Yuletide!

Oct. 13th, 2009 09:01 pm
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It's kind of embarrassing how little I post here unless it's Yuletide...

But! Nominations!

I really shouldn't do this this year because of finals, but I do not care.

I am thinking of nominating:
- Capital Scandal
- Angel Sanctuary (I was so sad no one nominated it last year!)
- Grand Guignol Orchestra (not out in the US yet, but one can always hope...)
- Chinese mythology
- Cantarella

Is anyone going to nominate any of these? Any ideas for the sixth spot?
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Spoilers: For the soulmate pair in Daughters of Darkness
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: The Trials and Tribulations of Ash Redfern: one. Ash: zero. The road to redemption is lined with potholes.
Notes: Written for Ziho for Yuletide 2008

Read How to Save the Day (sort of)

Series information

Night World is a yet unfinished (argh!) series of young adult Gothic fantasy crack by LJ Smith; I devoured them when I was a teenager and pleasantly discovered that they are cracktastically rereadable recently. The premise is that there's a Night World populated by witches, vampires, werewolves, and other such creatures, and the world soon evolves to encompass soulmates and the good Night Worlders who don't despise humans and/or toy with them and/or eat them. Daughters of Darkness is the second book in the series and the best: it has a lovely sense of humor about the many tropes Smith uses, along with one incredibly self-absorbed, fatuous, and mostly evil vampire and one human girl who loves astronomy and kicking people. Unsurprisingly, they're soulmates, but more surprisingly, neither of them falls swooningly in love.

Some commentary )
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Spoilers: For the entire song
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: Hell's queen is its ruler and its most enslaved soul.
Notes: Written for Avendya for Yuletide 2008.

Read Cruel Hope and Gray Despair

Series information

"The Queen and the Soldier" is a song by Suzanne Vega (lyrics), but my favorite version is the cover by Kate Rusby and Kathryn Roberts. [livejournal.com profile] coffeeandink introduced me to it, and I love it to pieces and keep almost requesting it for Yuletide and then not. The fandom as far as I know has one other story, [livejournal.com profile] edonohana's lovely The Queen Knew She'd Seen His Face Some Place Before.

Some commentary )
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Spoilers: For the entire series
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: Every morning, Eva pours herself a glass of Scotch, sniffs and lets the alcohol vapors tempt her, then upends the contents in the kitchen sink.
Notes: Written for Influxes for Yuletide 2008.

Read The Mathematics of Worth

Series information

Monster is an 18-volume manga series by Urasawa Naoki (also an anime series, though I've never seen it) which is nominally a thriller, but really about the line between what makes us human and what makes us monsters. I suspect all my stories this year could be summarized in that manner. My fic stars Eva Heinemann, who's the rich, often rude, often unkind socialite engaged to Dr. Kenzo Tenma in the very beginning of the series. When I first read it, I hated her and the whole trope of the bitter spurned woman, but as the series went on, she developed interesting depths while never losing the bite that made her Eva.

The fic is spoilery for the fates of characters post-series and briefly mentions some events of the series, though it doesn't really ruin any of the main revelations of the series.

Some commentary )
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Spoilers: Through Claymore chapter 80 or so
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: Ugly manners, her mother would say, pretty is as pretty does, but she never told her pretty girl that monsters ate pretty and ugly girls alike.
Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] woodburner for Yuletide 2008. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] magicnoire for the quick beta!

Read Pretty Monsters

Series information

Claymore is a shounen manga series by Yagi Norihiro about half-human half-yoma women called Claymores who go around killing yoma with giant swords. There is a lot of blood, which I do not like so much, and a whole lot of stoic icy warriors, interesting backstory, worldbuilding, and awesome relationships among the many warriors, which I like A LOT. The story is pretty spoilery for the series, and I have no idea how well it stands alone.

Some commentary )
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Please note that my guesses are usually hilariously wrong.

Play "guess who wrote what" with me in the comments, though don't confirm or deny anything, of course!

