The last month (or two, or three) has been somewhat frenetic for me, and I haven’t really had the energy or focus to read full books. However, I couldn’t not be reading something, and what I’ve been reading is fanfiction. I’ve introduced the genre before, so I thought I’d take a moment to recommend a few more short fanfics.
Friends Across Borders
To understand these stories, you need to be familiar with Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar universe.
Summary: Two long-time enemy nations can’t become meaningful allies overnight. Stories from the lives of a border-guard Herald and Sunpriest, from their first meeting to the end, and insights into just how Karse and Valdemar were able to turn around their relationship so fast.
Warning: This is a series rather than a single story. The first three stories are complete, but the forth one is still a work in progress. Each of the first three stories can absolutely stand on their own, though, so if you won’t want to take a chance on a half-completed story, it’s okay to just not start the fourth story until it’s been completed.
Why I like it: This takes a part of my childhood and makes it a tad bit more realistic, but without ever tarnishing the joy of the original. The main characters are both a delight and their mutual bewilderment regarding their developing friendship is a joy to behold. Also, one sign of a good series, in my opinion, is that the individual stories can stand on their own. So you don’t have to commit to reading the whole series to enjoy just the first story: Enemy, It’s Cold Outside.
by Laura JV (jacquez)
To understand this story, you need to be familiar with the character of Methos from Highlander and Sesame Street in general.
Summary: “Someone new moved in, Chris, next door to Gordon! Come meet him with Elmo.”
Why I like it: This is super short but it’s sort of like a John Donne poem in its own way. Without ever directly saying anything, it plays with the different meanings of the word “monster.” And, let me reiterate: it’s a Highlander/Sesame Street crossover. 😀
The Whole Truth (So Help Me God)
To understand this, you should be at least passingly familiar with the new Teen Wolf tv show. Although, actually, I read and enjoyed it without ever watching the show, just knowing the basic premise.
Summary: And this is a Stiles character study, so there you go. It’s multiple POV and set around “Night School.” Mostly because it will never stop being hilarious to me that Stiles punched Jackson viciously in the face and the only person who was remotely surprised was Allison. XD WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A CHILD, STILES?
Why I like it: First, I have to admit that I don’t watch Teen Wolf, I just really like the fandom. Fan authors can, and often are, much better than, say, MTV script writers. My pleasure in this fandom comes, in large part, from how the character of Stiles is treated, and this is just a concentrated look at how hilariously fascinating Stiles is and why the other characters wince when they have to deal with him. I wouldn’t necessarily want to be around him, but I sure like reading about him. It just makes me laugh.
A Perpendicular Expression
To understand what’s going on here, you should know the tv show Person of Interest.
Summary: Pissing Finch off never actually ends well; usually it ends like this, with John scaring the shit out of her at two in the morning.
Why I like it: There’s a certain joy in reading about super-competent people who just fail at being reasonable human beings. And Joss Carter is hilarious as she has to put up with them and explain basic social behaviors like not stalking your friends.
Kissable Fanatic, Unhinged Minim Artists
This fic is set in the X-Men universe, although the X-Men characters appear only briefly. If you are aware at all of the character Toad, in Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants, you know enough to read this.
Summary (provided by thefourthvine): Best FF featuring a powerful anti-drug message; namely that if we spend all our time stoned we might fail to notice critical things in our environment, like that one of our friends is actually green.
Warning: This is not family-friendly or work safe, i.e. any sort of filter at all should filter out this story. There’s drugs, profanity, and graphic homosexual sex.
Why I like it: I fought with myself over including this particular story because so far all my recommendations have been intended for a general audience (which is not necessarily common in fandom) and this one is absolutely not. This is, in fact, the first story I’ve recommended that includes a serious warning. (It’s standard policy with fanfiction to include warnings, a policy that is immensely helpful for maintaining some sanity when wandering dark corners of the internet.) However, this story is just too good to not recommend. Basingstoke takes Toad, a character that is treated as a barely 2-dimensional character in the comics, and makes him fully human (as it were). This story makes him real and that is one of the things I really love about fanfiction: that it will take minor characters the original author threw in to take up space and develop those characters into the main characters of their own lives. This story is just really, really good with that.
I really enjoyed the Toad stories, even though the first one had a bit more sex than I’m usually comfortable with. I’m looking forward to reading more when she writes them! Ever since you pointed out that the more unusual mutants, the ones that look less human, are cast as villains, while the attractive ones with like a streak of white hair or angelic wings are the heroes, it has dampened a bit of my enthusiasm for the X-Men. But, I now love the fanfic that addresses that issue even more!
Glad you enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I doubt they’ll be much more. Those were written in 2001, and while Basingstoke is definitely still active, the current stuff is all in other fandoms.
And yeah, it dampened my appreciation of the series, too, but I reassure myself that as much as it is human nature to like things/people who are pretty more than those who aren’t, it’s also in human nature to highlight the flaws in things we don’t like and the attractive qualities in those we do. So, assuming we’re looking at the story through the eyes of a fan of the X-Men, the good guys would naturally look good and the bad guys look bad. It just might be interesting to see what the characters would look like seen through the eyes of a fan of the Brotherhood of Mutants.
Ooh, that would be a very interesting illustration!