Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,
Kate
kate_nepveu

Yuletide 2010 recommendations

I have ridiculously-belated Yuletide recs! For 2010, I downloaded everything that looked remotely like I could read it (that is, either I had some familiarity with the source or had seen it recommended as no-familiarity-necessary), smushed the files into several really big e-books, and read them offline. I don't know if this is why I have so many more this year, but honest, I really did winnow these down: this list represents about the fourth iteration of my "maybe recommend" composite e-book file. (And then after I formatted this post I stalled on it for ages and ages. Oops.)

I couldn't name just a couple standout favorites as I did last year, so I'm just going to list these by genre, with copious use of cut-tags because the list is so long. (If you're not reading this on Dreamwidth, come use the day view and you can inline-expand only the cut tags you're interested in!)

Format note: the first five lines (title, word count, author; fandom; rating; warning; summary) are those provided by the author; they're followed by my notes.

Crossovers

  • Being an Account of a Journey to the strange new California Republic (and a most peculiar Hotel therein) (3045 words) by faviconSineala
    Fandom: Hotel California - The Eagles (Song), Echo Bazaar
    Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Mr. Wines has been known to make deliveries even to distant lands. Here is the journal of one of his errand-beings.

    I liked this for its description of the journey from Fallen London to the Hotel California, which includes bits like:

    No true angels dwell in Los Angeles. The ambassadors of the Brass Embassy (for who but they would be best informed of the nature of their enemies) have made it abundantly clear that the beings within share nothing but the name, and we do not inquire further.

    (Regarding Echo Bazaar, honorable mention to Hard To Find (3717 words) by faviconKastaka, for an ought-to-be-canon answer to the question, "What is Mr Eaten's name?")

  • No Reservations: Narnia (6228 words) by faviconEdonohana
    Fandom: Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations RPF, Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis
    Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: I’m crammed into a burrow so small that my knees are up around my ears and the boom mike keeps slamming into my head, inhaling the potent scent of toffee-apple brandy and trying to drink a talking mouse under the table.

    If you've ever seen a single episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, you will immediately recognize the voice here. And despite the WTF nature of the crossover, this is a faithful and joyous celebration of the best of both sources.

  • The Barkosigan Saga: Mirror Dog (3239 words) by faviconBecca
    Fandom: Wishbone, Vorkosigan Saga - Lois McMaster Bujold
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: In a lost Wishbone episode, Emily 'borrows' one of David's inventions while he's sick in bed; Wishbone is reminded of the life lessons about sibling relationships represented by Miles and Mark Vorkosigan.

    Okay, I've never seen Wishbone, but I read this anyway because the idea of a kids' show doing Mirror Dance—I repeat, Mirror Dance—was too amazing to pass up. And this is just adorable all around.

  • Wizards in Winter (9336 words) by favicononiongirl
    Fandom: Young Wizards (Diane Duane), Batman (Comic), Birds of Prey (Comic)
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: It was a simple assignment--clean a lake of toxic sludge. But when Kit & Nita decided to try a more 'creative' solution, they ended up chasing a garbage-eating alien through an impossible town, with the help of some rather unusual new friends.

    Nita and Kit end up in Gotham and meet many superheroes. My knowledge of DC Comics is very spotty, but I suspect this would be readable with minimal knowledge of either source, and it has some very nice character interactions. Bonus points for the original-character wizards being a beautifully diverse and lively bunch.

Misc: Calvin and Hobbes; Hyperbole and a Half; Portal

  • This kid I once knew (1786 words) by faviconMinnow
    Fandom: Calvin & Hobbes
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Daniel sends their whole improv group an e-mail saying "check this out its fun1!1" and a link to a web comic called The Adventures of Spaceman Spiff.

    Lovely Susie-POV story about the two of them being college-age and comfortable in their own skins.

  • The Alot, The Tuit, Mrs. Gradgrind, Sophie and Me, Allie (3752 words) by faviconGehayi
    Fandom: Hyperbole and a Half
    Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Allie's mom, teacher and best friend all insist that Alots are not real animals. Allie's friend the Alot is determined to prove that "imaginary" doesn't mean "unreal."

    I feel like I should say more about this than "charming, feels like a blog post except with the drawings described," but heck if I can think what.

  • The Game Is a Lie (1026 words) by faviconyhlee
    Fandom: Portal (Video Game)
    Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: GLaDOS: the artificial intelligence that cried wolf.

