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09 January 2009 @ 03:25 pm
185: Shielding Ourselves from the Sordid Perils of Actual Existence  
It's the new year! And I don't know about you, but at this time every year I find myself kind of - not overloaded on fan fiction, no. I could never be that. But dithering helplessly, picking up first this amazingly awesome SGA story and then that incredible Oz story and then, oh my god, thousands of stories, many in fandoms so small that they weren't technically fandoms until December 25th. I mean, right now I have more than two hundred tabs open in my LJ window. (And that does not include Yuletide stories.) Any more and my computer is going to find a way to shock me every time I off-click on something.

At times like this, I find myself looking lovingly at my fanart tag. Things that do not require hours of earthling-free time to appreciate! Things that are shiny and pretty and mostly textless when my brain is approaching critical mass of text!

And then, a few days ago, Best Beloved pointed out that perhaps I'm not the only one feeling this way. Perhaps we'd all like to have a balanced breakfast of pictures and words. I, of course, was stunned by this idea, because change always confuses me.

Me: A whole set of art? I'm pretty sure that's against the rules.
Best Beloved: ...You make the rules.
Me: But they're for everyone's sanity!
Best Beloved: I don't think being linked to four pieces of art is going to break anyone's brain.
Me: Well. I guess not anyone who wouldn't have broken anyway.
Best Beloved: So you'll do an art recs set?
Me, taking a deep, brave breath: Yes! I will! For I embrace new things!
Best Beloved, humoring me: Of course you do.
Best Beloved, under her breath: Just like a killer whale embraces a cactus.

The One That I Am Considering Printing out to Read to the Earthling. Surely Something This Wonderful Would Be a Good Influence on My Child. Don't Let Kowalski Interview the Perp!, by catwalksalone. Due South.

Those of you who have not spent a lot of quality time with a small child and the pigeon books might perhaps not appreciate the awesomeness of this. Except, no, I tell a lie: you SO will. (Although you should read the pigeon books anyway. How often do you get to shriek "NO!" at a children's book?)

This is one of those ideas that would never in a million years occur to me, but that cause me to stare at my computer screen, stunned stupid by the sheer glimmering brilliance and perfection, when someone else thinks them up. I mean, it's so right. Kowalski is maybe the only character in any of my fandoms who could stand in for the pigeon. (I mean, sure, Jack O'Neill plays Don't Let Daniel Die in Whatever Crazy-Ass Way He Wants to Today at least once a week, but Daniel just doesn't vibrate with feeling the way Kowalski and the pigeon do. And I'm pretty sure the bus driver and company got left behind in the Milky Way, because no one ever manages to keep Team Shep from doing stupid stuff. Actually, a lot of my fandoms could use a bus driver, come to think of it.) He and the pigeon would bond on many topics if they met - and, oh my god, I just imagined the companion book, wherein the pigeon investigates a crime. I may never be the same now. Also, my brain is filled with unfortunate crossovers. (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Mountie, Blue Chicago Cop. Dick and Jane Go to Pegasus. How Do Nazgul Say Goodnight? Okay, I'm stopping now.)

I tell you one thing, though: the due South version of The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog could only go in one of two ways. One of them would star Diefenbaker. The other would be much too NC-17 for me to read to the earthling.

...And now I kind of want both of them. This could get to be a problem.

Anyway. My point is: it does not get better than this. Go! Read! Admire Kowalski in Fraser drag and Vecchio almost but not quite failing at network standards! Most of all, don't let Kowalski interview the perp!

The One That Has Given Me the Sad but Clear Knowledge That Darth Vader Was Not Nearly As Scary As He Could Have Been. (Actually, I Already Knew That. Just Imagine a Clown Sith Lord. Bet You're Scared Now, Huh?) Steampunk Star Wars, by Eric Poulton. Star Wars.

I really don't see what else I need to say. Steampunk Star Wars: if you have any sense at all, you've already clicked.

I especially commend you to the deeply disturbing Lord Vader. For some reason, when I look at him, I remember that my pediatrician when I was extremely wee had a giant, near-life-size poster of Darth Vader on the door of one of his examining rooms. I found it vaguely weird then, since I knew nothing of Star Wars and thought that he just...you know, wanted a picture of a big black robot thing for reasons best known to himself. Better not to ask why, was my thinking. But now I wonder: what message was he trying to send to his young, vulnerable, and impressionable patients? You're a weird one, Dr. Smith!

