:In a new post, list ten fic that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take but a few minutes, and don’t think too hard — they don’t have to be the “right” works, or even all the same pairing or fandom, just the fics that have touched you or that stuck with you somehow.
I'm sure I could come up with ten more, but these are the ones that came immediately to mind (and which I could find again online!):
1.) From Me To Q
by Julia Houston (Star Trek: The Next Generation). Star Trek
in its first three incarnations is one of my oldest fandoms, and the time when TNG and then DS9 were broadcast was when I started to get aquainted with fanfiction, first via fanzines and then via the earliest online archives. Finding this particular story was like striking gold. It's TNG; it's plotty, like a well written episode complete with ethical dilemmas; it's Picard/Q (which was what I was looking for when finding the story) but uses the entire TNG ensemble well; it takes the most reviled of fanfic clichés, the Mary Sue, and gives it a highly original twist. (Well, back then it was original, for all I know, it's been often imitated since.) Also, the dialogue sparkles. In short, I fell in love, so much so that I gave Voyager
, which I had almost given up upon, another shot, simply because Julia Houston back then was also writing Voyager reviews and I adored her writing that much.
2.) Last Set Before Closing
, by Kat Allison. (Highlander: The Series
). HL was another early online fandom of mine, and this story left me shaken and breathless the first time I read it. On the surface, not much happens in this tale, which is set several years after the series ended; Joe Dawson is very old, not far from death, and his mind has started to wander; Duncan visits. Behind that simple description hides one of the best and most gutwrenching stories I've read in any fandom, which at once gives us the relationship between Joe and Duncan, and how both of them relate to Methos, about friendship, about mortals and immortals, and at the same time manages to say something very personal to anyone who has an older relative. (Until then, I don't think I had ever read fanfiction tackling a rl subject such as aging, its physical and mental decline, so unflinchingly, and with a beloved character, no less.) Another reason why I love it is this: at the time when it was first posted, its take on Methos was pretty much unique and went directly against how most fans then wrote him. (Probably still does.) And yet I find it entirely plausible.
3.) Changed Utterly
by Parda (Highlander: The Series
). Another HL story. Parda was a writer I interacted with a lot during my HL days, both as a reader and as a writer. This story is still my favourite of hers, and at the time it was first posted struck me as one of the best meditations onf grief and surviving I had read i nthe fandom. It's set about a year after the show ends, wherein Duncan is still dealing with Richie’s fate, when he sees Cassandra again. Not present in body but very much in thought are Methos, Connor and Richie. What to do when you’ve both done and experienced the unforgivable is a question with a dozen answers and none, and all the characters here are dealing with it. Poetic and profound.
4.) Father's Heart
by Fernwithy ( Star Wars
). Still my favourite Star Wars
story, many years later (this was written shortly after The Phantom Menace
was released). Set between trilogies, it pulls off something a lot of people tried since, and does so in a credible way: Vader and the child and later teenager Leia forming a tentative friendship, which falls apart with a vengeance as she grows older and experiences the Empire at its worst. In addition to a terrific take on Leia and Vader, Bail Organa and his wife (who in this version is one of the former handmaidens, Sabé) as well as some original characters are compellingly written. ( Not to mention it caters to two of my narrative soft spots: non-romantic intense relationship, relationship that breaks up because of politics and ethics (and rightly so). ) I was only ever at the periphery of SW fandom, not least because I happen to like the prequels, but this story made me search for and read a lot of SW fanfiction for a while. It was years before I found its match.
by Penknife (X-Men
movieverse). This is an X2 AU, ensemble story, Scott pov, and one of the earliest penknife
stories I read. X2 had just been released. As after X1, I hunted for stories that weren't Wolverine/Rogue. Hard to imagine for current day fans, but back then it was actually difficult to find Magneto/Xavier stories, or stories that featured Mystique in a prominent role, or stories that featured Scott at all. Bingo, thought I, when I found this one, and little did I know I had also found a favourite writer in many fandoms more. Oh, and I think this was the first AU I really liked (the twist is that Scott realises a bit sooner what's going on during the prison visit at the start of the movie, with the result that he and Xavier end up as fugitives together with Magneto and Mystique; it's Jean who gets captured instead). Until then, I had avoided AUs. After reading it, I gave them a shot.
