Meanwhile, I'm eyeing at least one treat, unless rl collapses on me.
Meanwhile, I'm eyeing at least one treat, unless rl collapses on me.
I'm happy and grateful you're going to write a story for me. We must share at least one fandom, and I hope you'll have fun writing in it. The ideas in my requests are just that: ideas. If you feel inspired by another direction of story altogether, go for it, as long as it features the characters I requested.
General likes and dislikes: pretty ordinary. I don't like character bashing. (Or the bashing of a relationship in favour of another, but that hardly applies with my requests.) Not to be confused with whitewashing; some of the characters I asked so have canonically done some pretty apalling things, and you don't have to pretend they didn't, or that it was all someone else's fault, just because I love them. As long as they come across as three dimensional people with flaws and strengths, I'll be content.
Quiet character exploration or plotty tale, gen or slash/het/any combination thereof, humor or dark fic, canon or AU, it's all good, though unless you're one of those awesomely talented people who can write characterisation via sex, I'd prefer a story that's more than a PWP.
Now, as to individual requests:
( The Americans )
( Penny Dreadful )
( 15th Century RPF )
( Bates Motel )
( Armadale )
Since the Yuletide nominations are open now, Penny Dreadful fans, shouldn't we coordinate our efforts to get as many characters as possible nominated? (However, I'll have to drop my Vikings intentions since this year you can nominate three fandoms, no more. I definitely want Penny Dreadful and The Americans, which leaves me with just one slot for one of my cracky historical RPF ideas.
Also: it's always a pleasure when a poster you appreciate discovers an old show of yours for the first time. local_max is watching Twin Peaks, and has been writing Twin Peaks meta already. The owls are not what they seem!
Lastly: for some reason, I can't copy a link to The Guardian anymore on this iPad since the latest update, so, without links: you may or may not have heard about the current kerfuffle that unfolded when Hilary Mantel's short story The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher and an interview accompagnying it in which she mentioned having carried it with her for thirty years got published. Now on the one hand, as Lisa Appignanesi points out in one of the commenting articles I can't link, either, given that assassination plots against public figures who did in fact not get assassinated have a long tradition in fiction, both of the written, tv and movie kind (she mentions The Day of the Jackal for Charles de Gaulle, and Nicholas Baker's 2004 take on the assassination of George W. Bush, which didn't get him called "sick and deranged" or in need of a therapist or a visit by the coppers). But on the other, the interview with Mantel that went with the publication of the story contained something I objected to as well, and it wasn't the idea of killing off Margaret T. in fiction. (Or for that matter, anyone in fiction. I mean, were it a public figure I actually care about, like, say, Patrick Stewart, I certainly wouldn't read it, but I wouldn't call the pitchforks, either.) No, it's Mantel something I also recall Antonia Fraser saying once, and several others when commenting on Thatcher: calling her a "psychological transvestite" (or, to give the context: The idea that women must imitate men to succeed is anti-feminist. She was not of woman born. She was a psychological transvestite. (Mantel) or "honorary male" (Fraser, who also called Elizabeth Tudor this when comparing her to Mary Stuart), in other words, a woman who isn't really a woman, not entitled to be treated as a woman. Which, just: no. "Woman" isn't a title you can deserve or can be discarded of.
Speculating, I would guess where this comes from: if you're a woman seeing yourself as a feminist, and loathe a female politician, you're unconformtably aware that there is an eons old misogynistic tradition there of vilifiying any woman in power. On the other hand, this politician truly does do and say things you can't stomach, and which you'd have no problem attacking were they voiced and done by a male politician. So your psychological and emotional out is to declare that this woman doesn't deserve any type of female solidarity because she's not truly a woman. I get the mechanism of that, but that doesn't make it less objectionable for me, because, to repeat: nobody gets to decide who is or isn't a woman. Margaret Thatcher did a great many things which left lasting damage to British society. She also was beyond any doubt a woman. (And let's not even get into the use of "transvestite" as a negative.) And it should be possible to hold forth on why her policies were objectionable without feeling the urge to strip her of her gender.