    I've never played Portal, but I know of it from general cultural osmosis, and this has an amazing GLaDOS voice. It opens thusly:

    You left before I could share my favorite recipe for Black Forest cake. . . . Black cherries in syrup feature prominently. I would never think of substituting radium, which blackens on exposure to air, for the cocoa. Although the blue glow is delightful, Aperture Science has no further need for experimental data on that recipe variant.

    (It's set after the end of the game, if you haven't played it yet and are avoiding spoilers, so I refrain from further excerpting, though I am very tempted.)

Mythology: Norse, Greek and Roman, Chinese

  • A Game of Shapes (6883 words) by faviconBagheera
    Fandom: Norse Mythology - Fandom
    Rating: Mature
    Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
    Summary: Someone has stolen little Baldr and replaced him with a changeling child. Thor and Loki go on a quest to rescue Baldr, but not before long, they're joined by a one-eyed giantess.

    The author's additional tags for this story are "Genderbending, Shapeshifting, Magic, Death," and I think if you take those, the author's summary, and a kind of (mildly) gruesome cheerfulness, you have a good sense of what this story is like. (It apparently draws from several different sources, but I have only the smallest familiarity with the entire mythology and nevertheless found this story a coherent thing in its own right.)

  • Climbing Mount Kunlun (16204 words) by faviconsalifiable
    Fandom: Chinese Mythology
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
    Summary: "Not all over the table, venerable sir!" cried Xiao Zhen, but it was already too late.

    So if you took the good bits of Barry Hughart and put them in a story with, you know, actual women in it (including the terrific protagonist), you would get something like this. (The summary is useless, I realize. Go read it anyway.)

    Caveat: I have been told that the Orientalist Fairy has got to Hughart since I last re-read his books, and while I was looking for Orientalism in this story and didn't find any, my antennae aren't as finely tuned in this regard as they might be if I'd grown up with these stories.

  • Here Thy Hands Let Fall the Gather'd Flower (6883 words) by faviconCinaed
    Fandom: Greek and Roman Mythology
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Persephone wanted to be one of Artemis’s maidens. Hades wanted to help her avoid Zeus’s unwanted attentions. Needless to say, things didn’t go according to plan.

    A light-hearted Hades/Persephone in which Persephone has lots of agency, plus some nice bits about life in the underworld.

  • 四十 (19499 words) by favicontrascendenza
    Fandom: Chinese Mythology
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: AU. As long as she could ensure that her family would never go wanting, she would be content.

    A story about family, friendships, duty, and finding one's way in the world; or, Chang'e story told as a Firefly AU.

Classics: Bacchae, Beowulf, Journey to the West, Kokin Wakashū

  • Bakcheios (9755 words) by faviconemilyenrose
    Fandom: Bacchae - Euripides
    Rating: Explicit
    Warning: Major Character Death, Rape/Non-Con
    Summary: When I was a very small child my Aunt Semele was struck by lightning and died.

    This is an elegantly horrific retelling of The Bacchae from Pentheus's POV (which also mixes in the story of Actaeon). I only know that because I looked up the characters afterwards; the story stands alone very well.

  • Mother-Tongue (1097 words) by faviconIdhren
    Fandom: Beowulf
    Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
    Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
    Summary: "Whoever she was /who brought forth this flower of manhood, /if she is still alive, that woman can say /that in her labour the Lord of Ages /bestowed a grace on her."

    The stories of Beowulf and Grendel's mothers, in the very readable poetry style of Seamus Heaney's Beowulf translation (which, granted, I haven't read, so I can't say whether this fully captures Heaney's style, but I still liked this a lot).

  • Monkey pays for Hot Cake (687 words) by faviconneveralarch
    Fandom: Xî yóu jì | Journey to the West - Wú Cheng'en
    Rating: General Audiences
    Summary: A small piece of the journey.

    I am prepared to like anything that starts "Now sit down and listen and I'll tell you a story," and this snippet didn't disappoint me.

  • Postcards from Kyoto (3493 words) by faviconQuillori
    Fandom: Kokin Wakashuu | Kokinshuu
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings

    I am sure this gains considerable additional resonance from a knowledge of the source. But standing alone, it's a gorgeously evocative chronicle of a long-distance relationship.

