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05 August 2008 @ 09:25 pm
181: A General Flavor  
My apologies to people who saw an unfinished version of this on their friends list. Um, it's been a while since I did this; I've lost the knack.

And it really has been a while. But, in my defense, I had a baby. And babies are not so conducive to prolonged sessions of typing, I find. But the earthling is older, and I'm hoping to get back to a more regular recommendations posting schedule. (At this point, once every blue moon, as opposed to every other, would qualify as more regular. But with dedication, I believe I can achieve once every full moon, maybe!)

The One That Made Me Want a Crossover Between Hikaru no Go and SG1. Teal'c v. Touya Meijin! Fine, Fine. I Accept That I Am the Only Person on the Planet Who Wants That. But I Want It Enough for Everyone. Teal'c's Five Favorite Board Games, by paian. Stargate SG-1.

I love the corners of people's personal canon - love it when someone, for example, reveals in a story that she firmly believes that Rodney McKay knows how to knit. (He learned during one long summer month spent in his own personal hell, a cottage by the sea with only a few books and a TV that didn't even get cable; his parents told him to they were all there to relax, but in fact they spent the entire month fighting, and Rodney couldn't sleep with the sea noise and the constant whirring of his understimulated brain, until he finally picked up one of the books - a crafting book from the 1970s with a terrifying picture on the cover - and taught himself to knit. They don't have yarn and needles in Atlantis, and he's always too busy, until the day he gets an eye injury on a mission and is forbidden to read or look at a computer for two weeks. But that's another story.) I love it, basically, when fan fiction writers fill in the details that make people people - the little idiosyncrasies that make them real.

And that's exactly what this story is. The thing is, I never thought of Teal'c in connection with board games until I read this story. And now these five games are a part of my personal Teal'c canon, because they make so much sense and they're so very real and right. And, let's face it, Teal'c isn't necessarily overexplored by the canon writers of SG1, so this really works. I find the Snakes and Ladders one particularly moving, for some reason, but they are all so very perfect.

And there are pictures. Oh my god, do not miss the pictures.

The One That Made Me Want to Send a Letter of Complaint to the Author: "Please Write Less Well. I Need to Sleep. Love and Kisses!" The Kids Aren't All Right, by samdonne. Iron Man.

First and foremost: I love this story for getting the title right. I don't care what The Who thinks, "all right" is two words and ever shall be, and do not speak to me of popular usage. In this case, if everyone is doing it, then everyone is just wrong. (You may be thinking that this is where TFV gets unreasonable, and all I have to say to that is: wait until you hear me talk about the use of "presently.")

Except that's not actually what I love most about this story. (Those of you who don't know me very well are now saying to yourselves, "Oh good, she's sane." Those of you who do know me are staring at the screen in absolute disbelief and saying, "That isn't what she loves best? I...is this the same TFV? Is she feeling okay? Maybe I should call her." You totally should call me, for the record, but I am fine. The story is just so good that it transcends mere considerations of good grammar and correct spelling. And, wow, I feel like a stranger to myself, writing that.) What I love most about it is - well, everything. This is so good that I actually stayed up late to finish it the day it was posted, which seems like faint praise indeed until you consider that I had a two-week-old baby at that point and was so sleep deprived I couldn't consistently remember his name. (This is actually an ongoing problem. For reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, we have taken to calling him Squishy, although that is in no way his name. If you ever want to do a comprehensive study of peculiar looks, try calling your new baby Squishy in public.) And yet. I had to finish this.

Why? Well, okay, it's a brilliant example of what might actually happen after the events of the movie, and I'm kind of a sucker for that sort of coming out story, where people don't get to piddle around with secret identities and pretending to be normal and convenient phone booths; I like it when exceptional people have to face the consequences of being exceptional. I am almost faint with love for this story, because it acknowledges that there is likely to be some fallout from, you know, giant mecha duking it out over Los Angeles. (Bad traffic jams, for one. And if you don't think that's a serious consequence meriting a Congressional investigation, you don't live here, that's all.) But this story is also brilliant meta, brilliant commentary on the movie and on our current political climate. And it's done in authentic Vanity Fair style, a classic example of document fan fiction.

I could not love this story more. And I know nearly everyone in fandom has read it, but I'm speaking to the two lone holdouts: read this. Even if you haven't seen the movie. Read it.

The One That Makes Written Sword Fights Compelling. This Is Akin to Making Tax Law Compelling, and Suggests That the Author Can Achieve the Impossible. Gogmagog, Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four, by Sylvia Volk, aka sylviavolk2000. Highlander.