My guesses:
[livejournal.com profile] vee_fic wrote Cinderella, Made of Steel
[livejournal.com profile] etothey wrote the City of Diamond fic I haven't read yet because I don't remember who all the characters are
[livejournal.com profile] magicnoire wrote The Work of Chemists
[livejournal.com profile] deepad wrote One Thousand and One and Counting (and I'm guessing with [livejournal.com profile] shewhohashope as a beta)
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I have been in Shanghai basically since the Yuletide archive went live, and while I was able to sneak away to an internet cafe to frantically download stories every day, I forgot about the Great Firewall of China and how it keeps out LJ! In other news, I think this made me skip over a ton of stories I would have otherwise liked, because the feeling of your mother waiting for you to finish your email ("How can you take so long every day checking email?" and I was not about to explain Yuletide to her) is not conducive to fic appreciation!

That said, I got not just one, but TWO Sancia/Alfonso Cantarella stories! AWESOMESAUCE! I made squealing squeeing noises and flapped my hands about in glee just because two people (or possibly one?) wrote my favorite characters from one of my favorite crack gothic shoujo series!

The first is If I Could Move Time, and it has Alfonso yearning and Sancia being guarded and wary and bonus reincarnation (whoo!). I love that it captures how constrained by politics and their own fears and desires they are, but mostly, Alfonso/Sancia yaaaay!
She does not dream at night, or imagine a place where it is possible to be loved and be more than a pawn. Where it is possible to have a love that does not need to be broken or looked down upon, where politics and birth do not determine their fate, where it is possible to be happy and free.


The second is Under Light, which has twelve-year-old Alfonso and fourteen-year-old Sancia and sex and is disturbingly creepy in a good way. My favorite thing about it is that it follows with the series and doesn't punish or look down on Sancia for having sex, and I love that wee!Alfonso thinks she's amazing no matter what.
But nothing he's heard helps, because right now, even in this dimly lit old servant's corridor, Sancia is breathtaking.

Her head is tilted back and she's smirking up at the man, so much confidence it makes his heart ache.


The Work of Chemists (Skip Beat!) - I gave up on the series a while ago, but I think I will have to pick it up again now. OMG. So this fic? Is hilarious. I would have been on the floor, howling, had I not been reading around one in the morning and trying not to wake up my entire family. It so amazingly perfectly captures Kyoko's narrative voice, and I love love love the over-the-top shounen "I must try harder to devote all I can to acting" and her plummeting from the heights of joy to the depths of despair to her cluelessness and just everything! And it has Moko-Kyoko too! I am just pulling out a single quote, but I honestly want to quote the entire fic.
Kyoko's heart was racing happily. She had been invited to visit Moko at home! Their friendship was growing stronger and deeper before Kyoko's very eyes! Would they braid one another's hair? Perhaps she and Moko could give one another a makeover? Or! Or Moko might open her heart to Kyoko, and shyly share her secret thoughts!


Azumanga Daioh's Romeo and Juliet (Azumanga Daioh) - This manages to perfectly capture the four-panel pacing of the original, with the addition of a delicate, understated romance (at least, as delicate as Tomo ever gets...). It's got great lines for all the characters, and I particularly love the Tomo. And the Osaka. And Ms. Yukari. And and... all of them, really!
"I tried to get into the movies once," Osaka replied. "It didn't work."

"You?!?" Yomi said with her mouth hanging open. "Did your parents try and get you in a commercial when you were a kid? Is your uncle a movie producer?"

"No, I just walked right up to the screen. But it turns out it's just a big piece o' cloth..."


and if they are not dead (Monster) - This is a lovely post-series fic full of tension and fear and ultimately the same forgiveness and humanity that the series shows, and just like the series, it's about what makes us monsters, but more importantly, what makes us human.
She takes the postcard upstairs to her flat, then searches for the other two while the kettle heats up. She fills a French press and, while the coffee is brewing, pins all three postcards to the board above her desk, isolated a little apart from the clippings of Dieter's team and the take-out menus. And then, gazing at the three sketches, she unwraps the last of the bread from Paris, pours a cup of coffee, and tips five spoonfuls of sugar into her cup.