One of my favourite dead Scots, James Boswell, would have probably have voted pro-Union, unless of course the vote took place on a day where he had a bad experience in the theatre of the crowd booing fellow Scotsmen. I was delighted to hear that there will be a a film about his defense of Mary Bryant, because a fictionalised version of that episode in his life has been an old Yuletide request of mine. I never had the chance to watch the play the film will be based upon, Boswell for the Defense, and the tv two parter about Mary Bryant, while great, only mentions Boswell in dialogue and doesn't let him show up in person. However, I'm not sure about the actor they cast as Boswell. I mean: does my icon look like Steve Coogan to you? (It's Boswell as sketched by Sir Joshua Reynolds.) (Then again: lots of actors played people they didn't resemble physically and were so good no one cared, the primary example being Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote.) So not only do I have the film to look foward to in 2015, but a better chance for fanfiction in the following Yuletide because let's face it, watching the movie will be easier for people than reading biographies.
Tomorrow, I'll be off to Southern Tyrolia for a week with the APs. I'll have an internet connection, but only the chance to watch those tv episodes they put up at iTunes the day after (the trusty Ipad can't be tricked even by TunnelBear), which is bad timing because next week a whole lot tv shows start their new season, not to mention the ongoing Doctor Who and Manhattan. Well, we'll see what I can get. Mostly I hope for good weather, because after this rainy summer we need it, and Southern Tyrolia is gorgeous to hike through.
Anyway: Yuletide, since one can nominate fandoms and characters on September 22nd. There are a few new canons I've been aquainted with since last year which could qualify: The Americans (has the advantage that there's no character I wouldn't want to read it or write about), Penny Dreadful (ditto, though of course I'll request Vanessa and Malcolm), Vikings (will ask for Siggy and Laguertha, must ponder whom to offer). (Though with the last I have the problem of not having watched the second season yet, which makes for spoiler-wariness. Maybe I can rectify this before Yuletide, though.) I will definitely nominate and offer Bates Motel again.
I also have two somewhat cracky historical RPF ideas which nonetheless I'd love someone to write if I shan't write them myself: Margaret Beaufort meets Rodrigo Borgia aka Pope Alexander VI is the older of the two. Could be the historical characters in the writer's interpretation, could be The Borgias version of Rodrigo meeting The White Queen's Margaret, that would be utterly up to the writer. (The White Queen was an - considering the source, expected - let down by and large, but Amanda Hale as Margaret Beaufort was fabulous.
The other cracky RPF idea is Saving Mrs. Fleming (concept and title obviously inspired by Saving Mr. Banks, this year's Disney take on P.L Travers and their very own Walt), wherein Mary Renault, mostly known these days for her Greek history novels plus the early WWII set The Charioteer, goes to Hollywood where MGM has optioned her early (just pre WWII set) novel Return of Night (MGM actually did give her some sort of prize for it, but the rest is fiction) and clashes with fellow Brit Alfred Hitchcock who, following his success with Rebecca, is asked to transform another novel into a hit movie. Alas, Hitch and his wife Alma are busy rewriting the Renaultian tale into a sly murder mystery/satire. Renault/Hitchcock clashes about everything ensue, until they discover their mutual mother issues give them at least one thing in common and bond. Haven't decided yet whether in this AU the film would actually get made, though.
...I don't think anyone would read up on Renault and Hitchcock for my sake, so it's probably a case of "offer to write" rather than "request", but it's one of those pesky silly ideas you can't get out of your head.
Back to Yuletide ideas: I would like to nominate Sansom's Shardlake novels as a fandom. Now they have a lot of readers, but would they volunteer to write? Book fandoms can be intimidating. There is, of course, huge crossover potential to 16th century RPF in general and Hilary Mantel's Cromwell novels in particular, especially if I were to ask for Matthew Shardlake's pre-Dissolution career and relationship with Cromwell, or the same for Barack pre-Dark Fire. Though I would also love to read a story about Tamasin between novels "Revelation" and "Heartstone", working in a queen's household again and having to decide whether or not to take Jack back...