Also do not miss the gorgeously amazing Deathstar, which makes it very clear why Lucas did not choose this style for the actual deathstar (aside from, you know, lacking the awesomeness so to do): if it had looked like this, no one could have blown it up. The climactic scene would go like this:

Han: You're all clear, kid. Now let's blow this thing and go home.
Luke, whining: ...But it's so pretty.
Han: But it's going to destroy the rebel base!
Luke, sounding vaguely hypnotized and yet still whining: ...Shiiiiiny.
Han, thoughtfully: It sure is.
Chewbacca: ARRRRAARRR.
Han: Chewie says anyone who can build something that gorgeous deserves to rule the universe with an iron fist. And I agree with him.
Luke: Me, too. Disengaging.

And then, you know, the deaths of millions, planets go boom, Vader and the Emperor hand in hand into a future of steel and knives, the whole deal. So it couldn't look like that. But, oh, it's so, so beautiful that I almost wish it had.

The One That Spawns a Million Story Ideas Every Time I Look at It. Possibly You All Should Be Really Grateful That I No Longer Have Time to Write Self-Indulgent Epics. Alters #6: Supernatural, by vito_excalibur. Supernatural.

Sometimes, a picture is worth way more than a thousand words. This picture is a fucking epic. An epic I yearn to read, but in its absence, I will totally be happy to just stare at this picture for a week or two.

Because the thing is - there is one thing different in this picture, and it changes everything. Imagine these guys driving through small southern towns in their big black car with all manner of guns. Imagine these guys running credit card scams, and trying to talk their way into strangers' houses, and, you know, the other stuff that Dean and Sam do. (Sorry, we have reached the limit of my osmotic fannish knowledge.) It would be a whole different narrative, I'll tell you that for free.

You know what I love most about this picture? Okay. We have lots of stories about bodyswaps of all kinds: his brain, her body! Two brains with but a single body! The brain from an alternate universe! And then we have all the transformation stories: puppyfic! This is closer than I really wanted to get to my feminine (or masculine) side! Wait, I didn't used to have wings! - just all kinds. But I've never seen a bodyswap or transformation involving race. Maybe I haven't been looking in the right places, but this drawing makes me imagine, oh, Cordelia Chase (queen of white privilege!) in Charles Gunn's body (Gender, race, and body swap: the transformation trifecta! Also, she'd probably end up with Wesley macking on her - don't tell me Gunn and Wesley didn't get up to stuff - and then they'd all need years of therapy. More years of therapy, I mean.). It makes me want the universe where John Sheppard is a girl (John Sheppard is always a girl; science has proven this) and Rodney McKay is mixed race. (And maybe Teyla is a robot! Um, no, wait, that's my other fixation creeping in. Sorry, sorry. Bodyswap AUs should not cross with robot AUs. Unless someone is bodyswapping with a robot, in which case we know what happens: TFV dies of happiness.)

Or, of course, we could have the universe where Sam and Dean Winchester are brown. That'd be really damn awesome, don't you think?

The One That Proves, Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt, That Everything Is Cooler If You Add a Dirigible. Dirigibles Can Even Make Accordions Cool. Um. Maybe. Steampunk AU, by leyna55. Stargate: Atlantis.

You may consider, from this recs set, that I have a certain fondness for steampunk. And I do. But the thing is, I didn't pick this one. Picking just a single piece of art to rec in SGA is so hard that it's part of the reason I don't usually recommend art: I think, so much awesome to choose from in SGA, and then my head explodes and I die and it's very sad. To avoid that this time, I had Best Beloved pick from the short list (it...wasn't that short, actually). Even she had trouble, and keep in mind that it's part of her job to make difficult decisions quickly and then make sure everyone sincerely believes her decision is right, right, right.

It's just. All the choices were right in this case, including - and I consider this unfair - several works by leyna55. Way to make my life harder, leyna55! But, fine, whatever. I guess if you have to make great art, you just have to. I accept that.

Anyway. We (and by "we," I mean "Best Beloved") made a choice. And that choice is: steampunk AU.