The sugar is sweet. The bread is good.


Cinderella, Made of Steel (Sarah Connor Chronicles) - My favorite of the SCC stories this year. This gets Cameron-voice absolutely perfect, and just like Cameron, the fic is heart-warming, funny, sad, and terrifying, often at the same time. And while it's mostly about Cameron, it's also about Sarah and what she's lost, with Derek and John as lovely grace notes.
"Be quiet as you go up," says Cameron. "Sarah has not been sleeping well."

"Thanks," says Reese. "I don't want to be shot."

Cameron does not want him to be shot either. He would require medical attention. That would be bad. He might die. That would be worse. Cameron has not allotted time in her schedule for disposing of a body. She does not say this.


the sandwich story (Calvin and Hobbes) - Waaaah! This made me cry. When I was a kid, I named every single one of my stuffed animals and loved them and made them houses out of blankets and my sister and I would never buy just one (stuffed animals must be bought in pairs, so they will be each others' best friend). Now I'm back home, and I've forgotten the names of the newest, the ones bought closest to teenagerhood, and they all sit in the closet, gathering dust. This fic is about that.
"Hobbes," Calvin says thoughtfully, perched on the sharply slanted roof outside his bedroom window. "Have you always been around?"

Hobbes looks very wise and takes a large bite of his tuna sandwich. His reply is muffled and incomprehensible around the food.

Calvin takes this to mean that Hobbes doesn't know, either.


5 Things Olive Snook Never Thought and One Thing She Did (Pushing Daisies) - A lovely little treat with Olive, Ned, and Chuck, and no quote for this, since it's so short.

Wearing the Sod Gown (Castle in the Sky) - I love Yuletide for giving me stories in fandoms I never would have thought of! It's been years since I've seen the movie, but all the same, this fic is wonderful. Like many of the other pieces I'm enjoying most this year, this is a wonderful coda to the series, and I really want this to be canon.
"People who can be free shouldn't, and the ones that should are chained to the earth until it's too late," he said.


Whole New World (Aladdin) - The genie, post-series, and the people who keep shaping your life and make-shift families (my favorite kind).
He wonders, sometimes, what freedom is worth, if he always returns to the same place; but Agrabah isn't just a place. For the brief and golden time that it exists (and relatively, for Genie, it is brief), it's home.


One Thousand and One and Counting (One Thousand and One Arabian Nights) - I am not entirely sure this fic makes sense without the request ("A woman tells stories to a man at night - stories that keep her alive. Let it matter that much."), but I love the interpretation of the prompt and the anger in the story along with the celebration of so many cultures.
"Yes, you are here to help," she agrees amiably. Keep him engaged, throw any tall tale at the monster to pacify him. "My sister," second cousin on her mother's side, actually, but English does not have a specific word for that, "says that as well. She wishes..."


Red Sky by Morning (Mythology - Chinese) - I wish I remember the Matsu (Mazu) legend more so I knew what this story was doing with it, but I love just seeing this in the archive and remembering hearing stories of her in history class back in grade school.
Until the world narrows to this, this point, this moment where she's standing by the harbor rocks, watching for ships at sea, blood-red clothes like a shout against the gray of sea and sky.


Fools and Their Money (Antique Bakery) - Bwahaha! Chikage being Chikage.
Chikage had picked an agricultural chemicals company that traded on the Nisei because according to him, it looked lonely. Tachibana set up a computerized trading account and bought him four shares, and that should have been that.


One Minute, Counting (Pushing Daisies) - Emerson! The coroner! A premise that is absolutely awesome.
And then he really was done. He swallowed. Goodbye uncomfortable metal slab, he thought. Goodbye Knit-Wit magazine and the sweet smell of yarn and the soft click-click-click that needles made when you got into a rhythm. Goodbye fresh crisp checks in the mail.


The Queen's Wedding Night (Attolia series) - Someone wrote sex in the Attolia universe and it worked! Giant spoilers for the second book, and I love that this fic has so much unsaid and so much hurt. No quotes for spoiler reasons.
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And because I am UTTERLY INSANE, stories 1981 and 1984 have just been posted! Whee!

