sparrow2000: (sparrow)
[personal profile] sparrow2000
So here we go again, with sparrow’s annual attempt to remember some of the fandom things I’ve enjoyed this year. As always, it’s not an exhaustive list because god knows the brain cell isn’t getting any younger, so if I wildly applauded something during the year and don’t mention it here, it isn’t because I’ve changed my mind, it’s just that I forgot to take a note of it at the time.

I will say this is a shorter list than usual because the year has just disappeared on me. I also have a scary list of things that I’ve either still have to start, or to catch up on if I’d started and then got sidetracked by that pesky RL stuff.


Anyway, on with the motley...

We’ve lost a lot of cultural icons this year and the loss of David Bowie at the start of the year was a real kick in the gut. It brought back a memory of my student flat in Edinburgh in the early 80’s and a big poster of Bowie in full on ‘Thin White Duke’ mode on the wall of my flatmate’s bedroom. Sigh… Anyway, back to Bowie’death, this lovely ficlet by [livejournal.com profile] gillo did a little bit to soften the blow. In Memoriam finds Spike unable to get some music out of his head. This is terrific.

Let’s Let Them Have This One by Killbothtwins is a cute idea. Let’s just say that some of the students at Sunnydale High aren’t as oblivious about Hellmouthy happenings as you might think and the Scoobies really need to work on their excuses. This is just kind of fluffy fun that caught my eye.

[livejournal.com profile] feliciacraft made me giggle like mad with Blooming Obsession. Spike, as the title suggests is obsessed and the object of his adoration, well let’s just say it makes him less of the big bad and more of the little needy. Very funny 2nd person ficlet about one vampire’s love affair with a certain foodstuff.

As I’ve said many times before a good rec is worth it’s weight in something bright and shiny, especially if it lures you into parts of fandom you don’t normally frequent. So huge thanks to [livejournal.com profile] shapinglight for reccing Memorial by [livejournal.com profile] lyrstzha. This is a gorgeous refresh of both the Buffy as Anne trope and the amnesia trope. It’s short, bleak, and wonderfully written and if you missed it first time around, I’d urge you to have a look.

[livejournal.com profile] il_mio_capitano made me laugh like hell with Something Stronger - a perfect little ficlet in which Spike bemoans his relationship with Buffy and Giles is horrified. It’s damn fine comedy folks.

It’s no secret that in recent years I’ve become almost as addicted to Giles as I am to Xander, so I was chuffed to bits when [livejournal.com profile] baphrosia asked me to beta her story Pointy Horns and Black Hats. Post Eyghon and Ethan, Giles is reluctantly trying to appease the Council, but that’s far from easy when you’re in the demon business. I really liked this look of a Giles in limbo - frustrated, trying to do the right thing, but with a streak of fatalism in him a mile wide. This is Gen and definitely worth a look if you didn’t see it first time around.

A new piece from [livejournal.com profile] baudown is always a pleasure and What Gives is no exception. This is a series of drabbles in which Spike gets hurt and Xander helps patch him up. My, that is one accident prone vamp. *g* This is sweet and tender and sad, with a glimmer of possibility for the future.

And if you want a giggle, look no further than Re-Focus by [livejournal.com profile] brutti_ma_buoni. What if Anya had turned her attentions to Willow rather than Xander. As a new human, she’s only doing her civic duty helping Willow come out of the closet. This is delightful.

It’s always exciting when the very brilliant [livejournal.com profile] tabaqui decides to play in her old sandbox and write some Buffy ‘verse. In Sense Memory she goes old school with 600 words of Spike/Xander hotness. Xander’s thinking about Spike’s coat and shopping for gloves - how could that possibly be hot - go read and see! *g*

procrastinatingbookworm played around with form in he realizes. It’s 195 words of Giles’ feelings for Buffy and it is elegantly done.

It’s a known fact that I’m partial to a bit of angst and angst is present in spades in Delirium by inveigler81. This was written for the Apocolypothon, so you know the landscape you’re getting into. It’s Spike and Xander on the road to nowhere, clinging to each other because there’s no one else left. This is bleak, but wonderfully realised and well worth a look if you missed it.

Talking of angst, if that’s your cup of cocoa, then have a look at in Send in the Clowns (The Lying Eyes Remix) by [livejournal.com profile] aadler. After a conversation with Faith, Buffy makes Xander a no strings offer and Xander accepts. Sounds simple, but its amazing how complicated things get when you get what you wanted and find it’s not what you wanted at all. I really how this story gets inside Buffy’s head as she struggles against a prison of her own making, while Xander is understandably clueless to her confusion. This is really excellent angst and was written for the annual [livejournal.com profile] cof_remix. There are others over there I haven’t read yet, so do go and have a look.