And, seriously, just look at this! There's a whole story in this thing! (Of which rheanna27 has written a chapter, and I tell you what: I cry myself to sleep every night because there aren't more chapters still to read.) Look at Rodney's life signs detector, oh my god! Look at Teyla's stick! LOOK AT THE DIRIGIBLE! They have a DIRIGIBLE! Why is there not a canon that features a dirigible? With adventures? And suits and scarves and awesome hats? (And maybe a clockwork deathstar?) I would walk a country mile on my currently broken toe for that canon.

Instead, I will just admire this picture a lot more. And think deep thoughts, such as: I would pay cash money to see Teyla in that outfit for real. And clearly John has been missing his really neat silk scarf for five seasons now.

Steampunk Stargate. I mean, I kind of like the Vaguely Frank Lloyd Wright, Vaguely the Whim of the Producer's Nephew look they currently have going on, but this - well. Go! Look! Marvel!
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tried to eat the safe banana: Bookthefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
Mo Willems is indeed \o/! Possibly two Paul Grosses worth, in fact.

*makes note of Elephant & Piggy*
calligrafiti on January 10th, 2009 12:00 am (UTC)
Why is there not a canon that features a dirigible? With adventures? And suits and scarves and awesome hats?

There is a canon that features a dirigible (and nifty outfits). However, it's the canon for The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne, which, come to think of it, would make an awesome cross over and Rebecca and Teyla would make the most amazing femslashy duo ever.
tried to eat the safe banana: The world is my fandomthefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 03:56 am (UTC)
...Is it a good canon? Or, more to the point, given my non-canon-watching ways, are there good stories and vids for it?

*hopeful eyes*
(no subject) - rozasharn on January 10th, 2009 06:05 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - odditycollector on January 10th, 2009 10:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
Naraht: wire-Kimaemily_shore on January 10th, 2009 12:14 am (UTC)
Because the thing is - there is one thing different in this picture, and it changes everything. Imagine these guys driving through small southern towns in their big black car with all manner of guns. Imagine these guys running credit card scams, and trying to talk their way into strangers' houses, and, you know, the other stuff that Dean and Sam do.

Wow. So much word. You're absolutely right.

I'm dying to read that now, if there is anyone who could do the idea justice.
tried to eat the safe banana: women are superthefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 03:57 am (UTC)
I've been longing to read it for a long, long time, but I don't think anyone will write it. I can imagine it, looking at Vito's drawing, though.

*<3s Vito*
(no subject) - vito_excalibur on January 10th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
bleedtobluebleedtoblue on January 10th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
You know I worry about your lack of enthusiasm for the subject.

Thanks for the recs, as always.
tried to eat the safe banana: Loopy and loquaciousthefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 03:58 am (UTC)
I have enthusiasm for art! No, really! Just...I generally feel like I shouldn't rec it, is all. But, really, great enthusiasm; it's hard to imagine anyone being in SGA for a while and not learning to love fanart.
ficbyzee on January 10th, 2009 12:34 am (UTC)
Holy shit, that SPN fanart. *brain goes pop*
tried to eat the safe banana: women are superthefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 03:59 am (UTC)
Is it not AWESOME? My breath catches whenever I behold it. (You'd probably like some of her other alters, too. For the record.)
(no subject) - ficbyzee on January 10th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
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tried to eat the safe banana: Moonthefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 04:00 am (UTC)
Why don't I have a steampunk icon? This is a problem.

But, yes, that SPN AU would be awesome and fascinating beyond measure. Maybe we should get together a collection for the next auction and see if we can buy someone who could write it.

And, no, I had not seen that. Thank you! I must read it! *opens another tab*
_medley_: whatcha reading? by gilkurtis_medley_ on January 10th, 2009 12:55 am (UTC)
Oh, these are SO FABULOUS. All of them, but I think Steampunk SGA is just off the awesome scale.

Me, taking a deep, brave breath: Yes! I will! For I embrace new things!
Best Beloved, humoring me: Of course you do.
Best Beloved, under her breath: Just like a killer whale embraces a cactus.

I think I kind of love you both for that. *nods*
tried to eat the safe banana: Fish tonguethefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 04:01 am (UTC)
leyna55 makes awesome art, just generally, and the steampunk AU is jaw-dropping gorgeous. Just - wow. WOW.