Okay, I need to say something right up front: if you know anything about archeology (and certainly if you spent a semester painstakingly digging up eensy teeny fragments of shells from a trashheap, and when I say "painstakingly," I mean that you can still feel it in your lower back when the wind blows from the southwest), you will scream during the first part of this story. Be strong. Power through it. The rest of the story is worth it. (And some day I am doing a poll about this, about the things we know that make it harder for us to read stories or watch shows or whatever. Like, Best Beloved will shriek and flail and pause a lot during any scene involving bad management - you could seriously run an entire management class just by having the students gather round her while she watched season one of SGA. Although they would have to be froth-resistant students. And people who know me flinch any time a psychiatrist shows up on screen, because - well. You'd think, with all the time they apparently spend in therapy, that writers could write an ethical therapist occasionally. (Yes, I do have a mental list of Good Therapists in Fiction. It is short but detailed.) And I just think it's fascinating, the lenses through which we consume our entertainment, and the knowledge we can't suspend even during happy fun playtime.)

So. That was a tangent. My point is: this story is like settling down with a novel. It's long, it's involving, and you don't need to know the characters or the world in advance, or at least not beyond what you'd get from the back of a book. And, in fact, this story is one of the ones that inspired me to watch Highlander, and also kind of ruined me for it; I was like, "But I want the long, plotty, multilayered, well-researched stories! Oh...right. You can't do that on television." So, if you've got, you know, a vacation or anything coming up, I totally recommend taking this, printing it out, and bringing it along. You could put it between the covers of Ethan Fromme if you don't want anyone to know you're reading fan fiction; no one has ever voluntarily opened that novel. (Except Best Beloved, but she's learned the error of her ways.)

And even if you don't have a vacation coming up, read this. It's fun.

The One That Makes Me Want to Find the "What Is the Shape of Your Left Foot?" Quiz. And Take It. Truly, This Story Is a Dangerous Weapon of Mass Distraction. I Friend You, You Friend Him, by roga. Hercules.

So true it hurts, that's all I have to say about this story.

I sincerely hope you're laughing at that sentence, because of course I have several thousand more words of analysis. (I will attempt to spare you most of them, but it's always a close-run thing.) But the essential message here is that this is in fact so true it hurts, and the specific pain it inflicts is in your abdominal and face muscles, because you have to laugh and laugh and laugh.

And you may be saying to yourself, "But I don't know anything about this fandom!" Fine, whatever. I don't care. You know who Hercules is, yes? (Demigod. All burly and shiny and stuff. Rights wrongs. Fights injustice. Cleans stables.) Well, he has a friend named Iolaus, and together they fight crime, where "crime" usually means gods acting up and monsters getting out of line. There. You have a full education in everything you need to know to read this story.

Or, okay, you need to know one other thing to read this, but, well. If you're reading this, you already know about social networking, and that's what this story is really about. Anyone with a LiveJournal (or Facebook, or MySpace, or, hell, an account on a knitting-based social networking site) needs to read this. It's an important cautionary tale! That will make you laugh until you are flailing weakly in front of the computer and seriously considering calling for emergency rescue. ("9-1-1, what is your emergency?" "Dead. From. Funny.") And if you happen to be relatively new to the social networking scene, this can teach you valuable lessons. Probably the most important one is "stay away from social networking unless you want to destroy your village," but, well, it's too late for most of us on that one. (And if it isn't too late for you, may I interest you in a LiveJournal account? You'll have lots of fun while you're village is falling apart, I promise!")

Bonus: The Art That Will Show You Who the Real Heroes of Pegasus Are. SGA-1? Pfffft. Final Images, by astridv. Stargate: Atlantis.

Poor, poor MALPs. They lead a hard life. And, going by this art, I suspect they also lead rather short lives. John Sheppard? Ronon Dex? Hah. Their so-called "heroism" is built on the backs of the oppressed, and by "the oppressed", I mean MALPs. MALPs are the ones who actually boldly go where no one has gone before! And do they ever get thanked? No. They don't even get any screen time. But astridv has managed to correct that. People, please go inspect these heart-rending final images sent back by five brave, doomed MALPs. And then won't you join the Campaign for MALP Rights? Together, we can fight the injustice inflicted on our MALPy friends across two galaxies.
 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
tried to eat the safe banana: Daisythefourthvine on August 6th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
A sampler:

Oddly enough, the therapist played by Carrie Fisher in the first Austin Powers movie is just about perfect for a group leader. She has the intonation and the rephrasing down perfectly. That's one of the best therapists I've ever seen onscreen in terms of sheer accuracy of portrayal.