Also, dear Yuletide Santa, I am pretty sure I will be able to glom onto my story within the next day or so, but I may also take a few days, as I am not entirely sure about the status of my internet. (Still! They will have to pry my laptop from my cold dead hands!)

#2!!!!

Dec. 20th, 2008 11:52 pm
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814

stories posted in Yuletide 2008 so far!

Most Recent Story From

!!!! Oyce !!!!


WHOO!

Dec. 18th, 2008 09:35 pm
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406

stories posted in Yuletide 2008 so far!

Most Recent Story From

!!!! Oyce !!!!




... now we hope I can finish my pinch hit in time!
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717 words, THANK GOD!

Of course, I have no idea how good they are, but it is still much better than the zero I had yesterday!

Alas, I am insane and took a pinch hit while in the midst of finals, and that one is still at zero, as I am still reviewing the source. Gaaaaaah what was I thinking?!

Sadly, being a basic account does not let me create polls, so I ask everyone how they are doing with their Yuletide stories instead.
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Please only read if you think more details will help and not hinder!

More stuff )

In conclusion: I hope you have lots of fun writing the story and lots of fun doing Yuletide, and thank you!
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Whoo! I have nominations!

Bride of the Water God
Cantarella (manga)
Lust Caution (movie)
Megan Lindholm - Ki and Vandien series
Mythology - Chinese
Vampire Knight

[livejournal.com profile] ranalore, were there any specific characters you wanted for Bride? I think I got all the ones I like (including woman with tattoo), but I may have missed people.

Also, am somewhat annoyed that there is absolutely no Asian mythology in there and was briefly considering nominating "Mythology - Asian," until I had many qualms as to trying to populate the character list for that!

Did anyone nominate Nana, Honey and Clover, or 20th Century Boys? Or any Yuki Kaori?

Yuletide!

Oct. 27th, 2008 08:50 pm
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Or, in which I actually return to my long-neglected journal.

And I just realized that Friday is the last day for nominations, and I haven't thought about what to ask for!

Current ideas:
Vampire Knight OMG want. Um. Unless it doesn't count for Yuletide anymore?
Cantarella for sure.

I am fairly certain I want Megan Lindholm's Ki and Vandien series and Chinese mythology and LJ Smith's Night World.

And then, I am drawing a blank... I figure I got a Nana fic last year, and there's been a small, yet steadily growing list of Angel Sanctuary. I'm considering re-nominating "The Queen and the Soldier" and Lust, Caution from last year. And I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to nominate dramas that aren't Coffee Prince, since I'd love to see something for Dal Ja's Spring and maybe Damo.

What has everyone else nominated?
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Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: Listen, and I will tell you how Monkey comes to America.
Notes: Written for st_aurafina for Yuletide 2007. Rachel, Yoon, Vom Marlowe, and Mely all guessed me correctly! (I felt so obvious writing this!)

Read The Journey West

Fandom information

American Gods is a book by Neil Gaiman about old myths and gods coming to America. There is also other stuff, but really, all you need to know is that Gaiman posits that gods come to America with their believers.

Factual notes )

Some commentary )
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Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: tink (v.i.) 1. attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way, often to no useful effect 2. (vocational) knit backwards
Notes: Written for firstgold for Yuletide 2007

Read Tink

Series information

Pushing Daisies is a TV show about a pie-maker who can bring people back to life by touching them. If he touches them again, they die forever. If they stay alive for longer than a minute, someone else will die.

None of this is really important; all you really need to know is that Emerson Cod is a private investigator who knits.

Some commentary )
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Spoilers: For the entire series
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: These were the memories he didn't have of Sei: growing up, growing different, growing apart.
Notes: Written for Tou-chan for Yuletide 2007. Includes work-safe image done by the wonderful [livejournal.com profile] vom_marlowe!

