perfect without any background knowledge, and frankly there's more depth and interest and realness in this story than I ever expected from, well, giant robot car alien things. Plus, there's a road trip in a sentient semi. It doesn't get much more awesome than that.

The One That Is Definitive Proof That Yes, Things Could Always Be Worse. I Mean, Really, Are Life-Sucking Aliens So Bad? All These Places We Have Met, by toft_froggy. Stargate: Atlantis, Rodney McKay/John Sheppard.

For an alternate universe junkie, this is the ultimate hit, and I am an alternate universe junkie, so I love this story to pieces. I don't even mind that the ending is a killer. (Not, you know, in an OTP-breaking way. But, yeah, this is a story with quite a sting in it.) This is just - it's fabulous, and I'm afraid of spoiling it, so I will just say: there are many worlds in this story, and if I had henchmen, I would totally send them to abduct toft_froggy and force her to write full stories for each one of these universes. The henchmen would require happy endings for each story. But we would be extremely kind to her, I swear.

(Actually, if I had the resources, I would totally start a fan fiction writer farm. Inscribed over the door of each set of private quarters (en suite, with full internet and cable access) would be our slogan: "Write write write write write write write, and there will be pudding on Wednesday."

It's probably a good thing I am not the evil overlord of the universe. Once, Best Beloved asked me what I would do if I ruled the world, and I outlined for her my extensive and detailed plans for salad mines, and after she stopped laughing, she said, "It's a little bit scary that you had that ready, like you'd been planning it for years." But doesn't everyone have her evil overlord plans all geared up and ready in case of sudden universe takeovers? Or is that just me? Warning: if you say it's just me, I will totally put your name down on the list of people who will be working in the salad mines when I am Empress.)

Anyway, this story is deeply amazing and good and, and, I cannot say anything more. Just read it, really.
 
 
 
some nouns and the occasional propositionainsley on November 15th, 2007 06:17 am (UTC)
Not just you, at all.

Though I grant that the world needs a different evil overlord (or *gasp* an un-evil one!). You can have my vote, as long as you keep me in porn.
tried to eat the safe banana: Porn for all!thefourthvine on November 17th, 2007 03:01 am (UTC)
That is why we will have a fan fiction writer farm. There will be PORN FOR ALL when I rule the world. Also salads for all. Porn and salads: these are the cornerstones of my future empire.

I think you can agree it will last for the ages.
Anoel: hl duncan/methos jimmy by beeejanoel on November 15th, 2007 06:39 am (UTC)
You recced Strata!! That's in my top five favorite fics (along with two other katallison fics, one you mentioned here and one you recced before) and it's just so amazing and includes so many great elements. Even though I'm more about the sex (oh, who can blame me?), I love Methos the most and I don't think "real HL fans" mind that. It's the one's who don't like Duncan and think he's judgemental and only watch Methos episodes that aren't as appreciated. I love how they interact as well and it has such a real, relaxing quality to it. And the "sex scene" that's there which I hesitate to call it that because it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. And it has a lesson that resonates and helps me deal with life! And I always, always think of it whenever I see or hear about the Grand Canyon. God, I love that fic.

I think Dwight from The Office also has evil overlord plans all worked out. But this is also the guy who has plans for if he was serial killer and not the Dexter kind. I have a very vague idea but nothing beyond that.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on November 17th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC)
Strata is indeed an amazing story. I love it dearly. *pauses to reflect on the beauty and wonder that is that story* (Although I have to admit, I feel like I basically said, in this set, the equivalent of: "Hey everybody, there's this awesome book I just read! It's called Pride and Prejudice, by this hot Jane Austen chick, and you should totally read it! It ROCKS!" I mean, is there a point to recommending the classics? Everyone has already read Pride and Prejudice, and I suspect the same is true of Strata.)

It's the one's who don't like Duncan and think he's judgemental and only watch Methos episodes that aren't as appreciated.

Keep in mind here that I don't watch TV basically much at all. I've seen like four episodes of HL. They all had Methos in them, I think. I'm, um, probably precisely the HL fan the listmoms warn you about.

I think Dwight from The Office also has evil overlord plans all worked out. But this is also the guy who has plans for if he was serial killer and not the Dexter kind.

