rachelmanija's recent post reminded me that I never did get around to posting my recommendations from the 2008 Yuletide rare-fandom fanfic exchange. So a little cat-vacuuming with my bookmarks, and here they are.
First, two stories that everyone has to read, period, end of discussion. They are fanfic in only the very broadest sense and could easily be published in, say, a Datlow/Windling fairy tale anthology or a magazine or some such. Also, they are perfectly and utterly brilliant.
- Fire, Measured By What Doesn't Burn
A contemporary re-telling of a traditional fairy tale, dark and gritty and grab-your-throat compelling. R, 13233 words.
- One Thousand and One and Counting
To the prompt, "A woman tells stories to a man at night - stories that keep her alive. Let it matter that much." Powerful and sad and hopeful. PG, 2894 words.
Seriously, I mean it: go read them.
And now for the rest, behind the cut: 36 stories in 32 fandoms, mostly books, ranging from 200 word character-based snippets to plot-full 16,000+ word tales.
- Whole New World
More "wouldn't have thought it possible": poignant Genie-POV. Yes, the Robin Williams-voiced Genie. PG-13, 1240 words.
- What Is And What Seems To Be
Interesting take on Guinevere; have no idea about its plausibility with regard to the source material. PG, 3007 words.
Blue Castle (L.M. Montgomery)
- Three times Valancy said what she was thinking (and one time she didn't have to)
What it says. Lovely. G, 2066 words.
Bone Dance (Emma Bull)
- A Host of Sparrows
Learning to be comfortable in one's own skin. Quiet compassionate post-book road trip with zebras. G, 3547 words.
Calvin and Hobbes (Bill Watterson)
- the sandwich story
"Hobbes," Calvin says thoughtfully, perched on the sharply slanted roof outside his bedroom window. "Have you always been around?" // Just because it's inevitable doesn't make it any less sad. PG, 1315 words.
Discworld (Terry Pratchett)
- Queen of the Cats
Wonderfully plotty and true-to-canon story. Summary: In which something is going wrong with cats; Diamanda is still trying to gain power the wrong way; Death provides a clue; Granny Weatherwax and Samuel Vimes have to work together; Sybil is perceptive; and young Sam is in way over his head. G, 16367 words.
Discworld / Winnie the Pooh (Terry Pratchett; A.A. Milne)
- In Which Worlds Collide and Eeyore Investigates a Terrible Crime
I continue to be amazed at what Discworld will cross over with. Captures the charm of both worlds admirably (and with an illustration!). G, 5425 words.
Doctrine of Labyrinths (Sarah Monette)
- The Golden Ones
Felix, Mildmay, and a ghost after book 3 [written pre-book 4], with tasty plot and worldbuilding and nearly-perfect voices, e.g, "Fuck me sideways with a - poke bonnet?" R, 9361 words.
- Never to Be Told
Snippet from the POV of the youngest of the seven swan-brothers. PG, 200 words.
Really fun, lively fairy tale retelling. PG, 6180 words.
Fionavar Tapestry (Guy Gavriel Kay)
- No Man of Fionavar
The story of Kevin dan Davor. Excellent look at all the touching threads, with perfect tone and just the right amount of punch. I really like this one. PG-13, 7795 words.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)
- Silent Night
"Dinner was quieter than usual in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Steven C. Kincaid, Sr., on the fourth night after two of their four children disappeared. It was the kind of quiet where every sound seemed to crash to the ground like lead weights. Everyone sat at their normal seats, which left a gaping hole on one side of the dining room table- the place where Claudia and Jamie had once sat." Ouch, in a good way. PG, 1148 words.
Homicide: Life on the Streets
- Learning Is Fundamental
Barnfather requires the squad to "provide the benefit of their learnings, through knowledge sharing and mentoring in order to demonstrate best practices in policing to the incoming class of cadets at the Baltimore City Police Academy." A fun and spot-on slice of season one life. PG-13, 1750 words.
Lions of Al-Rassan (Guy Gavriel Kay)
- The Name of the Stars and the Moons
Elegant examination of Zabira during and after canon. PG-13, 2989 words. [Disclosure: I beta-read this.]
Master Li and Number Ten Ox (Barry Hughart)
- Three Jade Mice
. . . the Golden Silk Cat, and a Finder and Purveyor of Things Esoteric And Valuable. A fun adventure. PG, 4088 words. [Disclosure: I beta-read this.]