European fairy tales

  • And Smite The Sleeping World Awake (2720 words) by faviconrandomeliza
    Fandom: Fairy Tales & Related Fandoms
    Rating: Mature
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: In which there are apple trees, and crab armies, and a cage of thorns, and a feather, and green sails on a ship, and promises kept. (Yuletide Treat)

    I happened to read this one and the next one back-to-back. This one is Sleeping Beauty and her dreams, which reminds me of Inception without actually being a crossover . . .

  • and then there was no happily ever after (1206 words) by favicongirl_wonder
    Fandom: Fairy Tales & Related Fandoms
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
    Summary: There was once a princess who lived a very small life.

    . . . and this one explicitly uses the concepts of Inception, to good effect.

  • Clever Rosebriar (1314 words) by faviconLJC
    Fandom: Fairy Tales & Related Fandoms
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Once there was a girl called Rosebriar.

    Who was clever, and worked hard, and found fortune and friendship through her storytelling, in a short tale whose rhythms are nicely reminiscent of classic oral stories.

Books

Jane Austen, Peter Beagle, Ray Bradbury, Margaret Wise Brown

  • Catherine's Fairy-Tale (1091 words) by faviconryfkah
    Fandom: Fairy Tales & Related Fandoms, Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen, AUSTEN Jane - Works
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: “Under what circumstances, then,” said Mrs. Tilney to herself, taking a seat upon the garden bench, “is one likely to encounter a giant bean-stalk?”

    I have not read Northanger Abbey, but this charming little story about the protagonist's reaction to a giant beanstalk in her garden makes me want to.

  • Half-Told (6247 words) by faviconMoe Machina
    Fandom: The Innkeeper's Song
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: A well-told story tunes the audience as a musician tunes an instrument: we begin skeptical and slack, and then we are slowly tightened and released until we are in perfect pitch.

    It's The Innkeeper's Song fic in first-person Lal and Soukyan POV with competitive storytelling and meta! I could use a dozen exclamation points and not convey my absolute delight.

  • The Sun Shone on Venus (5302 words) by faviconRavenbell
    Fandom: All Summer in a Day - Ray Bradbury
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
    Summary: A little girl who missed the sun suffered a terrible act of cruelty. This is what happened to Margot, after.

    This is for everyone who was fucking traumatized by that story, which makes something worthwhile of it.

  • Goodnight Room (2825 words) by faviconSkogkatt
    Fandom: Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Bunnies ... in ... SPAAAAAAAACE!

    I was of several minds of whether to include this; it was one of this Yuletide's breakout hits, and I love the premise (that the book takes place on a spaceship), but chunks of it don't work for me (including a canon nitpick). However, its last line is really terrific, so on it goes.

Lois McMaster Bujold, Sarah Caudwell, Susanna Clarke, Susan Cooper

Diane Duane, Dorothy Dunnett, Neil Gaiman, N.K. Jemisin

Diana Wynne Jones, Norton Juster, Stephen King, Mercedes Lackey

  • How Horses Came To The Desert (1091 words) by faviconciaan
    Fandom: Tough Guide to Fantasyland - Diana Wynne Jones
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: "Come closer, children," the shaman declaimed, "and I will tell you a sacred story from the beginning of the world."

    You know the bit about how fantasyland horses are actually plants? This takes that idea and runs with it, in a surprisingly effective combination of serious form and cracktastic content.

  • The Dot and the Line Go on a Honeymoon: A Revisionist Romance (1008 words) by faviconyhlee
    Fandom: Dot and the Line - Norton Juster
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Wherein the Dot is no slouch, either.

    And gets a personality beyond "flighty," in a much more congenial metaphor for the meeting of the Two Cultures than the original, ornamented with a number of delightful details.

  • A Bend In The Road (13346 words) by faviconNope
    Fandom: Dark Tower - Stephen King
    Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: A day on the road with the ka-tet.

    Arguably, it makes little sense for me to be planning to skip Stephen King's forthcoming book that is a missing adventure between books four and five, yet to read and enjoy this missing adventure between etc. Then again, this is probably a fifth of the length, at most, and the author hasn't broken my heart previously. In any event, this felt like it could slip seamlessly into the good parts of canon.

  • Errors in Judgement (4153 words) by faviconlalaietha
    Fandom: Valdemar series - Mercedes Lackey
    Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: A Companion's Choice is not a risk-free process.