One of the delights of fandom is when a story which has been on hiatus of a long time suddenly starts up again. [livejournal.com profile] stillrose started her epic AU
There’s Always a Sneer in Vegas back in 2007 and it’s been on and off hiatus several times over the years, but in January, RL finally allowed her some space to come back and finish this story and I’m very glad she did. The world has gone to hell and Angelus rules the roost and has fun torturing Lindsay. Meanwhile in Las Vegas, Spike runs the Slayer’s End casino and wins Xander in a poker game. As you can imagine, stuff happens... It weighs in at an epic 96 chapters and 347,000 words, so just the thing if you’ve got a long flight coming up, or you’re laid up with flu. This is a slave fic, so be warned if it’s not your thing.

And talking of fics that started a while back, congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] perverted_pages for completing her 62 chapter plus epilogue stripper Spander story Truth Denied. Like many people I’m guilty of losing track of this story when it came back after a bit of a hiatus, so I was very glad to have got caught up with it recently. I have to give kudos to writers who actually do pick up on stories again after going on hiatus. It’s so easy to be tempted to walk away, especially if you feel that the audience is no longer there now that our fandom is so much quieter. I know there are lots of valid reasons why some stories don’t get finished, but as I say, kudos to the writer for coming back and finishing her story. And just to highlight if you have read the story, she’s just added a one-shot at the end, The Hooded Man which is well worth a look.

[livejournal.com profile] irishrose1 wrote a really interesting meta about the big bads of season six, and how Joss’ use of The Prayer of St Francis, sung by Sarah McLachlan informs the themes of the season and points to where the characters are headed. You can find it at Season 6 Controversy: How a simple song can clarify so much. Even if you don’t accept her reading of things, it’s a very interesting post.

And talking of interesting, and entertaining to boot - Amber Benson wrote a little essay on fanfic, being Tara, and how a friend of hers wrote a TV series and then went on to write fanfic about it when the series was cancelled - Amber Benson on Fanfic.

And I’ll finish the BTVS section with another vid. [livejournal.com profile] double_dutchess and [livejournal.com profile] thenewbuzwuzz collaborated and came up with a brilliant adrenaline rush of a vid to My Chemical Romance’s Na, Na Na. Strangely enough the vid is called NA, NA, NA (The Scoobies Make Some Noise)


Everything old is new again
This is the section where there has been old stuff that I saw for the first time this year - maybe because an old fic got posted to A03 or because I was wandering through someone’s memories and found something delicious.

I have to thank [livejournal.com profile] sueworld2003 for linking to this amazing vid. [livejournal.com profile] jetpack_monkey did an amazing remaster of Kamil and Luminosity’s stunning
The End Of The World As We Know It. This is a labour of love and it’s terrific.

I’d never come across Whitehats, Redshirts and Yellowbellies by [livejournal.com profile] beer_good_foamy, so I was very happy to discover it at A03. Five vignettes of Jesse McNally in the Wish ‘verse. This is excellent stuff.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never read much Jennifer Oksana because she’s always played in parts of fandom that don’t really appeal to me. But at the start of the year she was posting a shit load of stuff at A03 and I came across Honolulu, Calcutta which I liked very much. Wesley and Xander play 'Anywhere But Here' while Xander is in Oxnard and a great, and pretty surreal conversation and some other stuff ensues.

The very gorgeous [livejournal.com profile] tabaqui has been posting a few things at A03 and one of them was her Odd Bodkins series, which is exactly what it says on the tin - a series of odds and ends. One of them that blew me away was Remember. Spike is gone and Angel, Buffy and Xander remember him in their different ways. As always with her stories, the language and imagery is lush and incredibly evocative.

There aren’t that many Due South/BTVS fics out there so I was happy to come across Fear is Never Boring by AuKestrel. This is a lovely bit of stream of consciousness road-tripping with Oz and Ray Kowalski - there are Blues Brothers references, musings on the nature of love, nods to obscure bands and some lovely ambiguity about relationships. Definitely worth a look.

Sometimes the Whole World is Twelve Years Old by r\[livejournal.com profile] riani1 is about bonobo monkey’s, and about fencing - honest. Go read and giggle...a lot.


Sherlock
I’m not sure what to say about Laurel by ancientreader, so I’ll just say go read it. The author takes the myth of Apollo and Daphne and muses on Sherlock’s addiction. I had to read this one a couple of times, but it is strangely beautiful.

A good coffee shop AU is always fun and the cunningly entitled Coffee Shop AU by fresne proves that you can be cracky, silly and just a little surreal and produce a fic that delivers in a wonderfully creative way. And if that doesn’t sell it to you, then check out the anthropomorphic porn - right then, form an orderly queue….

I’ve always found Mycroft to be fascinating, but I don’t think I could ever write him. So I have to give huge kudos to 221b_hound for The Little Things which offers a perfectly pitched Mycroft in a very human moment, and then matches it with a Sherlock with wonderful insight into his brother’s character. This one is short and beautifully done.

What I really liked about Observations of a DI by Kate_Lear is that that she allows Lestrade’s intelligence to not be overpowered by Sherlock’s brilliance as so often happens in fic. It helps that it’s written from Lestrade’s PoV, but even so, this is a short (under 900 words) but beautifully written trio of snapshots that say a lot about Sherlock, John and Greg himself. Definitely worth a couple of minutes of your time. And thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thismaz for pointing me at it.