This year something happened to me which never did before: I was matched with a recipient who requested something very similar to one of my own requests, and then I got exactly the story same type of story as a gift that I myself was writing as a result. Since it was one about Marie and Skyler and the aftermath of Certain Spoilery Events, I was all for it. My own recipient was nicole_anell, whose Battlestar Galactica meta I love, and so I was rather desperately hoping she'd like the result, which used a lot of the headcanon I have about the childhood and adolesence of the Lambert sisters as well:
Blood Ties (7070 words) by Selena
Fandom: Breaking Bad
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Marie Schrader & Skyler White, Hank Schrader/Marie Schrader, Skyler White/Walter White
Characters: Marie Schrader, Skyler White, Hank Schrader, Walter White Jr., Walter White
Additional Tags: Character Study, Grief/Mourning, Family Dynamics, Siblings
chaila guessed this was my story, and thus is entitled to a drabble on the subject of her choice if she wants one.
My other story, which I wrote as a treat, is set in the granddaddy of all Crime-And-The-Dysfunctional-Family fandoms, The Godfather. I've always wanted to explore Connie, and her relationships with her brothers, particularly Michael, but also Connie and her mother, and the Godfather saga, which is as male-centric a narrative as they come, from a female pov. Now I know the book and the movies pretty well, but when I refreshed my canon knowledge, I still was startled to realise that I had plain forgotten Fredo was married in the second film (let alone what his wife was called - Deanna), and had trouble remembering the name of Sonny's wife (Sandra). Also, Vito Corleone's wife is referred to so often as "Mama Corleone", "the Don's wife" etc. that it took some time to hunt down her first name as well (Carmella). Which in itself tells you something about female characters not Kay or Connie in The Godfather. Anyway, the scene at Fredo's funeral between Connie, Sandra and Deanna ended up as one of my favourite things to write, and I could finally create something with the thoughts I had about how her parents' reaction to what Connie's marriage turned out to be formed her. As for Connie and Michael, who, as the third movie shows, end up having spent most of their lives together which was certainly not what either of them expected - well, read for yourselves:
Fuit Quondam (4869 words) by Selena
Fandom: The Godfather (1972 1974 1990)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Connie Corleone Rizzi & Michael Corleone, Connie Corleone Rizzi & Santino "Sonny" Corleone, Connie Corleone Rizzi & Vito Corleone, Connie Corleone Rizzi/Carlo Rizzi, Kay Adams/Michael Corleone, Connie Corleone Rizzi & Frederico "Fredo" Corleone, Connie Corleone Rizzi & Carmella Corleone
Characters: Connie Corleone Rizzi, Michael Corleone, Carmella Corleone, Santino "Sonny" Corleone, Vito Corleone, Sandra Corleone, Deanna Corleone, Kay Adams, Carlo Rizzi, Tom Hagen, Frederico "Fredo" Corleone
Additional Tags: Character Study, Siblings, Mother-Daughter Relationship
Being a Corleone is supposed to be different when you're a woman. Connie and her brothers through the years.
( recs for The Borgias, Historical RPF, Lord of the Flies, Puss-in-Boots, Here Be Dragons, The Third Man and The Wire )
( Recs for Breaking Bad, Dexter, Galaxy Quest, The Last Unicorn, Psycho, Robot Series by Isaac Asimov, Sarah Jane Adventures and Watership Down )
( Recs for Being Human, Elementary, Broadchurch, Emma, Coriolanus, Historical RPF, A Place of Greater Safety, Orphan Black )
My present is this great Breaking Bad story:
Unbreaking (4384 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Breaking Bad
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Hank Schrader/Marie Schrader, Marie Schrader & Skyler White
Characters: Marie Schrader, Skyler White, Walter White Jr., Holly White
Additional Tags: Sister-Sister Relationship, Grief/Mourning, Character Study, Dysfunctional Family, Season/Series 05, Post-Canon
It's the Marie story I wished for, and I love it. As for all the other stories now available to read, it will take me a while, due to Christmas business (thank you mails to write, visiting family members to entertain), which I imagine will be the case for a lot of us. Still: YULETIDE!
If anyone is wondering, I did start to watch Once upon a time: Wonderland and so far it seems to be delightfully daft, plus it has my favourite male werewolf, Tom McNair aka Michael Socha, in a prominent role, which is a plus. Not instant must see tv, but so far, so good, we'll see. Haven't gotten around to SHIELD yet, or Sleepy Hollow, or any of the other new kids because Darth Real Life. Sorry for any not replied to comments, it's not you, it's my cold and the need to finish various writing tasks.