- this is not a chick flick
Yes, it's possible to make Persephone/Hades funny, sweet, and charming. PG, 8092 words.
- Red Sky by Morning
Really terrific, beautifully written retelling of a story from Chinese mythology. PG, 1383 words.
- youth: a heartbreakingly schmoopy work of staggering genius
"Danny and Rusty remember being young. // Vaguely. // There's some musty recollection of complete sentences, elementary poker, and lazy nights in Vegas sweating through their suits in the heat." A light nicely-characterized look at their friendship and history with Reuben. G, 596 words.
One Fish, Two Fish (Dr. Seuss)
- Out of the Dark
Seuss done scary. "It began with a noise, something strange, something new. Nothing we'd heard. Believe me, that's rare when you live in a zoo. // We shouldn't have gone, not one step closer. But it had big yellow eyes! Fur ruff and long fingers! // *** // It also had tusks, razor-sharp, and knew how to use them." PG-13, 1270 words.
- En Pointe
Post-series. "Rue knows there is pain in beauty: Rue wears toe shoes." G, 1446 words.
- Spinners of Stories
A thoughtful look at Autor post-series. G, 3152 words. [Disclosure: I beta-read this.]
- Where Stories Go
Pique and Lillie adjust, post-series. PG, 2701 words.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Tom Stoppard)
A modern take that gets the voices and atmosphere just right. PG-13, 1205 words.
Sherlock Holmes + Wimsey/Vane (Arthur Conan Doyle, Dorothy Sayers)
Pitch-perfect crossover vignette. G, 1378 words.
- Undercover Work
Carl plays a prank on Mother. Charming. PG, 1286 words.
Sorcery and Cecilia (Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer)
- The Next Great Adventure
Exchange of letters between the first two books. Great glimpse of their lives. PG, 1208 words.
Spindle's End (Robin McKinley)
- Eyes Wide Open
Peony talks to Sigil about the changes in her life after the end of the book. Thoughtful and plausible. PG, 1763 words.
Steerswoman (Rosemary Kirstein)
- Dumb Animals
If you've read _The Lost Steersman_, you have to read this--it's That Spoiler done magnificiently. PG-13, 1493 words. [Disclosure: I beta-read this.]
Sunshine (Robin McKinley)
Sequel, with recipe, about the goddess of pain. Don't remember the book well enough, but fits what I do. PG, 7044 words.
To Say Nothing of the Dog (Connie Willis)
- Yes, Virginia
Summary: "Ned and Verity's first Christmas, with an earthly chorus of Scandinavians, scientists and sheep." Feels like canon. PG, 3600 words.
Westing Game (Ellen Raskin)
- Winning the Game
"Turtle decides not to fake her own death, in the end; it isn't necessary and anyway Angela would worry." Sequel very much in the spirit of the book. PG, 1599 words.
Wimsey/Vane (Dorothy Sayers)
- 10 x 100
Ten drabbles about Charles Parker and how his relationship with Peter comes full circle. Warm and insightful look at their friendship. G, 1020 words.
- The Frivolous Fable of a Spinster's Suspicions
Miss Climpson, Peter, and Harriet, sometime early in the series. Light, charming, good character voices. PG, 2656 words.
- Poor Hardworkin' Pleeshman
How Wimsey came to assist Parker at the beginning, with cameos from the Dowager Duchess and Bunter. Good character voices. G, 1916 words.
Young Wizards (Diane Duane)
Intertwined stories of Tom and Carl, and Nita and Kit. The wizardly problem doesn't quite snap into focus the way I would like, but the characterizations are terrific. PG, 8532 words.
- The Amazing Adventures of Hat Guy and the Girl Who Stole His Hat
Another in the "wouldn't have thought it possible" Yuletide column. // "They spend a month living in a Pasadena basement. It's a short-term thing, until they get enough money to move on. They wait tables, and go around wearing signs saying "Will Fix Computer For Food", and sometimes, when yet another guy says something about girl geeks or girl gamers or girl anything, they get a bit of extra cash when they promise not to tell anyone how far up his ass the stiletto went." PG-13, 1002 words.
(Note that commenting on the stories is currently closed because the archive is being moved, but if you like, say so here, and I will leave links when the comments are back up. Also, the author links are closed because they always are before the current year's stories are posted and the authors are revealed, so if you want to see what else those authors have written, you'll have to wait a month.)