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MaggieFic: The Recs 2000

November 26, 2000

Special Thanksgiving Edition

Good writing is one of the things I am most thankful for. Another thing that must be included in any tally of my blessings is the fact that there are authors who can make a story live so vividly for me that I can enjoy it even if I don't watch the show it's about and have only the vaguest ideas of who the characters are, going in. So to celebrate these fine people, this edition of The Recs is entirely made up of stories I loved about shows that I don't watch.

Story Fandom Reason I Liked It
Rocket Launcher by Matthew Time
ER (Dave/Romano)
I used to adore ER. I watched it religiously for about three years. Like an addict jonesing for sweet smack, I would get twitchy in anticipation every Wednesday around 5 pm. But then ER jumped the shark, Carter grew that godawful beard, Kellie Martin showed up, and I left in favor of renewing my status as a Focused Phile. Anyway, about half of the characters in this fic might as well be OCs for all I know of them. But nevertheless, this story made me really care about a romantic relationship involving the character (Romano) that I most loathed on ER and a new character who is apparently nearly as obnoxious as he is. (A good subtitle for this story might be "Assholes in Love.") I'm still amazed that I liked it, but I did, very much. Matthew must have some powerful mojo to make me like Romano. However, be warned that this story does fall prey to the "every single character is gay, gay, gay!" pitfall. I don't think there's a single straight man on the entire ER staff in this fic. But apart from that I found it strange and fascinating and sweet in an utterly disfunctional way. Slash.
The Tangled Web by Jack Reuben Darcy
The Professionals/The Chief X-over (Bodie/Doyle)
This is long but well worth the time. The great thing about this author is that he gives you hundreds of kilobytes of gut-wrenching angst, and then once things get resolved he always gives you a lovely long interval in which people cuddle in front of the fire and sip cocoa and bask in one another's presence, and then go upstairs and boink like mad. This is set long after the end of the show, I understand, and is a crossover with something one of the actors did recently. This story left me with a feeling of deep satisfaction. Slash.
Kickoff by Merry Lynne
Sports Night
I saw 2 eps of SN and was well on the way to becoming a fan. Then I found out that the eps I saw were in fact the LAST two eps of the entire SHOW. So there went that idea. Anyhow, despite my lack of familiarity with Dan and Casey, I loved this little "what-if" story that shows the tentative beginnings of a friendship.


November 17, 2000

And now, for no other reason than that I've decided I like to do theme recs, allow me to present MaggieFic: The Recs: The PWP Edition. That's right, each story in this batch is a sizzling PWP. Don't say I never did nothin' fer ye...

The X-Files

"Closet Doors" by Narida Law. We've got voyeurism, a third-party narrator, lashings of humor, hot sex, and Bill Scully, Jr. What more could you want? And it includes one of the best summations of the Mulder/Scully relationship I've heard: "Not doing it, my ass." <g>

The Sentinel

"Promises" by Merry Lynne. Assertive!Blair. PrimalPossesive!Jim. Ooooooooo. As the author says, this isn't a first-time story, it's a first-time scene. And what a scene it is. "Promises" virtually vibrates with wild emotions and barely-harnessed need, and contains more than one moment that can make a grown woman whimper. I felt like I needed a cigarette after I read this one- and I don't smoke. Slash. Profoundly so. Um. Is it hot in here?

The Phantom Menace

You know, this whole Force thing just opens up so many possibilities. With that in mind, I invite you to partake of torch's lovely, lyrical "Gardening at Night." The setting of this story is particularly compelling. Too often in this fandom people write new planets that are obvious earth-clones; this one is original and blends beautifully with the story's themes. The imagery is lush and enticing, the emotions are true. "Gardening at Night" proves that you don't always need a plot to write a great story. Slash.

Due South

"Yes" by Kellie Matthews. This is the middle story in a great trilogy, and I highly reccomend reading "Snoop" first and "Push" next. But if you only read one, may it be this utterly hot depiction of the ever-yummy RayK gettin' down with his bad self. Slash, or at least slashy intentions.

November 9, 2000 

In honor of the most recent addition to the MaggieFic Primary Fandoms, this edition of The Recs is Due South only! Put on your red serge PJs and cuddle up to your favorite flavor of Chicago detective. Thank you kindly. 

To start with we have an untitled series by Barb G. "Return Home," "Staying Home," and "Taking the Bullet" are delightful. The third one is my favorite, but you get the flavor best if you read the series in order. The plots make sense, the characterization rings true, and the whole series has an element of gentle playfulness mingled with angst. Slash. 

If I had to pick a single "Fraser and Ray in the future" story, it would be C.L. Finn's lovely "The Easiest Choice." It's gentle and tender and warm and happy. It's the fic equivalent of hot chocolate and a smooshy quilt on a cold, rainy night. Comfort reading of the nicest sort. Slash. 