Thank you so much for writing me a present! We share at least one fandom, and I'm looking forward to finding out what that shared interest inspires in you.
( General likes and dislikes )
( Breaking Bad )
( 18th & 19th Century RPF )
( Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Album) - The Beatles )
( Bates Motel (2013) )
( 14th Century RPF )
( The Welsh Princes Trilogy - Sharon Kay Penman )
...which turned out to be an author who had written precisely the required amount of fanfic, and no more. (Five stories.) All shippery, which isn't that much of a problem as it happens to be one of the few things I ship as well. (Though on a less fluffy note, but that's not a problem, either; that relationship just lends itself to crack fic, and to treat it as grimdark all the time would be just as wrong.) What IS a problem is that the first story I clicked was a Torchwood crossover, set after Children of Earth, so, being the big CoE fan I am, I started my exploration with this story. Alas, this meant an immediate inner argument. Starting with the basics, but okay, handwaving the basic premise and saying this does happen: then it's still apparant she hasn't actually watched Children of Earth and just knows one particular thing that happens in it (the one that got the main ships's folllowers upset). So I found myself arguing "but Jack wouldn't..." and "no way" and "if... then he'd rather..." etc. Now, at a quick glance none of the other stories - which are amusing unobjectionable fluff for the DW ship - made me argue. But fiction that gets a strong reaction from me, even a negative one, is just more inspiring, and still arguing in my head, I did get inspired.
Which leads me to a question. I abhor bashing. Of characters, of relationships, and, well, of other stories, too. Plus that's one of the things the ficathon frowns on. But my idea would basically turn the premise of the original story on its head and completely rearrange the emotional priorities of one of the two main characters. Would this come across as bashing or would it simply be seen as creatively remixing?
In Yuletide news, I hit upon another crazy idea and decided to nominate the Beatles' Seargent Pepper's Lonely Heartsclub Band album as a fandom, with Billy Shears, Lovely Rita, Lucy, the girlf from She's Leaving Home and Sgt. Pepper as possible characters. A few years ago, before I dared to write Yuletide, someone nominated Revolver and got plenty of stories, so there is precedence. Also, this nomination spreadsheet offers a handy overview of what everyone else thinks of nominating, and I've spotted a few possibilities where I could offer - I'd definitely like to tackle Connie Corleone from The Godfather, because I thought while Coppola's film version and Talia Shire's performance (Coppola casting his own sister as Connie is an interesting subtext) improved somewhat on Mario Puzo's horribly sexist writing of her, there is still a lot of fleshing out and exploration possible, especially given the gap between II and III and Connie basically becoming Michael's consigliere in between. Sharon Penman's Welsh trilogy also offers intriguing possibilities (what were Davydd ap Gruffyd's years as a hostage at the English court like, for starters?). And someone else kindly offered to nominate Bates Motel so I can get another historical fandom in. It's all proceeding very promisingly indeed.
Regarding Yuletide, of course I will sign up, but I'm a bit flummoxed as to which fandoms to request, and which to offer to write, especially given the new rules. Breaking Bad seems to be still applicable, which is good since I want Team Purple fanfiction - i.e. stories with Marie and/or Hank Schrader in the main roles -, Orphan Blackk ditto, but I'm pretty sure other people will request that and ask for stories that aren't all Cosima/Delphine (nothing against Cosima/Delphine, but that's the Jack/Ianto of tiny tiny Orphan Black fanfiction right now, and there are so many aspects of the show that interest me more!). But most of my other current fandom preoccupations are too big to qualify for Yuletide. Hm. I do have a hankering for some historical RPF about Sir William Hamilton and Emma that I could try to sneak in (yes, yes, Susan Sontag did it, but hers is just one version); I'm not actually that interested in Nelson, but those years where Emma goes from discarded mistress of nephew who tries to palm her off to his uncle to breaking the class barriers in when Sir William marries her after having lived with her for several years already; the way she made herself the 18th century version of a European star (what were her "atttidudes", if not performance art?) and William, very clear on her past, very aware of what everyone was thinking and by no means a progressive (other than in natural sciences and in his passion for the budding field of archaelogy, where he was one of the early experts who made the most of having the rediscovered Pompeji next door), went from doing the traditional Georgian aristocrat thing in "keeping" her as a mistress to deciding to marry her, which was exactly the opposite of convention. (He never was less than supportive of her when Nelson arrived on the scene, too, which got him even more public ridicule. There is a great letter where he chastises Nelson, who apparantly had thrown a jealous fit at the thought of Emma meeting the Prince Regent, not to be silly and upset her.)