Read Skin Shallow, Bone Deep

Series information

Mars is by Soryo Fuyumi (author of Eternal Sabbath), published by TokyoPop. It's about shy artist good girl Kira and destructive motorcycle-racing bad boy Sei, and it's also about two damaged people trying to heal themselves. Well, that, a lot of of Gothic plot twists involving twins, psychotic mass murderers, parentage, and who knows what else!

It was one of the first shoujo manga series I ever read, and I devoured it in the space of a few days. Later on, it was one of the first shoujo manga series brought over to the States; I found out it had been translated when I spotted a young girl reading a volume of it on the subway in New York, just like a schoolgirl in Tokyo or Taipei.

I don't think the story will make much sense without knowledge of the canon, since a lot of what I was trying to do was to change the characters in canon, to age them plausibly, to turn a Gothic high-school romance to a romance that could work in the real world. Also, I totally spoil almost all the plot twists of the manga.

Some commentary (series spoilers) )
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Naamah's Token (Kushiel series) - I've always enjoyed Phedre and Joscelin's odd, thorny, difficult, yet ultimately satisfying romance, particularly how it turns romance conventions of the promiscuous man and the chaste woman on its head. As such, I love that this fic is about the push-pull of Phedre's sexual desires, and I particularly love the scene between Nicola and Joscelin.
I heard the tale told once in Cereus House where I spent my childhood, of how proud Azza and cruel Kushiel wagered a province between them for a night spent in Naamah's arms.


Bentou for Two (Nobuta wo Produce) - I'm not sure if this will work for people who haven't seen Nobuta, but this saved the ending a bit for me. It's Nobuta and Mariko, gradually learning to be friends, and I really needed to read that.
The square flat box, blue with green stripes, held a couple of egg rolls, some boiled vegetables, and a patch of rice with a pig's face drawn onto it with gome seeds.


Scenes from the Lives of Princes (Coffee Prince) - Again, I'm not sure if this will work for people who don't love the canon, but this gives me all the same warm fuzzies that watching Coffee Prince does. Just... awwwwww!
Years after Coffee Princess proves as big a hit as Coffee Prince, they'll be sitting in Han Kyul and Eun Chan's living room after dinner, and Han Sung will say, "Why don't you make the coffee, Han Kyul? Your wife must be sick of it, after doing it all day."


All the King's Men (Cain Saga/Godchild) - This has everything I love about Yuki Kaori's series: poisons, absolutely insane plotting, hot like whoa, and Cain alternately being vulnerable, manipulative, and cruel. Also, zombie priest and dove! Embryonic shrew skull! The crack, I love it so much, and it doesn't hurt that the fic is extremely sexy as well.
Hypnotized by this strange sight, Crehador forgot the terrible suspicion which had brought him to this place, and watched as Cain, with a languorous sigh, let a single drop fall upon his small pink tongue.


Rehearsals (The Scarlet Pimpernel) - I have a giant weakness for The Scarlet Pimpernel, and this fic plays to everything I loved about the original. Percy and Marguerite grow up and learn to dissemble -- Percy's disguises have always been flashier, but I love that the author's Marguerite is so vivid and ruthless as well.
She was an unprepossessing sight that year, sulky mouth dominating her bony young face and straggles of greasy curls covering her eyes and her grimy cheeks - a year or two too young for the whorehouse but that was the most you could say.


Sefirot (Angel Sanctuary) - After this has been recced by several people, I have been saving it as a treat (it has taken me forever to get to the a's). And oh, I love this so much. Kabbalah and snippets from Alexiel's lives and Kira and Setsuna and oh! LOVE! Right now, my favorite section is "Geburah" because I am in love with bloody, icy Alexiel, but it may change any second. It's got reincarnation and sin and desire and I love it SO MUCH.
We spilled entrails and we rejoiced, and I could no longer tell where I ended and you began. Have you read your secret in me? Do you play a deeper game?

Nanatsusaya... am I your master? Or am I but your mistress?


