I’ve been unable to blog about the news this week—though you all know the Blackhawks are moving on to the next round, right? :D —but I did manage to read some fan fiction.
In my opinion, the best fic of the week—hands down—is “The Rebel League” by ionthesparrow (Jeff Carter/Mike Richards, 55928 words). It’s the third and final installment of Hockey at the End of the World. This author is very skilled at writing exciting, action-packed plots, but this fic is carefully configured to convey complex, intense feelings, too. This story has some deeply important themes. It’s upsetting at times, but that’s what makes it so powerful.
I also want to recommend “Feel Your Heart Beating as Clearly as I Feel My Own” by nebulia (Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews, 7095 words). I really like the world of this story. The “rules”—for lack of a better word—of how ghosts work are interesting and unusual. I also like the end of the story; it’s not often an author achieves such a balance of ambiguity.
The third fic I wanted to share with you is “Lying, Waiting, or Dating? (This Is Not a Multiple Choice Exam, It’s Your Life)” by bestliar (Matt Hackett/Marco Scandella, 6110 words). The author of this story has a definite idea about what she wants to do, and I think that’s cool. And the characterization in this piece unfolds in a way that keeps you alert and wondering what comes next.
Here are five fics from this week that you are not allowed to not read.
“Afraid of Standing Still” by sherlockelly (Dany Heatley/Original Character, 25618 words). What I love best about this story is its acknowledgement that unpleasant feelings—guilt and grief and self-hate—are not easily healed, and that people who haven’t felt those things often don’t understand that. I also enjoyed the form of the piece: many stories that move back-and-forth between different times are disorienting, but this one flows beautiful and coherently. (As a side note, why aren’t there more stories about Dany Heatley? Is his backstory too tragic for fanfic?)
“Five Times Breezy Hooks Tracy Morgan Up with Good Advice (And One Time Tracy Hits Him Back)” by luxover (gen, 3074 words). This story cracks my shit up. Everyone is so well captured. And it’s not just ridiculousness—it actually has a point. Seriously, if the sun sets on you before you read this, you are doing yourself a disservice. (Oh, before I forget, there’s a prerequisite: watch this first.)
I know you’ve all been dying to find out what went on in the world of hockey fanfiction from April 19-25. :3
My favorite fic of the week is “Pond Ice and the In Between” by luxover (Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin, 48271 words). This is an AU in which Crosby is a corporate lawyer, Malkin owns a coffeeshop, and everyone plays pond hockey. Now, the love story itself is fairly standard—nothing wrong with it, but nothing especially different about it, either—but there are several other really great things about this fic. First of all, the Russian in it is correct (I almost cried with happiness when Geno corrected Sid’s mistaken pluralization of pirozhok; I’m not even lying), and that’s a little thing, but it points toward something bigger—this author did her research, and she cares about details. You can see that all throughout the fic. Secondly, the author does an excellent job of leading you down the logical path in her main character’s mind—even when I knew he was getting something wrong, I totally understood why he thought the way he did. The relationship between reality and his perception of reality was always clear. Finally and most importantly, the side characters are awesome. There is a large cast, and we don’t get to see most of the characters for very long, but what we do see is funny and creative and individualized. Even if the rest of this story sucked (which, let me make clear, it does not), I would recommend it to you based on the treatment of the side characters.
Hey, everyone~! Due to all the pressure Deke’s been under lately (and to my trip to Tacoma), we haven’t done Fanfic Friday in five weeks. *tragic pose* In an attempt to get back to normal, I’m gonna take over by myself for a while—I know, I’ll miss her, too. :(
I’m still not completely caught up with everything that’s been written in the last month, but this is definitely overdue. So, here are several fics published since March 15 that I think you should check out—because they’re admirably written, because they’re sexy, or because they’re interesting.
“Beating Like a Hammer” by grim_lupine (Jeff Carter/Mike Richards, 6580 words). Okay, listen up: there will never be too many de-aged fics. I love that shit. But I love this de-aged fic in particular—it has all the best features of the genre (hilarious straight-facedness, borderline-underage porn) while lacking some of its occasionally less-cool oversentimentality and/or total disregard for logic. It helps that Mike becomes an 18-year-old instead of a 6-month old or whatever. Anyway, if you like de-aged fics (or you like this pairing), I think you’ll like this fic.