Other Historical RPF possibilities: Katherine Swynford, recently brought to mind; James Boswell, whom I've requested before; Agrippina the Younger, since I lucked out last year and got Terentia and Clodia as a treat.
Writing: again, Breaking Bad and Orphan Black, I'd be up for. My default options for writing were always Greek and Roman mythology, which is going to be split this year, but I could volunteer for indvidual myths once I see which is nominated. Ditto for individual fairy tales. And maybe I'm lucky and someone will nominate a classic movie again I'm also keen on, like last year (though minus the bit of confusion once the "dear Yuletide writer" letter got posted).
Lebenswerk (9874 words) by Selena
Fandom: Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Norma Desmond/Max von Mayerling, Norma Desmond/Joe Gillis
Characters: Max von Mayerling, Norma Desmond, Cecil B. DeMille, Noah Cross (Chinatown), Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, Joe Gillis, Mabel Normand
Eight movies Max von Mayerling made with Norma Desmond. Max, Norma, and the camera: their story from the beginning to the end.
You may recall there was a bit confusion when I got my assignment, and I was thus worried whether or not the recipient would like the story at all. As it turns out, she was the ideal audience every writer dreams of, giving extensive feedback for every chapter and writing a lovely overall review here. This was a big relief, not least because Sunset Boulevard is one of my favourite movies of all time, and when you play in the universe of the late, great Billy Wilder, you really don't want to make a mess of things.
( Ramblings about the writing of the story follows, with spoilers for said story )
Such an easy game (11874 words) by Selena
Fandom: Swinging London RPF, The Beatles
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Alma Cogan/Brian Epstein, Alma Cogan/John Lennon, Brian Epstein/John Lennon, Alma Cogan & Paul McCartney, John Lennon/Paul McCartney, Cynthia Lennon/John Lennon
Characters: Alma Cogan, Brian Epstein, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Sandra Caron, Fay Cohen, Cynthia Lennon, Jane Asher
Friendship, misunderstandings, sex and song: or, what happened when the biggest British singer of the 50s met the biggest British band of the 60s and fell for their gay manager. Or did she? Alma Cogan, Brian Epstein and the Beatles.
naraht and I had dared each other to write this story for eons, so when I saw her prompt, I decided to take the plunge and do it as a treat. Her thoughtful review is here, and honestly, I like her summary ("it is about fame and love and family and art and being Jewish and being queer and so much else besides") much better than mine!
( Ramblings about the writing and spoilers follow )
In Yuletide news, I got some lovely comments on both stories by now; more on the official assignment than on the treat, but that was to be expected because of the fandoms in question. Also, I spotted the assignment story recced on the journal of someone who is a complete stranger, which is extra thrilling. For all the fretting, that's the charm of the anonymous period before the reveal: getting comments, and perhaps being recced, solely on the basis of the story itself.
I haven't had the chance to watch the film version of Les Miserables yet for the simple reason it hasn't been released in Bamberg (but I'm off to Munich again next week, which is when I'll also go watch The Hobbit for a second time in the undubbed version). However, being familiar with both the novel and the musical meant I've been leisurely reading through reviews. Some comments about Marius reminded me that Hugo is a good example of reader/viewer training clashing with authorial intent, and not in the usual way. Because I don't think Marius is meant to be the young romantic hero of the tale (and failing at it). Hugo, writing from exile on his channel island because of his anti-Napoleon-III. pamphlet Napoleon Le Petit, isn't exactly charitable towards Marius ; ( spoilers for Les Mis ensue ) And yet Marius is still the most sympathetic variation of a certain type that shows up in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Le Roi s'amuse, the drama which forms the basis of Verdi's opera Rigoletto (Verdi had to transport the whole plot to Mantua and make the king a duke in order to get around the censor), always in conjunction with an amazing woman in unrequited love with him. ( Spoilers for Notre Dame and Rigoletto ensue, along with ramblings on a favourite Hugo trope. )
Singin' In The Rain: Top Billing
What happened to Lina Lamont and Cosmo Brown after the film. The author hit on the ingeneous idea of letting Lina essentially become Hedda Hopper (who was a film actress before switching to becoming one of the two lethal gossip journalists of Hollywood), while Cosmo gets into script writing in earnest, and the zingers fly while Hollywood is Hollywood.