"Somewhere Else To Be" is a wonderful AU novella where Ray isn't a cop, and Fraser isn't a Mountie, but somehow they still find each other. Kellie Matthews does a great job of making me believe in this universe, although I'm not crazy about her Evil!RayV. And hey, what do you know? It's slash. 

Previous Recs September 24, 2000 

We've got something a little different this time around. In each of the MaggieFic Primary Fandoms we have one angst-ridden story and one tender romance.  These are the stories I come back to again and again when I'm in a black-clothes-wearing, Depeche-Mode listening, angst-spewing mood (to quote the divine Francesca), and the ones I use as an antidote for the hormonal surges. These are only the finest in angst and counter-angst; no gratuitous torture, spurious fits of weeping, or Celine Dion song lyrics in sight. 


The Sentinel:
Angst: "Damned" by Virg Vaughn. I can't say too much about this one without ruining the impact, but this story hits hard. In a fandom haunted by the spectre of La Femme Blairita, Virg realizes just how much power Blair really holds in the relationship and shows us unflinchingly what this could mean for Jim. Slash. Romance: "Paper Cranes" by Dierdre. A great premise, well-executed. This story goes well with "Damned," showing a different (and much nicer) picture of the effect Blair's control over Jim has on them both. I hesitate to say this for fear of giving the wrong impression, but it's just... sweet. In the nicest possible way. Slash. 

The X-Files:
Angst: "Grace Realized" by Michaela. I'm fully aware that you've probably already read it, but there is no other story that can make me weep like this one can. Not everyone can write about grief. Michaela is one of the few. Romance: "Body and Soul" by PD. A gentle, loving rainy morning musing. This story celebrates the joy that lies in simple things.<sniff> Why can't I find a man who fantasizes about curling up on the couch with me and reading?

The Phantom Menace:
Angst: "You're Tender and You're Tired" by Yasmin M. There is a lot of angst in this fandom; after all, one of the main characters in the most popular romantic pairing is canonically dead. But this unique AU goes off the beaten path to offer a brief, bitter glimpse of a future that might have been. Some slash content. Romance: I had an extraordinarily difficult time coming up with a non-angsty PM story. I guess it's hard to be too chipper with that whole destruction-of-the-Jedi thing hanging over your head. That said, Destina Fortunato's "A Delicate Balance" manages to give a quietly lovely portrait of an epiphany without making you want to cry. Slash. 
September 19, 2000

Brighid's "Wine, Women, and Schlong" is a sweet and tender Sentinel slash story with a rather misleading title. Blair wonders why he can't get dates anymore- until he discovers that the women in his department have banded together to protect his (non-existent) secret love affair with Jim. He is determined to find out how everyone could have reached such an erroneous conclusion, and is surprised to find that "somewhere along the way, I stopped being just Blair and became part of Jim and Blair, and instead of scaring the absolute crap out me I'm thinking it's the best thing ever." By the end of the story, you will too. 

Helen's summary for her Phantom Menace slash story "Lost in Translation" reads, "Obi-Wan gets a diplomatic word in edgewise and receives a gift meant for Qui-Gon. Allow me to warn you of a painfully contrived plot." Well... it is. (In short: Qui-Gon is mind-wiped and now believes himself to be Obi-Wan's pleasure slave, and they can't fix him until they return to Coruscant.) But be that as it may, this story is howlingly funny. Its appeal is best summed up in the following excerpt: 

He should have known, really; they had studied mind wipe  technology in ethics and the reason that it had been abandoned by all but a few cultures several hundred years ago was that it barely worked. It was possible to alter  perception, but not basic nature, which explained the reason that Obi-Wan, instead of having a intractable, insubordinate Master, now had an intractable, insubordinate pleasure slave.
Oh, how I wish Helen would write another Phantom Menace story. The guys have never before been so deliciously, hilariously snarky. 

I always used to say that I didn't like post-colonization stories. But then I read so many really good ones that I had to change my mind. So here we have the Post-Cols that Won Me Over, in no particular order: 

  • The Seventh Age by David Hearne - This is more than a fanfic, it's a whole world. The narrator, the grammar, the premise- I was sucked in and couldn't stop reading until I reached the end. I used Joined grammar for a week in chat after I finished this novel.
  • The Life During Wartime series by cofax, Maria Nicole, and Marasmus - I was honored by getting the chance to beta stories in this rich and layered post-col universe. My favorite thing about this series (besides the great writing) is the way each story is told from a different perspective.  (Hey guys- in a future installment, I want to see Skinner kicking ass and taking names! How 'bout it?)
  • Tangible by Blueswirl and Meredith- one of the first post-cols I actually liked. Great series- read all three.
  • The Furious Winter by CazQ- stunning in its beauty and power. To say more would ruin it.
  • Vestigy and Trillobiography by Lisby- yet another amazing post-col world that sucks you in and refuses to let go. It makes you smile, it makes your heart ache; you recognize familiar themes even as it keeps you guessing. Some slash content.