And we love you, too! *g*
madripoor_rosemadripoor_rose on January 10th, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
Didn't we have that in canon? I suck at remembering titles...the one where John and Rodney thought they were playing Ancient Sims and were actually advising neighboring civilizations? I could of sworn the Rodneyites had dirigibles. And a fad for women to dye their hair blonde and cut it short.
tried to eat the safe banana: SGA infinitythefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 04:04 am (UTC)
...Did we? Um. Could be. See, I don't actually watch much canon, on account of I have a TV allergy and anyway I'd usually rather read fan fiction. *shamed look*

If Rodney had an actual steampunk world, I would love him to DEATH. My own, probably. Wow.
macey muse: Sai ^_^ - hikagomacey_muse on January 10th, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)

those are some seriously /awesome/ artz. And. I approve of this bounty of steampunk in my life!

(I found a steampunk rp (theskytides) the other day and even though I have Sworn a Solemn Vow never to rp again, it... fascinated me. ships! factions! floating continent! uniform with /ruffles/! The world needs more steampunk. Fact.)
tried to eat the safe banana: Gothefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 04:05 am (UTC)
There should be steampunk everywhere! *dances with clockwork and polished brass*

Oooo. Steampunk RP. I could never do RP - no tiiiiiiime - but, wow. Awesome. FLOATING CONTINENT OMG.
shayheyredshayheyred on January 10th, 2009 02:38 am (UTC)
I am not, usually, interested in fan art. But these! FAAAAABULOUS!
tried to eat the safe banana: women are superthefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
See, I did not used to be interested in fan art, either. But that's when I thought it was all, you know, NC-17 or photomanips, both of which at that time made me geechy. (I still tend not to like NC-17 art. But photomanips are occasionally so good these days that you cannot tell. I just don't like stuff that flirts with the uncanny valley, you know?) But then I started looking at more of it, and I realized that, yes, it adheres to Sturgeon's Law, but the remaining ten percent is AWESOME BEYOND WORDS.

And fan artists are some of the most inventive damn people out there. Seriously. They wow me.
(no subject) - shayheyred on January 10th, 2009 04:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 04:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shayheyred on January 10th, 2009 04:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shayheyred on January 10th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Leyna: teylaleyna55 on January 10th, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
*nods wisely* Dirigibles always make things cooler. The Dirigible was almost my first thought when I saw the Steampunk SGA prompt. My first thought was actually, Oooh! John as a WW1 flying ace, (What? Behold my shallowness *g*) but my next thought was "and they'll have a Dirigible!"

rheanna27 's chapter is so awesome, it is almost enough on its own, but I still want to know what happens next!

Thank you to you and to Best Beloved for the rec. I love your recs - both for the wonderful fic you find, and for the entertaining way the recs are written, but I have to squeee about finding myself here *g*
tried to eat the safe banana: Cute but poutythefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 04:16 am (UTC)
Dirigibles have a coolness adjustment of +200. At least.

And I, too, dream of kidnapping Rheanna and forcing her to write me endless SGA steampunk chapters. (Okay, you did not actually mention kidnapping, but I'm sure you're with me in spirit, right? Right?)

My first thought was actually, Oooh! John as a WW1 flying ace

*dies and is dead*

OMG, now I'm really sad you didn't draw that! With a Nieuport! Or a Sopwith Camel!

I have a sad, sad obsession with WWI flying aces. I mean...very very very sad. I've written a lengthy SGA x HL fusion solely so I could have John Sheppard be, essentially, Eddie Rickenbaker. So you have just described my ultimate secret shameful SGA fantasy! JOHN SHEPPARD, FLYING ACE.

Okay, okay, I'm better now. But, seriously, the phrase "WWI flying ace" is a major trigger for me. It causes ecstasy. And foaming. Obviously.
(no subject) - leyna55 on January 10th, 2009 06:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 05:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - leyna55 on January 11th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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tried to eat the safe banana: TFV bluethefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
I'm starting to think that, in addition to the Pirate AU Rule (All fandoms need pirate AUs. Even fandoms that are canonically about pirates.), there should be a Steampunk AU Art Rule: all fandoms can be greatly improved by being drawn in steampunk.