Star of the Guardians: Sanctuary
I think I may have mentioned before, years ago, that among the many, many Star Wars inspired space operas, this one, a series of novels by Margaret Weis is my clear favourite. Given the central relationship in it is between friends/lovers-turned-enemies-turned-all
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Familiar
At Ezri's zhian'tara, she is most nervous about meeting the most recent former host of the Dax symbiont. I'm fond of Dax in various incarnations, and this one was written beautifully. The Ezri-Jadzia-in-Kasidy encounter is the well deserved climax, but I confess I had a particular soft spot for Curzon-in-Quark.
Norse Mythology: The Lidless Eyes of Night
Sigyn is holding the bowl. Fantastic fleshing out of a character somewhat obscure in the myths, Loki's wife Sigyn. Pulls no punches.
Looper: Across The Sea: impossible to describe in an unspoilery fashion, and the film is still relatively new, so I shan't try. Let's just say it's an intense portrayal of the three main characters that deals with some of the central questions of the film.
The Spy's Guide To Survivor's Guilt: Carrie after season 2. A possible future. Excellent ensemble use, and I love the Carrie-Dana encouner in particular.
L'Dor Vador: Backstory for Saul and Carrie, Saul's pov. How their relationship was forged. A magnificent Saul voice.
Adrian Mole Diaries For Historical Characters:
I picked this header because there are actually two this Yuletide, and they're both hilarious, one for Alexander the Great and one for Augustine. The Augustine one has already been recced all over the place, but I'll link it anyway, because it's just that good:
The Very Secret Diaries of Saint Augustine
Correspondence Jerome continues. Infuriating. Do not understand why he does not see my point! Translation of "gourd" vital to understanding of gospels.
And then we have young Alexander, Achilles and Patroklos fanboy extraordinaire, whose parents just don't get it:
The Not Remotely Secret Memoirs of Alexander the Great, Aged 13¾
When will I meet my own Patroklos??? Father has dozens of lovers, and six wives to boot. I only want one! Well, I suppose I’ll need a Queen someday, as well, but one of those will be quite enough, too.
As far as Whedon shows are concerned, I think of Dollhouse as an interesting and sometimes even fascinating failure, but it had its moments and most definitely its actors. Some of the characters stuck with me, which is why I still check out the fanfic at Yuletide, and I'm glad I did, because this Topher portrait just about kills me.
However, as a reader, I'm in unqualified ecstasy. Have a first bunch of recs (excluding, of course, my gifts which I have already talked about).
History/Hunger Games: The Sticking Place
Yes, you read the fandoms right. Someone wrote an ingenious fusion of the Hunger Games premise with the 15th century. In the Fifth Hunger Games, Lucrezia Borgia, Richard (III.) of York, Marguerite d'Anjou and poor Henry of Lancaster are all tributes. It sounds like crack, but the characters are played, err, written straight, and of course it has to end the way it does.
History: The most pleasant tale of Lady Bessy
Four titles Elizabeth of York never held, and one she did. The "Five Things" format applied to the woman who was the last Planatagenet princess and the first Tudor queen, but rarely gets fictional or biographical attention. This year, she got several stories. This one which applies the "Five Things" format in ingenious ways is my favourite.
A Place of Greater Safety: Parallel or Together
In which Camille Desmoulins tries to bring Robespierre and Danton together. It doesn't work out the way he expected. The characterisations ring very true to Hilary Mantel's novel, and it does something I've been secretly and not so secretly hoping for when reading the actual book, where it didn't but could have. :)
The Subtle Arrangement of Stones: the Babylon 5 story I never knew was missing in my life, but retrospectively it so was, and oh, how it wins at Yuletide! Set during the first season. Londo, G'Kar and Delenn are kidnapped by the Homeguard, and it's up to their valiant aides, Vir, Na'Toth and Lennier to rescue them. The characterisations and - as invevitable given the characters in question - the bickering are top notch, the format (Garibaldi interviewing everyone for the security files afterwards) ingenious, and it fits into canon beautifully. I loved this to bits.