If you like long, plotty, intelligent fics, with great voices, impeccable plotting and more twists, turns and thrills than a rollercoaster, then run don’t walk to the Unforgivable Things series by dogandmonkeyshow. The first story ‘This is how the fall begins’ deals with the immediate aftermath of Sherlock shooting Magnussun. The second story is Sherlock’s PoV of the events in the weeks and months after Moriarty’s video turns up being broadcast all over the place. The third story covers the same events from Mycroft’s PoV, and it is fascinating to see the different perspectives and undermining of assumptions when you see what the other is up to. And the fourth story is immensely satisfying in the way that ties everything together while reminding us that these characters are both flawed and heroic in their very different ways. I have to say that while all the character’s voices are spot on, it is Mycroft that shines, not only in voice, but in a characterisation that is very true and sometimes wholly unexpected. Terrific series - go read.

And I’ll also finish off this section with another vid. Welcome to London is all about Lestrade and is a clever melding of Rupert Graves in Sherlock and scenes from other things he’s been in. It’s just nicely done.


My stuff
As for me, 2016 was my 10 year anniversary for writing fic. When the hell did the time go. I wasn’t as productive this year as I’ve been some other years, but I did manage five one-shots - four of them Gen and one Slash(ish) simply because it’s about an established relationship, but there’s no sex and lots of talking, so I almost think of it as Gen as well!

The year started with Of Mice and Men. This is a gen character study in which Xander doesn’t understand why Giles loves books so much, and Giles tries to explain in his own inimitable way. This was going to go a completely different direction, but once these two started talking, I just had to let them do their own thing.

I’ve always liked reading other people’s take on Lindsey McDonald, but never had the nerve to write him until I plucked up my courage last year to write Pushing Limits in which Xander runs into Lindsey in a bar post-The Gift. That space in the BTVS narrative has been explored so many times by writers, but it was the first time I’d played there and it got me thinking about what might happen if Lindsey met any of the other Scoobies. The initial result of these random musings this year was Laying the Blacktop, in which Willow meets Lindsey when she goes to tell Angel about Buffy’s death. Again, this is gen and I had great fun writing it. It’s Willow’s PoV

I fact, I had such fun writing that one, that it made me wonder what was going on in Lindsey’s head, so I wrote the same scene again, this time from Lindsey’s PoV. The result is The Long Game. One thing I really enjoyed in writing this pair of stories was the realisation of just how fun it is to write Lindsey’s amorality. It’s the same kind of fun as writing Ethan.

Sometimes I shake my head at how my stories evolve. In the case of [livejournal.com profile] summer_of_giles this year, back in the spring, I was watching a documentary on the Crusades and there was a section talking about the belief in heaven and hell, illustrated by the frieze above the main door of a French cathedral. For some reason, I could picture a young Ethan and Giles looking at that frieze and from there my brain kept whispering until I started writing and the result was Crossroads. Having written previously about Giles and Ethan’s relationship shattering, this story was an attempt to consider how they might have been near the start of their relationship before it was tainted and twisted by everything to come. This is the slash story that’s really gen, in case you wondered! *g*

And finally, being my 10 year anniversary, I wanted to revisit the story that first made me want to write fic in the first place, Memento Mori which is an AU that takes a left turn towards the end of Season 6. It’s the fic that taught me that a story will demand to do its own things no matter what your own initial plans were, and that strong capable Giles was a major kink for me and a joy to write. It was also the story that made me realise that I was really interested in exploring the platonic relationship between Xander and Giles. All that to say, that 10 years on I decided to revisit this ‘verse and check in on how Xander was doing after all the shit I put him through in MM. The result was Absence Like the Sky is set a few months after the end of MM, and finds Xander struggling to come to terms with what happened in that story and seeking out an old friend to give some really bad news. This is gen and it is Xander and Oz. I should also say that you don't have to have read MM to read this one-shot. Obviously, I'd be delighted if you did and it will give colour to the background, but it's not necessary to get what's going on in Absence Like the Sky.

That’s it for this year. I don’t know what next year will bring fandom-wise. I don’t seem to have the same energy to write as I had 10 years ago when I started, but I do have a couple of ideas lurking, so I'll see if any of them come to fruition or not.

Thank you as always to all my flist for still making LJ a lovely place to hang out, even if it is quieter these days and I know I don’t always get the time to comment. Thanks to the authors, artists, vidders and deep thinkers and to all the readers out there, whether you comment or not. Also to the mods of the various communities who keep the motor of our corner of fandom in good shape, thank you for doing such a terrific job every year.

That’s it for now. I hope everybody is well.

Merry Christmas…happy holiday…or whatever else you chose or don’t chose to celebrate, I hope you have a good one, and here's to a fruitful, fandom-filled 2017.
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