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 recommendations - may 2004
go forth and read

"'I, Anya, promise to love you, to cherish you, to honor you, uh, but not to obey you, of course, because that's anachronistic and misogynistic and who do you think you are, like a sea captain or something"
-Anya Jenkins, Hell's Bells

Good Omens

Starting with GO for no particular reason, one of my favourite stories in the fandom  is Ordinary People by Daegaer. Set in an AU where Crowley and Aziraphale are human, it's funny and sweet and poignant, and it's just gorgeous. Actually, so is most of her fic, and it's all worth reading.

Whistlestop Tour by Carmilla. It was originally written for my seventeenth birthday, and it's... it's... well, it just is. It's utterly fabulous. Go and read it.

Presents by Louise Lux. The author describes it as slash, but I think it could be called gen if you wanted, which says something about how understated it is. Crowley sits in his flat and looks over all the presents Aziraphale has given him during six thousand years on earth, and thinks. And it's just too sad, and lovely, and sad, and lovely. I tend to run short of adjectives at this point.

Harry Potter

Louise also writes Harry Potter fic, my favourite of which is Red Is The Colour. Described as "Snape saves Lupin from a Death Eaters' cocktail party", it's very short, but somehow in not many words, it manages to be horrific and haunting at the same time, changing the Death Eaters from the pantomime villains they're too often portrayed as into the embodiment of real evil.

Still with Harry Potter angst, Time Enough But None To Spare by S. Hart. This fic was written before Order of the Phoenix, so it's a little bit AU, but it's amazing how good the characterisation of Harry is. It's a terribly sad story, with only a few guarded notes of optimism, and her take on Remus is very bleak, but so very plausible.

More angst in How Bitter A Thing by victoria p. This story is Sirius/Remus slash, but a real antidote to what has been called the mushiest slash ship in the fandom. It's painfully hard-hitting and creates images of such an incredibly fucked-up, co-dependent relationship; I've never read anything that spins the pairing this way.

Yet more angst in Casira's story, Mapmakers (Making Moony Laugh: the Suicide Is Painless Remix). This story is the remix of my own fic, Making Moony Laugh, but this new improved version is so sad and angsty and so good, it blows my original out of the water.

And as a change from all the angst, I like this short, untitled snippet by Meredith. The entire thing is a framing device for one line, which you will know when you see it. Too cute.

More with the humour - Mother Knows Best by victoria p. I niffled this story with good reason; it revolves around the fact that Molly Weasley, once she's got an idea in her head, refuses to have it dislodged. She thinks that Bill is gay. Moreover, she thinks he would be a good match for Remus. The Order's collective reactions to this novel concept are hilarious (and sprinkled with Seinfeldisms). It's all good.

It seems to be difficult to write about Remus Lupin without descending into angst, which is probably why I like After the Rain's fics so much. Particularly How Severus Snape Learned To Maraud, in which there are crystal balls, sneaking around at night, and practical jokes a-plenty - only, Remus is thirty-five years old and ought to know better, and Snape is... well, Snape. Together with its companion, My Teenage Fan Club, it's hysterically funny whilst remaining very much in-character. I especially love the way she writes Remus:  witty, snarky and with his canonical sense of humour. Still light-hearted is An Interesting Little Legal Problem (Remus has a cat called Felicity!) and more reflective is A Fair Fellowship of Young Squires.

Everyone knows how much I like glitterfic. The quintessential fic of the genre is Mieko Belle's Fairy Boys, along with all its companion pieces. It's smutty and glittery and exudes passion, and I absolutely love this take on Sirius/Remus. One of the associated fics, by Juliane, stands out because it manages to turn the usually fun, light-hearted concept of glitter and Velvet Goldmine-inspired slash on its head. Putting On has the usual make-up and smut, but somehow becomes something deeper, a study of abuse.  


Moving fandoms into M*A*S*H, I find I can't rec as many stories simply because it's such a small fandom. Having said that, a perennial favourite is Tagging, by Carmilla again. This one was also written for my birthday (sixteenth, that time; she spoils me) and is a gentle slash story with lots of talk about dogtags, which I am all in favour of.

Epigone, quite apart from being one of my favourite people in the world, is one of the best writers in the fandom. I particularly like Never Ask Why Build, which is as cheerful as the title suggests but also deep and beautiful and painful to read. So is Torch Song, which has a few more notes of optimism but still hurts like hell (like war), and for something completely different, I'm adding Rule Number One, which I think is the only fic in the entire fandom with its particular pairing. All her stories are beautiful and memorable if difficult to read in a hurry.

Less dark and depressing is Various Versions by Am-Chau Yarkona. It hinges on a very simple, believable premise - after Trapper left, Hawkeye wrote him a letter - and is perfectly executed and works incredibly well. Am-Chau has written a lot of M*A*S*H fic, which is all worth reading.

And straight back to angst with Meredith Bronwen Mallory (yes, another Meredith; I believe there was once talk of re-christening them Spongy-Meredith and Tack-Meredith just to tell them apart) who is an excellent writer with a tendency to blame me for everything. My favourite of her stories is A Still, Small Voice, which I can't say anything about for fear of spoiling the twist in the tale (read it!) closely followed by The Courtship of Maxwell Q. Klinger, which is one of the funniest things I've ever read.

I also like Offer Up Your Last Defence, which is angsty and bittersweet and offers an unusual perspective on an unusual relationship. It also features an intriguing original character whom I wish she would write more stories about.

Stargate SG-1

Inspired by Offer Up Your Last Defence is The Box, a Stargate fic by Sam Walker. It's an exercise in bleak, sparse writing and offers a faintly chilling prospect for SG-1 in the future. It's dark and slashy and uses Cassie as its POV character, which I love, as there needs to be more fic about Cassie.

Also by Sam Walker is the fic that is probably my favourite in the fandom, The Legend of Daniel Jackson. It's mostly AU and concerns a withdrawn foster child who happens to meet a young lieutenant, Jack O'Neill, and his wife. It's beautifully crafted, showing how a friendship gradually develops, but I won't spoil how it ends, as it's a wonderful fic and everyone should go and read it. 

Another undying favourite is Frolicking, by Jonah in the Whale. I have read this fic more times than I care to count, and it still never ceases to make me laugh. It's probably best summed up in the words of the author: "Jack steps forth. Everyone else, foolishly, follows."

I don't usually like Stargate slash, but one fic I do like is Send in the Clones by Danvers, a story that will make precious little sense if you haven't seen Fragile Balance. It's mainly because of the very sarcastic and apt Jack-voice that I like it so much.

Another slash story that I actually like is To Avoid Disappointment... Aim Low by Anais. It has an unusual pairing - Daniel/Paul - but doesn't really focus on that. Instead, it's a Valentine's Day story with undercurrents of politics (sounds strange, but it works) and I just love the way it's related to events in the real world.

And to finish with something completely different, What Rough Beast by quercus. This story is understated and beautifully written, and hard to explain. It's slash, but the slash isn't the focus, and neither is the plot, after a while. It's a delicate meandering through life, with evocative language and description. Very much worth reading.

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