In Scrubs, Dr. Cox has a shrink in - hmmm. Second season, I think? That guy is good. He deals with a difficult patient well, deals with a boundary rupture well, and knows when to terminate therapy.

In the Thomas Crowne Affair (remake), Crowne's therapist is good. Ethical is a little questionable, but definitely good.

Now, let's make a big long list of all the therapists who I want to SMACK.
fuck you, internet porn will save the worldimpactbomb on August 6th, 2008 04:59 am (UTC)
I swear to God if Herc were still being made as a series today, that story would have seriously happened in an episode.
tried to eat the safe banana: Crackthefourthvine on August 6th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
And if it had, I would fall over dead from joy. Except I really think no one could write this as well as Roga, so. Maybe it's better this way.
Rozasharnrozasharn on August 6th, 2008 05:50 am (UTC)
"I don't care what The Who thinks, "all right" is two words and ever shall be, and do not speak to me of popular usage."

In that case, have you already seen the first comic strip on this page? It's a standalone strip, you don't need to know the characters to figure out what they're talking about.
tried to eat the safe banana: Words.thefourthvine on August 6th, 2008 02:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you for pointing me to that! That's an awesome strip. (Hey, I can laugh at myself.) And I am totally with the one guy. It's JUST NOT RIGHT.
(no subject) - paceus on August 7th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Lu (Not Your Average Retelling)elucreh on August 6th, 2008 05:52 am (UTC)
As regards what I can't turn my blinkers on for?

Childcare. Not as much parenting, but teaching and nannying? If you are acting in a professional capacity in raising that child, please do not indulge his tantrums. It bothers me in parenting, too, but I'm a little immune because half the parents of my students are damn idiots. So I know it's true to life.

Also I cannot stand by and watch people apply the morals of modern American culture to historical Asian cultures, or any other culture that widely differs from modern America. I had to watch Mulan II, and the only way I kept myself from breaking the disk (which did not belong to me) was to write viciously erotic femmeslash between Mulan and the most interesting of the princesses. Which, okay, probably was not very culturally aware, but it felt like revenge on the movie makers at the time.
tried to eat the safe banana: Cute but poutythefourthvine on August 6th, 2008 02:47 pm (UTC)
Not as much parenting, but teaching and nannying? If you are acting in a professional capacity in raising that child, please do not indulge his tantrums.

Yes, that makes me cringe. Of course, it makes me cringe in real life, too. Operant conditioning, people! Realize what behaviors you're shaping! (No, I am in no way a specialist with children. Just. I've trained dogs. Difficult ones. You'd be surprised how much there is in common there.)

Also I cannot stand by and watch people apply the morals of modern American culture to historical Asian cultures, or any other culture that widely differs from modern America.

I can (usually) suspend disbelief by tellin myself it's a fantasy world that just happens to look like 13th-century Asia or whatever. But, yes. Moral absolutism plays well on the screen, I guess, but so much does not work in my head.
Very inconvenient, as now I have no shaving-glassdzurlady on August 6th, 2008 05:52 am (UTC)
And I know nearly everyone in fandom has read it, but I'm speaking to the two lone holdouts: read this. Even if you haven't seen the movie. Read it.
Worth reading even if you haven't seen the movie but still plan to?

Also: OMG, a link to an online version of Senet! I lost my version when I upgraded my computer. Highlander sounds cool, but I'm currently resisting the temptation to start reading novels and long fic because I don't have the time right now. :( I love the MALP art, though.

Edited at 2008-08-06 06:10 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: 12 Apostleslilacsigil on August 6th, 2008 06:10 am (UTC)
It has spoilers for the movie, so it will depend on how much of a spoiler-phobe you are. If you're not worried about spoilers, it does add another level to the movie.
(no subject) - thefourthvine on August 6th, 2008 02:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
[3] The "other" in question was a snake.phnelt on August 6th, 2008 06:51 am (UTC)
omg. Teal'c vs. Touya, that would be--omg (*pa-chi* *pa-chi* indeed.)

I'm pretty sure I had other thoughts, because these stories are definitely awesome and deserve much love and adoration. But mostly I'm just going to be sitting over here with that beautiful mental image. Don't mind me.
tried to eat the safe banana: Gothefourthvine on August 6th, 2008 02:51 pm (UTC)
Teal'c vs. Touya, that would be--omg (*pa-chi* *pa-chi* indeed.)

I tell you. I want that crossover so much. Touya Meijin needs a good opponent. And he and Teal'c would have so much to not talk about.

But mostly I'm just going to be sitting over here with that beautiful mental image.