6.) Ten Thousand Candles
by Andraste. This is another early story by a future favourite writer; Charles Xavier post X2, trying to cope with all that happened (read: ( spoiler for big X2 twist )
). Back then, Charles Xavier centric stories were incredibly rare; stories in which he wasn't either the wise mentor type or trying to win Erik back were even rarer. What he experiences in X2 is pretty horrifying, and I loved finding a story which addressed that. Of course, Andraste turned out to be the biggest Xavier expert in the planet, but I didn't know that then. :)
7.) Bed of Bones
by Roz Kaveney (Buffy the Vampire Slayer
): I had spotted Roz on a couple of Buffy discussion mailing lists (remember those?), but this was the first BTVS or fanfiction in any fandom tale of hers that I had read, and it was sharp, poetic, and made the First Slayer(about whom at this point we only knew what Restless
had mentioned) into a fascinating character. I was wowed. It also raised my standard of expectation re: fanfiction creating mythology in present day or futuristic fandoms to no end.
8.) Queen of Spades
by Astolat (James Bond: Casino Royale
): Ah, ye golden days when the Craig Casino Royale
had been released and for the first time in my life I actually went and looked for Bond fanfiction, because Dench!M and Craig!Bond dynamic in that movie had gripped me in and fascinated me. (I had also loved Eva Green as Vesper and her relationship with Bond, but not in a way that made me look for fanfic.) And again, I hit gold. I think this probably was
the first Bond/M story online. It set a most pleasing trend - for the next few years, you could rely on Yuletide including some great and sharp Bond and M fanfiction. (And then came Skyfall
which brought the avalanche of Bond/Q and the Bond movies were no longer qualified for Yuletide, but that's another story.) Now, most combinations that have one character in a position of power over the other character are hard to sell to me as pairings, but there are exceptions, and Queen of Spades
made me realize Dench!M and Craig!Bond were such an exception for me, because wow. (It also made me realise that I had a new story or rather old story archetype, not necessarily always as pairings, I love the gen variations, too, but: Morally ambiguous queens and their morally ambiguous battered knights, bring them on! Though only if the Queen is the older of the two. Read: Dany/Jorah does nothing fo rme.)
9: Working Order
by Eatscissors (Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles
). John/Cameron is a pairing that intrigues me but which I find more interesting on the actual show than in most of fanfiction, because, imo as often, fanfic tends to simplify and dispense with much that makes this particular relationship so layered, starting with the fact that Cameron is
a machine, no matter what she looks like.( Some spoilery ramblings about John and Cameron on the show ensue. ) Working Order
, by contrast, addresses this and the other issues between them head-on while also being one of those stories where the explicit sex is part of the character exploration instead of reading as just being there for its own sake. For a reader like me who often finds sex scenes (both slash and het) reading like involuntarily funny gymnastic mannuals, with the participants interchangable to other fandoms and thus not very interesting, this was an eye opener. Really well written.
10.) Petrarchan Sonnets from the Vatican
by Petra (The Borgias
): I was and am grateful for all the stories I got in exchanges, and often loved them to bits, but this one will always remain special. Its just that awesome. It's a story in the guise of a fake article about the discovery of sonnets between L.B. (now who could that possibly be in Borgias
fandom?) and person unknown, female and apparantly her tutor. Complete with the sonnets. And the commentary. Absolutely delightful, needless to say, poetic (my Yulewriter's ability to compose Petrarchan Sonnets with clever allusions to events from the show's first season still stuns me), and full of subtlety, and the wit and love for language that the characters in question display on the show as well (and did in history). (And now I'm grieved again that the Lucrezia and Guilia relationship post s1 fell by the wayside on the show, but never mind me.) If I could ensure that just one bit of Borgias
fanfiction survives, this would be it.