A Taste of You (Angel Sanctuary) - I never thought I would like Kira/Katou, but I love this. I love the focus on taste, the gothic, lush, sinful imagery, the way Kira is cruel and casual, how the author weaves Setsuna and Alexiel into the fic. It also doesn't hurt that it's incredibly hot.
Kira has always liked the taste of cigarettes. He fancies that cancer is a spice, noxious and thickly sweet, one more forbidden fruit in a corrupt life.


Black Moon in the Afternoon Sky (After School Nightmare) - I'm in love with how this manages to capture the creepy, surreal, haunting atmosphere of the canon, with the gorgeous language and imagery, with the extremely hot Ichijo/Sou scenes, and I would rec it just for that. But I love it even more for how it treats Kureha and the penultimate scene, for making her just as important as Ichijo/Sou, for not ignoring her pain and rage and grief and love. If I ruled the universe, this would be how the manga ended.
On the way back, before you push the doors open, you can never stop yourself from wondering if the world ended while you were sleeping; if all you'll find above are the remnants of a holocaust, screaming shadows blasted onto bleached walls, or piles of corpses still bleeding from their open mouths.


The Last Rites of Wednesday Addams (Addams Family movies) - I love this, even though I've only watched bits and pieces of the movies on TV. I love the mother-daughter relationship, poisonings and all, and, ok. It's a rite of passage passed down from mother to daughter for hundreds of years! Involving things like being trapped in an Iron Maiden by choice! There really was no way I wasn't going to like this.
On their 18th birthday, each Nightshade woman is sat down by her mother - or, if her mother is fortunate enough to have been dismembered, eviscerated, set on fire, or otherwise deceased, another suitable Nightshade female - and given the Last Rites.

No, not the quaint little Catholic custom; this is a purely Nightshade tradition, handed down from each firstborn female.


The Walls of Sparta (300) - I wouldn't have read this were it not for [livejournal.com profile] liviapenn's rec; there is a reason why I avoided seeing 300. This reads like the flip side to Luminosity's vid Vogue -- while the vid was about taking on the male gaze, the fic is about the people the male gaze doesn't even see. I love the rage in this, I love that it gives voices back to the women, the slaves, the captives. This is my canon and my story in a way that Frank Miller's work can never be.
Her first husband, she initially thought, had joined the masters. He marched out and had not returned, he died with his oppressors. His friends were forced to the fight just as he was but--Persia! Blessed Persia!--they had run, they had fled and joined the liberators. They were free; she could imagine them with gold and silver, bronze and myrrh.
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The Invisible City; or, Dick Mayhew and his Marvellous Cat (Neverwhere) - I've largely forgotten Neverwhere, which has never been one of my favorite Gaimans, but I love this story. Something is happening to London Below, and the Marquis de Carabas is dragging Richard around to investigate. I love how vivid London is, past and present, Above and Below, and I absolutely adore the ending, which made me scroll right back to the top to reread.
A couple of well-meaning fellow-drinkers had assured Richard very seriously that he had to be sworn in as Freeman of Highgate before he could buy a drink. He was halfway through explaining, with some embarrassment, that he had been the Greatest Hunter In London Below for some years now and he wasn't likely to fall for that one (again) when the Marquis arrived.


The Greatest May Appear the Least (Mushishi) - I think this is my favorite of the Mushishi stories this year. I particularly love that it's about Ginko and the scientific method; if it hadn't been [livejournal.com profile] telophase's gift, I would have suspected her of writing it because of the focus on observation and deduction.
Instead, he sat quietly and idly observed his surroundings.

Interesting: lush vegetation that should, by rights, be stunted and sparse.

Notable: a moon providing as much light as one might find on a stormy day.

Compellingly conclusive: the suggestion of a glow from the greenery reaching upward from the narrow valley.


The Ivory Horn (His Dark Materials) - I can't find a good quote for this one, but this is one of my favorite stories from Yuletide 2007. Will is looking for another way to travel between worlds, and nothing will stop him. I love how creepy this grows, how it doesn't back away from consequences, and oh my god, the concept and execution is simply brilliant. If you had told me about it beforehand, I would have scoffed and said it wouldn't work, but it does, and perfectly so.