September 14, 2000

I'm an absolute sucker for long books. I've read Les Miserables four times and War and Peace once. If a book can draw me in, I want it to go on and on, like the suffering caused by Britney Spears' singing. The same goes for long series of stories. Riding the Wheel of If is a Phantom Menace series written by Terri Hamill and several other authors. This series, containing thirty chapters and three or four "extras," also caters to my love of AU stories. A tribute to a novel by L. Sprague DeCamp, this series follows Obi-Wan Kenobi as he travels between alternate realities, trying to find one where he, and not his master, died on Naboo so that he and Qui-Gon can be together. (Think The Phantom Menace meets Quantum Leap or Sliders.) Plots like this are easy to write badly, but the overall quality of the series is quite good, with each episode standing alone well and the overall story arc adding an extra dimension to the whole thing. Some of the individual chapters are better than others, but on the whole it's a long, fun read. Slash. (Note: there is one "extra" that is on the Master & Apprentice archive but is not on the WOI site. It doesn't have the "Riding the Wheel of If" label in the title, but it tells what happened to the characters in one AU after Obi-Wan left. I can't find it. If you do, could you please drop me a line and tell me the title? It's the one from the alternate reality where the Jedi are characters on a TV show.) 

If seeing song lyrics in a fanfic makes you scream and flinch as though the Spice Girls had crashed your wedding reception, you will love "A Tale of a Tape" by the Divine Adoratrice. Blair makes Jim a tape to tell him how he feels about him... now, if only he had remembered to label it. Slash. 

One of the most gripping XF stories I've read this year is Kipler's "Strangers and the Strange Dead." I'm a fan of third-party narrators, and this one hits just the right tone. I won't say more, for fear of spoiling it, but one word of advice: pay attention. 

September 10, 2000

JiM recently posted an Skinner/Krycek story. My first reaction was, "EW!" But then I started thinking about all the other lovely things that have come from JiM's pen in the past and decided to take a chance on "Descent." Boy, was that a good call. A powerful, moving, dark, and utterly compelling story. While you're at JiM's site, check out two other great series- the "Pencils" series and the "Gone" series. Both are gentle and lovely and beautifully written. Slash. 

After you finish "Descent" you will probably feel in need of a laugh. Head on over to The Sith Academy. This hilarious series, a parody of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, features laugh-out-loud tales of Darth Maul, Sith Apprentice, taking driver's ed, working at Burger King, and playing Jedi Roadkill IV on his PlayStation. Watch as Maul struggles to train his cat, My Apprentice, in the ways of the Dark Side. Gloat as he struggles to overcome the terminal perkiness of Obi-Wan Kenobi, his next-door neighbor. See him lust hopelessly for Darth Mary Sue. Gasp in horror as Obi-Wan's hamster Fluffi-Wan turns to the Dark Side. Will Maul find himself drunk, wearing a ruffled shirt, and singing karaoke with Obi-Wan at the Gray Side of the Force? Tune in next week! Some slash content. 

I very much doubt that anyone who has read much XF fic is unaware of the greatness of "Tempest." But if you've somehow missed this adventure/romance classic, take steps to rectify the situation ASAP. Written several years ago, "Tempest" is nonetheless still a great read, with a good blend of angst, danger, romance, humor, and smut. Missy Pennington is one of the revered classic XF shippers- read "Tempest" and find out why. Also check out her charming post-"Unnatural" story, "The Old Yawn and Stretch.

August 28, 2000

First off, we have two X-Files stories by the lovely Alicia K (who still hasn't written us a sequel to "Gap Man".) "Guitar Hero" is quite likely the funniest post-Requiem fic that is possible, in this or any other universe, world without end, amen. Do not read it while ingesting snarfable substances. "Hooky" is cute and warm and sweet, and makes you want to run barefoot in the grass, broken crack pipes notwithstanding. 

Next we have a Star Wars: The Phantom Menace story by Susan Smithson, "Apprentice to Journeyman." It's long. It's long, and good throughout, and really, what more can one ask? This fic isn't afraid to take things slowly. So often, stories are in a hurry to get to the good bits, and end up feeling rushed; this one shows a relationship as it grows and matures, until the conclusion feels natural and right. Getting there is half the fun, and Susan Smithson proves it. Slash. 

I tried very hard to pick just one of Francesca's Sentinel stories to rec, but just couldn't do it. There isn't a thing on her page that I didn't like. The "Nature" series caters to just about every one of my secret loves, from psychic links to fated pairings, and still manages to avoid being cheesy and trite. The "Eye of the Beholder" series is well-written, creative, and hot. "Obfuscator" is hilarious. "The Sentinel By Jim Ellison" is twisted and brilliant. I could go on and on. Slash.