    There was a rash of "evil Companion" stories in 2010—possibly the request went out on the pinch-hit list? Regardless, this and the next were the ones I liked best. This one isn't actually an AU, but an all-too-plausible extrapolation of how the Choice might go wrong within the confines of canon.

  • One True Way (4385 words) by faviconSineala
    Fandom: Valdemar series - Mercedes Lackey
    Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
    Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
    Summary: Scenes from a Valdemar that never was. (Or: the one where the Companions are evil.)

    And this is the AU I liked best because its closeness to canon made it all the more effective.

Ann M. Martin, Robin McKinley, Naomi Novik, Patrick O'Brian

  • Baby-sitters Club The Next Generation #6: Byron and the God of California (29893 words) by faviconzelempa
    Fandom: Baby-Sitters Club - Ann M. Martin
    Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
    Warning: Underage
    Summary: And then he was there, standing in the doorway.

    He obviously hadn't put much thought into what he was wearing, but somehow, he made a white T-shirt and jeans look like designer fashion. Unlike most of my shirts, his actually fitted him perfectly, showing off his slim waist and muscular arms. The bright white set off his golden skin perfectly. Around his throat he wore one of those hemp-and-shell surfer necklaces. His pale blond hair had been cut short and stuck out in every direction. He was grinning that wide, friendly, dimpled grin of his.

    Oh, man. Oh, man. I was in trouble.

    It's been a long long time since I read a Baby-sitter's Club book, but this seemed entirely plausible as (1) a story about a new iteration of the Club that springs up when the original members go to college, and the conflicts that arise when those original members come home for the summer and (2) a charming little romance that happens to be between two teenage guys.

  • Ply, Skein, and Twist (8655 words) by faviconScribe
    Fandom: Spindle's End - Robin McKinley
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Peony, after.

    This is a really delightful, sweet look at the fullness of Peony's life post-canon.

    Disclosure: I beta-read this.

  • Sweet William (8675 words) by faviconQuasar
    Fandom: Temeraire - Naomi Novik
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings, No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: The Spanish Armada is about to descend upon England, and her greatest hope is a captainless dragon hatchling.

    A prequel exploring how the Longwings came to be captained by women in combat, with charming original characters.

  • The Yellow Dress (10324 words) by faviconIone
    Fandom: Master and Commander - Patrick O'Brian
    Rating: Not Rated
    Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
    Summary: Diana is determined to fix Sophie's life . . . including her hatred of sex. Set in the time of The Yellow Admiral.

    What Sophie and Jack's estrangement looked like from Woolcombe, in a much-needed filling-in of canon.

    Disclosure: I beta-read this.

Dorothy L. Sayers, Donald J. Sobol, Megan Whalen Turner, Martha Wells

  • Peter and the Power of Suggestion (4943 words) by faviconkeswindhover
    Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey - Dorothy L. Sayers
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: For once, Lord Peter Wimsey is at a loss. What on earth can a man buy his wife for Christmas that costs under a guinea? Harriet also has a one guinea budget for Peter's present, but she has had the good sense to ask for assistance from Miss Climpson. (And sometimes the best presents are the ones you make yourself.)

    This is just adorable, thanks to a good portion of the Dowager Duchess and Miss Climpson.

  • Third-Person Present Tense (1741 words) by faviconAlexElizabeth
    Fandom: Lord Peter Wimsey - Dorothy L. Sayers
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Lady Winifred Wimsey has a habit of narrating her life.

    I am not sure we ever see Gerald and Helen's daughter in canon, but this is a nice imagining of what she might be like.

  • Encyclopedia Brown and the Case of the Equitable Agency (16295 words) by faviconceleria
    Fandom: Encyclopedia Brown - Donald J. Sobol
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: FOLLOW THE CONTINUING ADVENTURES OF THE SUPER SLEUTH IN SNEAKERS

    Some stolen books ...
    An application to join the FBI ...
    A two-car accident ...
    Professional troubles in Washington, D.C. ...
    An unfair verdict ...
    And a surprising request from the last person Encyclopedia Brown ever thought would need his help!

    These are just some of the trials Encyclopedia Brown and his friend Sally Kimball face in their years away from Idaville. Are you ready to see what happens in the next chapter of their lives? Read along and try to solve the cases with them -- and if you get stuck, some of the answers are found at the bottom of the page!

    The prose and characterizations of this story start out sounding very like the source, but mature over its course while still maintaining a feeling of continuity, making this another good nostalgia-update from this year's Yuletide.