The Pen and the Sword (the Anne books) - This is another of my favorites. I have a giant, giant soft spot for Rilla of Ingleside, which is my favorite of the Anne books because of Rilla, in all her practicality and romance and how she must grow up. Rilla and the rest of the Rainbow Valley gang are grown up here, and it's now 1939. I love love love how the voice of this sounds just like the books, I love how the characters are older and wiser and how much it hurts to see them going through another war, and I absolutely adore how brave they all are, even though now the glory of it is gone.
I keep as busy as I can; the old Red Cross has started up again, as if it had never been gone, and I find I can knit a sock as handily as ever I could, but the spice of it has gone; if we must have it all again then we must, but the girl who dreamt of heroes and admired a well-turned-out young man in khaki is gone forever, replaced by a woman who knows only grim necessity and endurance.


Fairy Tale of L.A. (Life) - Short and sweet and pitch-perfect Reese and Crews. I love the last line, which is just so Dani.
"What?" Dani says, still not used to the way Crews starts conversations, like he's tossing a grenade at you and expecting you to play catch.


The Crush of Cthulu (HP Lovecraft) - I don't actually know the Lovecraft canon, but this would have made me snort coffee up my nose, had I been so ill-advised to drink coffee while reading. I think the excerpt speaks for itself.
"The tale I am about to relate is a horrible one. It has dark pacts made with hideous creatures, things too twisted for the human mind to comprehend, and horrors beyond the stars who willfully violate the laws of Euclidean geometry."

The man bent his head down sorrowfully and I could feel the fear still emanating from him. He stood there, for what seemed to be aeons, and I could sense he was trying to build up his strength to tell me something, something that would forever scar my sanity, leaving my mind a pale shadow of what used to be.

He finally raised his head, and in a most doleful and anguished tone, he whispered three terrifying words that indeed, would later send me into a cataleptic state and a prolonged stay in Arkham's most prominent asylum. These words, I remember even now, as he uttered them and then stared at me with agony in his eyes.

"It has sex."


i live my life in growing orbits (Haibane Renmei) - Haibane fic! And it's small and delicate and quiet, just like the series, about recovery and growth and living. It makes me think of spring green tendrils of vine gently unfurling in the sunshine, of bean shoots in newly-turned earth.
What one notices is the coming of spring, not winter's passing. Small things, first: the gentleness of the air on a sunny morning, or the stirring of new leaves, or how the earth, no longer frost-hardened, yields just enough for one's shoes to make their mark.


A Heaven of Blackbirds (Fionavar) - I've always wanted Jaelle's story, and this one delivers. I particularly love that it has both Jaelle the High Priestess and Jaelle the woman, and though it's about the woman in the end, it never shortchanges how important priesthood is and was to Jaelle, how much Dana is woven through her life.
Oh Dana, she cried in the silence of her heart, grieving as she never had before. Why not me?


a solitary blue (Fionavar) - I'm not sure if people who aren't rabid Sharra/Diarmuid shippers would love this as much as me, but Sharra is my favorite character from the books, and I love how this captures her grief and the slow healing, how she is trying to find her wings again.
Her father does not ask her to return to Cathal when he departs in the spring, for which she is grateful: she would rather stay here in Paras Derval, where the memories of gardens are not as sharp.


Tell It Slant (Fray) - Love! I love who is telling the tale, I love the rhythms of the prose, I love how it's about stories and legends and how it connects Mel with Buffy and Faith. It reminds me of that last panel in Tales of the Slayers, of Mel sitting on the table and reading an old book, the ghosts of all the slayers past gathered behind her in solidarity and sisterhood.
After two hundred years, the Slayer's back. She's a silhouette in the city, a shadow in the streets. She's death in the alleys when the moon is dark, hope in the ruins when the rain is cold. She carries a red crescent; it's her best friend and your worst nightmare.

She's the one girl in all the world, that old, forgotten chant.

Tell the story, even if you must tell it slant.
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I got not one, but TWO stories for Yuletide! Awesome!