Have they considered getting Dwight therapy? Evil overlord plans, sure - I think we can all agree that these are fine and healthy things to have - but I worry about anyone who is all, "When I am a serial killer, I will totally go after left-handed people who type more than 110 WPM. The police will never suspect!" (Or, you know, whatever it is that Dwight is planning.) I'm just saying: possibly he has some issues he needs to work out.
(no subject) - anoel on November 17th, 2007 03:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - stop on February 22nd, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostleslilacsigil on November 15th, 2007 06:49 am (UTC)
never trust old people when they're smiling.
By the same mechanism that created your hatred of coffee (grandmother, impressionable child, beverage) I am a teetotaller. The beverage in question was brandy.

And that Transformers story is awesome!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on November 19th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
By the same mechanism that created your hatred of coffee (grandmother, impressionable child, beverage) I am a teetotaller.

Old people are mean sometimes. I think that's the take-home lesson here.

And that Transformers story is awesome!

It is indeed; I love it to bits even though my only knowledge of . When I am queen, David will stop wasting his time on having a life and engaging in meaningful work and just WRITE.
Bettybrown_betty on November 15th, 2007 06:58 am (UTC)
Eeeee! Isn't it adorableness? It is!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on November 19th, 2007 03:45 am (UTC)
It is adorableness incarnate. And I would totally find out more about the canon, but after that story, the canon could only disappoint.
torch: wtf.flambeau on November 15th, 2007 07:01 am (UTC)
...salad mines?
vito_excalibur on November 15th, 2007 07:22 am (UTC)
You find vegetables in the dirt, right? Q.E.D.


Man, I wish you hadn't recced "All These Places We Have Met." Because, see, I know that story. And that story is so good that when you reminded me of it I had to go read it again. And now I have to sob myself to sleep, and really, it's not like I needed more gut-wrenching sorrow in my life at the moment. :P
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 19th, 2007 03:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 19th, 2007 03:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - flambeau on November 20th, 2007 07:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
You're out of adventures :(claire on November 15th, 2007 08:04 am (UTC)
I have extensive plans for world domination. I even have Venn Diagrams.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV umbrellathefourthvine on November 19th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)
(The truly sad part of this is that I read your comment and thought, "Why don't I have a Venn Diagrams icon?" And to think once I claimed I didn't NEED icons.)

I would enjoy seeing your plans for world domination and accompanying visual aids. Perhaps we can cobble together sort of an uber-plan. Is there room in your world domination plans for salad?
Sal Shearer: TF - Megatron/Starscreamsaldemonium on November 15th, 2007 08:23 am (UTC)
People are unhappy with the first Transformers movie, because they used it as a vehicle to kill off all the original characters, including Optimus Prime, and to replace them with a new bunch of characters. It was very obviously done just to sell new toys, since everyone already had all the toys of the old characters. I can remember sitting in the theatre /sobbing/ when Prime died. It was devastating to a young kid. The whole damn theatre was bawling. For a kids movie, it was brutal. The first half is non-stop death. I still tear up when the 'Death of Optimus Prime' from the soundtrack comes up in my iPod's shuffle. Yeah, I know, I'm a freak.

People are unhappy with the second movie, because they changed so much from the cartoon. The look of most of the Decepticons is all wrong, and damn ugly. I hate what they did to Starscream. And one of the big reasons, and one that irks me personally, is while they used the original voice actor (Peter Cullen) for Optimus Prime, (thank Christ!), they didn't use the original actor (Frank Welker) for Megatron. Bizarrely, they used Hugo Weaving for the movie, but Frank Welker for the prologue DVD and for the game.

And I'm sure that's more then you ever wanted to know about it all. Heh. =)
Admission to the Burning Ruins — 10¢: Flash Gordon  -  Flaming Rocket of Lurvelaughingacademy on November 15th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
People are unhappy with the first Transformers movie, because they used it as a vehicle to kill off all the original characters, including Optimus Prime, and to replace them with a new bunch of characters.