I mean, imagine it: steampunk Sentinel! Steampunk due South! Steampunk Fast and the Furious! It even totally works on fandoms that I don't read and know almost nothing about: steampunk Starsky and Hutch! Steampunk bandom! Steampunk Twilight! I want to see art for all of these.
(no subject) - vito_excalibur on January 10th, 2009 09:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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tried to eat the safe banana: TFV brownthefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
You did tell me that, and I am still so, so sad you haven't written it. I'd trust you to do it up right, too.

Maybe someday I will be able to buy your services for charity. THAT WILL BE WHAT I'LL BUY.


To a degree that cannot even be described in words, yes indeed!
(no subject) - vito_excalibur on January 10th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Paceuspaceus on January 10th, 2009 09:28 am (UTC)
I'm dithering helplessly too! I read about sixty Yuletide fics in a week and since then I've been restless and unable to concentrate on anything. It feels like if I stop and do something, I'm going to miss something else. Which is stupid because fics aren't going to go anywhere, but still.

So, yay for a fanart rec post! These are all gorgeous. Plus I didn't know what steampunk was, and now I do, so, thank you!

I want to rec something too -- I'm sure you've already seen it, but maybe someone is reading these comments who hasn't. The cover art for toft_froggy's 50's boarding school AU (SGA, all-female version of McShep) by tardis80. I haven't read the story yet (the final part with links to the other parts is here) but I keep going back to the art and gazing at it. It's very pretty and tells a story, just like the SPN Alters picture.
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV dogtagsthefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 05:28 pm (UTC)
Plus I didn't know what steampunk was, and now I do, so, thank you!

You didn't. Know. What steampunk was.

I think that is the saddest thing I've ever heard, and I am SO GLAD I could be part of the solution, there.

And, oh my god, the cover art for the boarding school AU is just GORGEOUS. AMAZING. And all the synonyms for both those words that I could find in Roget. Awesome.
Cats. Not to be trusted.: ds ray/ray hugcatwalksalone on January 10th, 2009 09:42 am (UTC)
I think I've stopped blushing now. *checks* Oh...wait...now I have. I love reading your recs and to read myself in them was a wonderful thing, so thank you!

I'd like to second the pimp for the Elephant and Piggy books (the elephant is called Gerald. This pleases me). They are written specifically with early readers in mind and have the delightful simplicity of illustrations that the Pigeon books do. I use them with my youngest pupils because they can join in with signs even if they can't say the words yet and the storylines are very clear. Also, can I pimp Mo Willems' Leonardo the Terrible Monster because it's just brilliant. The splash page (for want of a better word) is hilarious and so much fun to read aloud. It's no surprise I use his books A LOT with my kids.

Finally, yay steampunk! Thank you so much for pointing us to those. The SGA drawing is perfection and I am ridiculously in love with the Death Star with its own mechanical moon. ♥ I actually did a bad manip of steampunk!Kowalski (I wrote dimension-crossing-steampunk Ray) because I wanted to see that SO badly. Now I want someone as amazing as leyna55 to draw him and Steampunk!Vecchio. *wonders who to bribe*
tried to eat the safe banana: TFV flowersthefourthvine on January 10th, 2009 10:24 pm (UTC)
When Don't Let Kowalski Interview the Perp first came out, I made Best Beloved read it, because she's a former children's librarian and she also spends a lot of time with our baby and the pigeon. Of course she loved it. And I said to her, rather sadly, "Oh my god, I want to rec this so much, but what theme could it possibly FIT?"

She said, "Do you have any other art tagged?" And I did. Which is how she knew I tagged fanart, so she could suggest this set now. This set all comes back to Kowalski as the pigeon!

And, yes, steampunk is always a yay. I was saying above that I think my second AU rule (after the Pirate AU Rule) is going to have to be the Steampunk AU Art Rule: every fandom needs to be drawn steampunk style. There's not a fandom on this planet that wouldn't benefit from an incursion of brass and clockwork and tubes and gadgets.

Also. I note that leyna55 lists dS among her interests, so possibly the ideal way to get hold of a dS steampunk AU drawing is to bribe her. Or maybe we could try to get some blackmail on her. Something, anyway. We need to form an action group to work on this, obviously.
(no subject) - sprat on January 11th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC) (Expand)