The Mountain and the Hawk (Ellen Kushner - The House of the Nine Doors) - First of all, OMG OMG OMG! SQUEEE! Someone actually wrote fic for this non-existent fandom, and that alone would send me completely through the roof! But moreso, I love the fic so much! I love getting a look at Eyas' background, I love the additional history and sense of place the author brings to the world, the contrast between the mountains and the city, between Eyas and Gwai, between Vrel and Eyas. And it's hot! Eeeeeee!
The mountains are a ring of teeth surrounding the city, sharp and broken and impassable in most places. They have, at different times in the city's history, been shield and sword, cocoon and cage, boon and bane.


Pipe Dreams (Nana) - And then someone wonderful wrote me a treat for Nana! Yaaaaay! I love how it gets at Punk Nana's vulnerabilities, the ones she doesn't know how to deal with, and I love that it fits in both Cute Nana and Ren, how it takes all those hints in the narration of the manga and makes them text.
His fingers are rough, the tips calloused. Underneath, she feels the lingering traces of soft hands and hesitance, and she arches into his touch, willing the dream to fade.


And now for the other stories! I start my way at the bottom of the alphabet and work my way up.

Houses and Rain (xxxHolic) - I love this fic so much. SO MUCH. I love the bittersweetness of it, the description of chocolate, the assorted spirits trying to be human, and the prickly, grumpy ame-warashi, who I don't actually remember from the canon, but this story makes me want to go back and reread it for all the bits she's in. I love the bits of Japanese folklore and how the little oden fox gets a bit, and did I mention the bittersweet wistfulness?
Foxes always know where to find good paper. It's because they hang out with scholars so much of the time.


Beginnings (Discworld) - Aww! Death, once again lost with those strange human customs.
As the stove began to heat up, he set to work on the tiny lives swarming within the kettle's water, releasing them each as it came closer and closer to boiling.

It was easier to make tea when one considered all the deaths required.


The Birthday of Eternity (Discworld) - Death + the witches! How can it be bad? Also, this has got awesome Nanny Ogg voice, and I love Nanny Ogg to bits. I think the Death-Nanny Ogg conversations may have already slipped into my personal canon, along with Nanny Ogg's topologically odd socks.
Death stared at the jug. It had a little porcelain udder, complete with four ineptly paint-splotched teats. The milk, however, was clearly meant to pour out a hole in its nose. Nanny Ogg did not seem to find it out of the ordinary.


Fiddler's Went A'Courtin' (Sandman) - I was a little wary of the premise, but the author carries it off beautifully. It's Fiddler's Green, in love, but wonderfully, delicately, and gently so.
Life as an occasionally anthropomorphic personification of an imaginary land means not having a particularly subtle subconscious.


Winter Words (The Blue Sword) - The quote I picked for this doesn't really illustrate why I love this fic; its voice is less obvious than some of the prior stories. But it feels like McKinley in how it focuses on the small moments, on the "after" part of "happily ever after," how both Harry and Corlath are trying so hard.
Harry's brother, Richard (who kept his honor so close Corlath at first mistook it for disapproval), spent much of his time in those long halls.


Petition (The Rabbi's Cat) - OMG! OMG! Someone wrote fic for Rabbi's Cat! Someone wrote GOOD fic for Rabbi's Cat! I was almost afraid to read this because I love the original so much, but I love this fic. It gets the rabbi down, but more importantly, it gets the cat perfectly. The cat's cat logic and cat theology is just wonderful.
"Cats know things," I inform him, smugly. It's true; we do. We hear more than people imagine. "Didn't you know, there is a feline Torah, and these are the stories we yowl to one another at night in the alleys of the city."


Once Upon a Bird (Princess Tutu) - I love the language and the imagery in this one, the way it feels like a Brothers Grimm fairy tale, only through a warped mirror.
You follow a trail of shining pebbles, or maybe they are candy eggs, the kind that taste of sugar and cream and fruit from the summer's first harvest, the kind that witches tempt children with. Even in a dream you know better than to stop and taste one, just to see.

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