On the other hand, the movie also gave us Orson Welles as Unicron, the giant planet-eating robot.
(no subject) - saldemonium on November 15th, 2007 11:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - odditycollector on November 20th, 2007 07:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pedanther on November 17th, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - saldemonium on November 17th, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - pedanther on November 19th, 2007 12:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - saldemonium on November 19th, 2007 12:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 19th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - laughingacademy on November 19th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - saldemonium on November 19th, 2007 11:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Karen: Free Choiceodditycollector on November 15th, 2007 08:39 am (UTC)
In which it is nice I have friends that humour me!
karen: Randomly: Digger. Awesome or SO AWESOME?
karen: I think SO AWESOME is correct!
betty: SO AWESOME
karen: WE HAVE CONSENSUS
betty: It's by acclamation voted SO AWESOME
karen: OMG, Ozy and Millie, also SO AWESOME.
karen: I think I am in a mood.
...
karen: Hey! TFV posted!
karen: TFV: SO AWESOME y/y?
betty: Y!
karen: *luves the title for PotD*
karen: it is awesome.
tried to eat the safe banana: Cute but poutythefourthvine on November 19th, 2007 04:01 am (UTC)
Re: In which it is nice I have friends that humour me!
...I kind of envy your chats. Awesome or SO AWESOME sounds like the ideal game, particularly the web comics edition.

Also, does this mean I can use a Voted Awesome icon or button for my userinfo or similar? Because if so, I will look into getting that. I would like to be awesome for all to see!
Oooh, pretty: Fundamentalist Psycho Bellatrixnailfile on November 15th, 2007 10:38 am (UTC)
Ya know, i watched the new Transformers movie, i have vague recollections of the toys from the 80s - but it took one of your recs to show me the awesomeness. I'm reading through, thinking this probably wasn't the time to attempt a new fandom, and suddenly sentient cars = coolest thing ever.

Also, alien Doctor vid - link please?
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV glowythefourthvine on November 21st, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)
I'm reading through, thinking this probably wasn't the time to attempt a new fandom, and suddenly sentient cars = coolest thing ever.

I know! I blame David. He made this whole robot alien car thing appealing enough that I would totally Netflix the movie, except that I fear greatly that nothing there would be even a tenth as awesome as the story. This is the down side of excellent fan fiction: it can ruin you for the canon.

Also, alien Doctor vid - link please?

Sadly, I'm not on the computer that has my vid hard drive attached to it. But I will totally link you to it when I am on that computer, because I admire it greatly.
(no subject) - cellia on January 2nd, 2008 01:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
plus one skeletondelurker on November 15th, 2007 01:27 pm (UTC)
Transformers! ♥
tried to eat the safe banana: I sleep with computers.thefourthvine on November 21st, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
*curious* Is the heart for the canon or the story? (If the story, obviously I agree with you. If the canon - well, I'm finding it fascinating just how many Transformers fans there are in my neck of the fannish woods. Obviously this robot alien car thing was a winning concept.)
perspi on November 15th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
Hi, I'm from a little fandom corner known as the House fandom, and I'm new to SGA fic. I wanted to thank you for your lovely recs (I've been slowly working my way back through them), as SGA fandom is so intimidatingly enormous (and if 'intimidatingly' isn't a word, it should be!).

You sometimes say something like, "I wasn't sure if I should rec this because everybody's probably read it already," and I'm here to tell you, not everybody, because your recs were the first time I'd been directed to some of these fics, and I thank you heartily for that. Also? If I ever go insane decide to dip into yet another fandom, I will be sure to check your rec tags first, to see if you rec it, so then I can get to great fic fast. :)
josikajosika on November 15th, 2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
I can say basically the same thing. With one exception - I went insane and I dipped into another fandom, just because of TFV recs. Her recs are so good, I seriously considered translating them into my mother language.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on November 21st, 2007 03:56 am (UTC) (Expand)
gwynevere1 on November 15th, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
This is the song that never ends,
Yes, it goes on and on my friends
Some people started singing it, not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue singing it forever just because—
This is the song that never ends,
Yes, it goes on and on my friends


Is "Tomorrow" out of your head now?