“Come and Untangle” by Charli J (Brandon Saad/Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews, 7344 words). This story is pretty sad—and no, that is not supposed to be a pun, even if the story is about Brandon Saad. It’s got all kinds of difficult, complicated feelings in it, and it culminates in a situation that’s utterly heartbreaking, but at the same time, you can’t be mad, because nobody did anything wrong or unfair. Even Brandon says he’s not upset. But I think he’s lying.
Dangle: Moving on, for this week, we have chosen four stories to recommend.
Deke: Though we disagreed on the ranking order.
Dangle: My favorite this week is “You Can Play (Even if You Can’t Fly)” by sencha (no pairing, 2988 words), which features Brandon Sutter. It’s about being traded, growing apart from the people you used to depend on, and learning to depend on new people. Also, Brandon Sutter has penguin flippers. (And, in that wonderful way so common to transformation fic, no one notices or cares except for him.) It’s short, and it’s weird, but it has a unique feel to it, and I liked it a lot.
Deke: This fic is definitely worth a read—if only for those who love reading Hockey transformation fics (and who doesn’t?). It has the requisite journey and ensuing moral and is really satisfyingly quirky. But honestly, this is my second choice. My first choice is “A Light-Handed Approach to Regulation” by hazel (Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews, 34078 words).
Deke: We’re doing two weeks at once again, because we’re disorganized. But hey! At least we got it done. We’ll split them up so that we don’t have an enormous post, though.
Dangle: So, starting with last week. Last week was awesome, you guys. Good job! There was so much stuff published, and most of it was really good, and it was of all kinds—long, short, angsty, crazy fics, with snark, with sweetness, with unusual POVs, even an Avengers AU and one where Jeff Skinner is a unicorn! Choosing among them was so hard—they were too different to compare, really.
Deke: A shout-out to that Avengers AU—wiebrule really captures the awesomely hilarious cadence of Thor-speak. Anyway, we ended up sorting last week’s choices into categories instead of ranking them in order. So here are our top picks from last week…
Dangle: For this category, we chose “Twist in My Sobriety” by jezziejay (Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews, 13207 words). The Plot: Kaner and Tazer decide that the only way to cure themselves of their habit of having drunk sex with each other is to use sober sex for aversion therapy. Obviously you can see where this is going, but it’s effing hilarious, mostly because of the creative and logical (ridiculously logical) way the author has of describing things.
Deke: Dangle is correct—this fic has a fuck-ton of stupid-person logic and I love it to bits. Here’s the exchange that really hooked me: “We could just stop,” Jonny says around a yawn…“We’ve tried that,” Patrick says. “We’ve been having last time sex for months now, we’ve had nothing but last time sex since the first time. Every time is the last time. Except for, you know, it isn’t.”
Dangle: We’re back on track this week, finally! <3
Deke: Well, sort of. The past few weeks have been crazy and/or upsetting. But enough about that, here’s some fic!
Dangle: We agreed on the fics this week, and the best of them is “The Chemistry Between Us Could Destroy This Place” by ObscuredMemory (Ryan Kesler/Andrew Ladd, 97499 words). It’s an AU in which they are lawyers, and one of the greatest things about it—okay, probably the greatest thing about it—is that it features an awesome crime-and-punishment plot, involving original characters and violence and courtroom drama. One thing that turned me off about it at first was the sexualized violence present in the relationship between the two main characters (there were times when it was so graphic that tears sprang to my eyes). I know some people are into that, though. :)
Deke: I think I’m “some people.”
Dangle: Yes, yes you are. Anyway, if you, like me, are not into it, see if you can power through because it fades into the background after a few chapters, and the story is really awesome.