    Disclosure: I beta-read this.

  • Epithalamium (1191 words) by faviconyunitsa
    Fandom: Queen's Thief - Megan Whalen Turner
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: A Pindaric ode in honour of a wedding.

    Two terrific seamless missing scenes this year, one from between books two and three . . .

  • A Temporary Inability to Go Either Up Or Down (2258 words) by faviconlightgetsin
    Fandom: Queen's Thief - Megan Whalen Turner
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Eugenides was not stuck. A Queen of Attolia missing scene.

    . . . and one from book two, which if you're read, then the title and summary tell you what you need to know.

  • The King's Guard (1796 words) by faviconosprey_archer
    Fandom: Queen's Thief - Megan Whalen Turner
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Gen, being Gen, can't just tell Costis he likes him; he has to come up with a plan.

    Don't let the summary put you off—there's no intentional partner betrayal in this adorable little story.

  • All Queens, and All Their Favourites (2898 words) by faviconNorthland
    Fandom: Element of Fire - Martha Wells
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: The first hint of anything strange (well, stranger than usual) was the small whirlwind in Kade’s kitchen fire.

    I haven't re-read this book in ages, but I liked this post-canon look at some of the consequences and a chance to see the characters again.

Movies

  • Bright Things (1636 words) by faviconPenknife
    Fandom: Little Mermaid (1989)
    Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Eric knows she's from a world he'll never entirely understand.

    An understated, powerful look at their adjustment to life post-canon.

  • Dicit Fore Naufragus (1682 words) by faviconrandomeliza
    Fandom: Little Mermaid (1989)
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings, No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: The shipwrecked sailor says, ‘No more of these waves,’
    And then takes oar in the waters where, just now, he swam.

    Another post-canon look, from a very different point of view this time; I can't find more to say about it without saying too much, but it's not long so do try it.

  • The Care and Feeding of Your M (1237 words) by faviconJai
    Fandom: James Bond (Movies)
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: (an incomplete list, in the process of being compiled by Miss Jane Moneypenny)

    Judi Dench's M, specifically. Great competence slices-of-life fic.

  • The Most Important Meal (1107 words) by faviconDira Sudis
    Fandom: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Guinevere and Joe go to breakfast.

    A gentle, dreamy, sensuous continuation of the movie.

Anime

  • Etude: Composition (5007 words) by faviconBecca
    Fandom: Princess Tutu
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Why does it always have to be fairy tales?

    I admit, I have a terrible weakness for post-canon fic in this fandom, but all the same, this story, about what would happen if Fakir started changing genres, is darling. I particularly love the last paragraph.

  • Rumors on the Wind (2047 words) by faviconshrift
    Fandom: Samurai Champloo
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: The crossroads and her first journey behind her, Fuu walked away from Ikitsuki Island until her feet blistered and her stomach's growl was a constant companion.

    Another fandom for which I have a terrible weakness for post-canon fic. Great in-character moments.

TV

  • Five Times Wendy Flew Solo (2902 words) by faviconKiaraSayre
    Fandom: The Middleman (TV)
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: The Middleman looks around at the various assailants, then back at Wendy. "You...want more solo missions?"

    I love the character voices and the breezy, cheerful absurdity in these snippets . . .

  • The OK Cupid Cloning Confabulation (1353 words) by faviconvictoria_p
    Fandom: The Middleman (TV)
    Rating: General Audiences
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Taking the idea of matchmaking to its horrifyingly logical, and really, really creepy conclusion.

    . . . and in this mini-casefile. (I really do have to finally finish canon.)

  • Untying (2040 words) by faviconastolat
    Fandom: Twin Peaks
    Rating: Mature
    Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
    Summary: Audrey wrote him brief notes all that next year. Today I went to the waterfall pool. It's really too early to swim but I went in anyway. There was no one else around, and I couldn't hear myself breathe or think, the water was so loud. I had to get out too soon because I was cold. Are you ever lonely?

    Elegant, quietly unsettling, pitch-perfect redemptive epilogue.

Yuletide Meta

If you're enough into Yuletide to be able to read these stories, you've probably seen them already; but for completeness:

There, finally done, just in time to start beta-reading stories for this year . . .

(And if you read and like any of these, do let the authors know! All you have to do is hit the "kudos" button, you don't even have to leave a signed comment.)

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