Yeah. I'm right there with you.
I'm not fluent in your dialect of crazy: ganesha dancing - liviapenndine on August 6th, 2008 07:27 am (UTC)
greetings to you and Squishy! I'm sure by the time he's 22 or so, you'll have managed to remember his name occasionally, or at least given him a really interesting complex. here's hoping you, BB and Squishy continue to adjust to life together - at times it seems (to a non-parent) that parenting is an especially harsh version of Survivor

but I'm speaking to the two lone holdouts: read this. Even if you haven't seen the movie. Read it.

ok, as one of those two holdouts, I promise I will read this story within the next few days - depending on my workload (because long stories are clearly meant for work, right?), possibly even tomorrow. but if I don't enjoy it, I'm suing.

the knowledge we can't suspend even during happy fun playtime.) this makes me wary of the HL story, as I spent a summer shovel-bumming on an Indian mound dig, (mostly hot, dirty and tedious) but I believe in you enough to give the story a try. plus, I think I may have read an XF novel by her at one point which was v. v. good.

I keep stumbling across these triggers, I find - historical (esp. details of daily life), animals (guide dogs, farm critters), kidfic with unrealistically precocious children, and all sorts of general crap that somehow differs from what I 'know'
tried to eat the safe banana: Adult nowthefourthvine on August 7th, 2008 12:29 am (UTC)
I'm sure by the time he's 22 or so, you'll have managed to remember his name occasionally, or at least given him a really interesting complex.

I'm sure the complex will be one of many. (When this generation of kids grows up, there will be a whole new trauma: the "my parent(s) blogged about my entire life" trauma. The earthling will probably be in group for that from the time he's 8.)

but if I don't enjoy it, I'm suing.

Understood. But can we rephrase that to, "If I don't think it's amazing, I'm suing"?

this makes me wary of the HL story, as I spent a summer shovel-bumming on an Indian mound dig, (mostly hot, dirty and tedious) but I believe in you enough to give the story a try.

I have done my time grimly brushing away sand from itsy bitsy pot shards. And, well. I'm not saying the beginning of this story won't hurt. I'm just saying - sometimes the pain is worth it, you know? Especially if you like long, plotty stories. Or Methos. (And if you don't like Methos, oh my god WHY NOT?)

I keep stumbling across these triggers

I have so, so many of them, starting with "Science doesn't WORK THAT WAY" (and this particular trigger is nailed by, oh, basically every SF movie and TV show ever, plus many others) and moving through "Medicine doesn't WORK THAT WAY" and of course the ever popular "Oh my god will someone FILE A COMPLAINT on this therapist? S/He SHOULD NOT BE PRACTICING." And now I have acquired a management trigger, too, thanks to Best Beloved. And so on. It's very sad. *woeface*
cimness on August 6th, 2008 07:41 am (UTC)
A scary thing to consider is that it's possible a majority of writers have had experiences only with bad therapy!
Roga: cookiesroga on August 6th, 2008 09:06 am (UTC)
Eeee, thank you so much for the rec! I've been following your recs for... ever? ...and am totally psyched to actually be on the list. The fic was actually inspired by this song , which if you don't know, you totally should.

And also, thanks so much for the Iron Man rec! As one of the two people living under a rock I hadn't read it yet, and really, the only possible reaction is holy fucking wow.
macey muse: going placesmacey_muse on August 6th, 2008 11:33 am (UTC)
(Here just to say - no, no, I too want an SG-1/HnG cross. That would be -awesome-. And in his post-retirement touring years, 's not unlikely that Touya-sensei visited the US as well as China and Korea...)
M.samdonne on August 6th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)
Many thanks for the recommendation.

You're the first to remark on the title, and I have to confess that my grammatical-correctness in this instance had a hidden purpose: to play shamelessly on the double meaning. Not only are the "kids" not okay, most of them aren't right, either.
gwynevere1 on August 6th, 2008 01:49 pm (UTC)
Gosh, I've *missed* these. To the point where I was saying to myself, "How dare thefourthvine go and have a baby and a life in the real world and not be around to constantly feed my addiction to fictional characters and a virtual world!" Then, the men in white coats came and took me away in a padded van.
Astridastridv on August 6th, 2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you kindly for the rec :o)
resonant8 on August 6th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
(And some day I am doing a poll about this, about the things we know that make it harder for us to read stories or watch shows or whatever.

Oh, man. Ask me why I try to stay away from stories and movies involving (1) journalists or (2) parenting.
Pun: Anniepun on August 6th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on having a baby!

And thank you for the recs.