Deke: Well, aside from the blisteringly hot sex between my favorite hatesex pairing, I love the procedural Law and Order-esque feel to this fic. I mean, accurately depicting (or at least as accurate as fictionalized entertainment is likely to get) courtroom drama is difficult to make believable and even more difficult to make interesting. Final note: ObscuredMemory, how are you so awesome?
Sorry we’ve missed the last couple of weeks, you guys. Deke’s had some unfortunate family stuff going on and hasn’t been able to get any reading done. :( Rather than continue waiting for her, I’m just gonna go ahead and do the past three weeks—February 1-22—by myself. (I’ll do my best to make up for her loss by not automatically dismissing any Kane/Toews porn.)
Guys, I have to say I’ve been disappointed in the quality of the fic lately. There’s been less of it than usual, too—maybe everyone is really busy or really tired? Or really depressed because we’ve gotten to the hard part of winter? Or maybe we all just had lots of extra time during the lockout, and now I’m spoiled. Nevertheless, there were some bright spots.
My number one pick is “Ex/Exile/Existing vs the Future” by bestliar (Sam Gagner/John Tavares, 930 words). This is a little ficlet about Sam Gagner and hope. I loved the attitude of the piece—the idea that the future is worth staying hopeful for. I also enjoyed the way the author exploited words for their sound as well as their meaning.
My next choice is “Riot Rhythm” by melitaea (Tyler Brown/Tyler Seguin, 7258 words). Despite the fact that the tags make this story sound like a rollicking pornsplosion, it’s actually pretty serious. I found it upsetting—people say some extremely mean things to each other in this story—but the upsetting moments were used for effective character development, not cheap titillation. The story’s ending didn’t resolve the all the conflicts, but it did show the characters taking a major step toward resolution. I would have liked the resolution to be just a tiny bit more explicit, but it’s an absolutely great fic even so.
Dangle: Okay, this week was crazy—you guys wrote so much good stuff that I had to spend this whole morning catching up! O_____O With the overabundance of quality fics in mind, I have eight—count ‘em, eight—stories that I can’t stop myself from recommending this week. I have even sorted them into helpful categories, based on what I liked about them.
Deke: Our picks have actually lined up pretty well this week—so well, in fact, that we’ll just call these our picks for the week.
CATEGORY ONE: Edifying stuff. Like, we genuinely felt like better people after reading these.
“A History of Sexuality in Houston, TX, and Saint Paul, MN” by bestliar, about Marco Scandella.
- Dangle: This piece is a challenging read. It’s nonlinear, it’s self-consciously self-conscious, and it’s got more ism than plot. It’s so post-modern that I literally had to stop every five minutes and stare into space until my brain calmed down. I don’t think I really liked it—it certainly wasn’t enjoyable for me—but it made me think, and it’s interesting, and it’s different, and it addresses some issues on which fan fiction tends to be silent. For those reasons, I recommend that everyone read it and think about it seriously.
- Deke: I honestly don’t know if I’d read this fic again. I mean, I’m very happy that I read it, but I don’t know that I can handle the introspection it wrestled me into more than once. As Dangle could tell you, I’m crazy for post-modernism and I love fics that pander to my particular brand of crazy. Read this. Then talk about it. You’ll be glad you did.
Dangle: Good work this week, everyone! All the new and exciting stuff this week was awesome. Most of it was porn, though, which is intriguing… But hey! New and exciting porn!
Deke: Wheeeee! I lurve the porn.
Dangle: I am shocked.
Deke: As an aside, all the porn made the fic interesting to read in public.
Dangle: XD I’ll bet. My first place pick this week was easy for me—it’s “Even the Weight of Our Voices Not Speaking” by athenejen. It’s about Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, so kudos to begin with for employing underused characters. I loved getting to know Weber and his dog and his house and his eating habits. Beyond that, though, this fic is wonderfully real-feeling in its details. Weber has feelings, but they’re not melodramatic, just acute. This fic (just like its main character, actually) is quiet and unassuming, and that’s what makes it so sweet and valuable.
Deke: Ok, I have to agree with your first choice—this fic is really satisfying. It has realistic dialogue, fantastic details, and wall sex. What else do you really need from a fic?
Dangle: My thoughts exactly.