Also, can we get you as a consultant to every showrunner out there? The fact that you haven't seen all of the canon is entirely besides the point: You seem to have a better understanding of characterization and tone than the vast majority of professionals.
tried to eat the safe banana: Musicthefourthvine on November 21st, 2007 04:05 am (UTC)
I don't know the tune for that song. But I bet that if I did, that would totally take care of all past, present, and future earworms.

Also, can we get you as a consultant to every showrunner out there?

Sadly, my advice would probably be along the lines of, "Oh my god, people, could we have consistent characterization from one episode to the next? Or at least consistent tone? You're making me TWITCHY." and "You can't do that. That's the stupidest plot device ever, and keep in mind I have no problems whatsoever with aliens making people have sex AND turning them into bunnies. My standards aren't high, but you're not meeting them, here." I would be killed inside of two weeks.

It would sure be a fun two weeks, though.

*dreams*
Rhi: Methos run awaygryphonrhi on November 15th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, "Strata" is in my top twenty favorite HL fics -- I'm so glad you recommended it here! (And if you like 'Where does Methos go?' fics try tarshaan's "Renewal.")

Edited at 2007-11-15 05:53 pm (UTC)
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV lettersthefourthvine on November 21st, 2007 04:06 am (UTC)
Hmmm. Do you have a list of your top twenty HL stories anywhere? Because I would be very interested in seeing that, if you do.

And thanks for the rec! *hops off to read*
(no subject) - gryphonrhi on November 21st, 2007 04:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
tofttoft_froggy on November 15th, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
Whee! Recced! *dances recced dance of joy*

Also, salad mines!? I mean, okay, yes, have a plan, but why salad mines? I'd make it so that every single building had fake floors of impact-proof glass with mini-aquariums under them so you could alwyas be looking under your feet and see fish.
tried to eat the safe banana: The world is my fandomthefourthvine on November 21st, 2007 04:15 am (UTC)
I'm willing to work with the aquarium plan. It's excellent, and it will mesh nicely with my iron rule of porn and salads. You could totally be Evil Architecture Overlord in my administration, except that you will be in the fan fiction writer farm. But I will see to it that you have your own aquarium floor!

And of COURSE salad mines. I don't understand why people seem resistant to the concept. See, because of the salads component of my two-prong plan for evil overlording, we will need a lot of salad stuff when I am Empress. More than can be feasibly grown on the ground alone. So there will be tunnels, and in those tunnels will be UV lamps and watering systems and all the enemies of my regime (dissenters, people I don't like, salad heretics), making salads for all. I will suppress the evildoers AND bring crisp fresh lettuce (of many varieties) to the people. (As well as tomatoes, celery, scallions, bell peppers, and assorted other salad components. It's a caring regime, with room for many types of salad urges.)
The Dreaded Dragon Aderam: horizon - waiting4morningaderam on November 15th, 2007 11:04 pm (UTC)
When you say salad mines there are two things that pop into my head.

1. Seven dwarfs descending into dark caverns in order to extract wilted pieces of lettuce.

And

2. Mines, the kind that explode. But this time they're flinging that same wilted lettuce (and maybe a tomato or two, some dressing, you know) instead of shrapnel.

I'm not sure I want to know what you really mean by salad mines.

And in unrelated news I don't think you're weird for liking Methos more than Duncan. I love Duncan, but he's just so predictable. Besides, I think Methos was my very first actor-crush (think because my brain is squishy on the childhood memories side of things). In short, I like Methos better too!
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on November 21st, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
I'm not sure I want to know what you really mean by salad mines.

I mean, you know, mines. For salad. See, because of the salads component of my two-prong plan for evil overlording, we will need a lot of salad stuff when I am Empress. More than can be feasibly grown on the ground alone. So there will be tunnels, and in those tunnels will be UV lamps and watering systems and all the enemies of my regime (dissenters, people I don't like, salad heretics), making salads for all. I will suppress the evildoers AND bring crisp fresh lettuce (of many varieties) to the people.

And there will be no wilted lettuce. Certainly not. That would be a tragedy. And I would probably have to behead someone, and I don't want to have to do that.

In short, I like Methos better too!

*joins you in celebrating the many wonders of Methos*

You know, people always told me Methos was the ultimate little black dress of fandom, but I never really understood until I started reading in HL. He really is ideal for every occasion, isn't he?