The Price of a Favour: Timov in the days of Cartagia. I'm always thrilled to find fic dealing with my favourite B5 one episode character, and this was great.
In Flagrante: three times Londo and G'Kar are caught in the act. One happy, one angry, one sad. Alternatively funny and heartbreaking, as Londo and G'Kar are wont to be.
James Bond: Protégé
M passes on what she learned. Contains two of my favourite things, M backstory and Eve Moneypenny fleshing out. I loved it.
Elementary (which had 21 new stories in Yuletide - hooray!):
Three Anniversaries: A Love Story: Not all great love stories are about romance is the summary the author gives, and this one celebrates the (platonic) friendship between Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson through the years. Present and future fic that feels true to where the characters are now and where they could be through the years, and has that same restraint and understated affection I find appealing on the show.
The Long Summer: this one is an ensemble fic that uses a frustrating case to show Holmes' relationships to Watson, Gregson, Bell and deliver an excellent Holmes character exploration to boot.
Greek Mythology: this year one of the requests was for a story about Ariadne and Icarus growing up together in Crete. This resulted in a dozen or so great tales, and it feels unfair to single one out, but this is my favourite of them all:
Thirteen Views Of A Labyrinth: They are not so very different, Ariadne and Pasiphaë, Icarus and Daedalus, Ariadne and Icarus. This has fantastic world building and awe-inspiring characterisations of everyone, is full of shades of grey and surprising yet sense making twists on the myths. I admire it so much.
The Count of Monte-Cristo: Constant.
It's a rare story which takes one of the source canon's villains - in this case Fernand Mondego, the later Count de Morcerf - and fleshes him out without going the excuse and woobiefication road. This story accomplishes it.
New Tricks: New Tricks for Old Dogs (or Five Alternate Universes Where Sandra Pullman Was Always Awesome)
What the title says. :) Wonderful banter and character voices in every universe.
Prometheus: Satellites: Three events in the life of Peter Weyland. Dysfunctional family relationships are my soft spot, and they rarely come more messed up than with Weyland, Meredith Vickers and David 8. This story gives us some background for this, in a Weyland, Meredith and David pov respectively, and it's fascinating.
And I got not one, not two, but THREE stories as gifts, which makes me beaming as if someone reformed by face to a permanent grin. (Otoh, that sounds suspiciously like the Joker and his victims, so perhaps not the best simile. But you know what I mean.)
Here is what I got, in historical order, for lo and behold, all these stories are based on real people:
Scenes from something which is certainly not a friendship: Two formidable ladies from the last days of the Republic, Terentia (Cicero’s wife) and Clodia (as far as Roman historians were concerned, her total opposite in terms of life style and politics). The relationship the author builds up between them is terrifically written, the dialogues sparkle and then a quiet descriptive statement hits you in the gut with its understated emotion, and watch out for the appearance of the most famous Roman lady of the early empire, Livia, as a young woman.
The Sound of Thunder: the story of the Brontes begins when four gifted children start to play with toy soldiers, and it ends, all too soon, when the toy soldiers are all that is left. This author wrote me the birth of Angria and Gondal, the morning Branwell brought his new toys to his sisters and their imaginations were set on fire, and she also gave me the two survivors after all those children were gone, Patrick Bronte and Arthur Nicholls. I loved it.
Swinging London History:
A guy who really knows his way around: in which young Brian Epstein meets even younger Andrew Loog Oldham, who wants a job and maybe more. Yes, the manager of the Rolling Stones used to work for the manager of the Beatles just around the time when everyone was on the verge of getting their breakthrough, and the author – the only one of my Yuletide authors whose identity I’m fairly certain I can guess – develops a fascinating dynamic between these two men, and captures the whole dawn-of-Swinging-London atmosphere beautifully.
Now, before I dive into the rest of the treasure: I think the two stories I wrote are pretty obvious, but then, I thought that before and was wrong. If you can guess them, you get a drabble on the subject of your choice, provided I know the canon.