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I sadly have almost no recs this Yuletide, largely because I've only spent a few hours browsing around the archive. Mostly I tried to go through the Chromatic Yuletide 2010 collection first, but given that I spent all of the first half of my sister's visit writing (and rewriting, and researching, and despairing of, and occasionally giving up on) my story, I felt kind of guilty abandoning her to Yuletide for the second half as well.

That said, OMG people!! My gift fics!!!! I have not one, not two, but THREE stories for my random wuxia reincarnation Jay Chou music video request (link goes to my pimping post with the music video itself, lyrics, and translation). And another bittersweet and food-full fic for xxxHolic!

In the order they show up on my gifts page:

The Summer Triangle (Qing Hua Ci (Music Video)) - OMG BEST THING EVER! I want everyone to read this because you really don't need to know much about the source (reincarnation!), and if you do want to know the source, here you go! It's only four minutes long! Vase ex machina!

I love love love how the story takes the over-the-top ridiculousness of the music video and makes fun of it, that even though the vase snarks, it still wants the lovers to get together, that the vase has its own tragic backstory. I love the references to cdramas and ubiquitous pop music and the hair and wind machines and giant training sequences of wuxia movies and Macross and Jay Chou's totally over-the-top emotastic music that is everywhere, I love the interstellar war (I so want more of that story too!), I love that the fic gives so much agency and coolness to Yan Yu, who mostly just lounges about prettily in the original vid! I cannot wait to see who wrote this, and I'm dying to see what the writing process was behind this (I am sure it is hilarious!) and to see all the references I got or missed! I keep wanting to point out all the little things in here and how I appreciate all that thought and effort going into what feels like an effortless piece, but then I get distracted and flail and squee and exclamation point! SO AWESOME! INCOHERENT SQUEE!

Here, I'm going to skip ahead a little. Yes, there's a pretty great story about how he battled his way through mountains and forests, nearly died at the hands of bandits before meeting an Immortal who nursed him back to health, and finally, his tests of courage at the temple in order to obtain me, but this is the thing. It's a really long story and you don't have the time right now. You'll just have to wait for the 40-episode drama to come out next year.

I Wait for You (Qing Hua Ci/Bride with White Hair) - OMG people I saw the one-line description for this ("In a post-apocalyptic future, a boy with an illness that forces him to live as a virtual bubble boy meets a feral mutant girl living in the forbidden woods.") and the two fandoms and started flailing incoherently! This is more Bride with White Hair than "Qing Hua Ci," though again, I want everyone to read this because you don't need to know much about the source (reincarnation!) except that in the original, she can kill with her hair and was raised by wolves, and that theirs is a tragic forbidden love.

There is so much in here to squee about! The cracktastic and yet absolutely awesome worldbuilding! Exiled mutants! Piles of baby bones! A giant dome that keeps everyone trappedsafe inside! But what I actually love best is how despite the cracktasticness of both original sources and the fic's world, the interaction between the boy and the girl in the fic is just as real and touching as it was in the movie. I especially love the girl's many incidences of "You humans are strange and yet interesting" as she tells the boy his mutation sucks, offers him raw catfish, and then tells him to bring her more food! And I'm so glad that he doesn't break her heart the way he does in the movie, that he saves her by being vulnerable, the tiny mention of his life opening like a flower at the end instead of forever sitting in the snow guarding it.

The Dome wasn't entirely sealed off, of course: there were the pipes which brought captured rainwater to the filtration plant, the hundreds and thousands of tiny holes which allowed air to pass in and out, and the terrible Exile Gate through which mutant babies and children and even the occasional long-undiscovered adult were thrust out, never to return. The boys and girls whispered that the white piles of baby bones rose so high on either side of the Exile Gate that a tall man couldn't see over them.

In a Chinese Landscape (Shan Shui Hua Li) (Qing Hua Ci/Bujold's Cetaganda and Vorkosigan) - Again, one in which I don't think you need to know the canon to read! I actually haven't read the Bujold books, but the fic is lovely by itself. Also, even though the notes say the fic isn't wuxia and is only incidentally space opera, it feels like wuxia in space, especially the focus on forbidden love and honor. I love the prose in here, the way it manages to evoke Chinese brush paintings and Song ci and Ming porcelein while still being set in space, the way ancient China and another lifetime in the wuxia world fits with spaceships and the art of genetics and airlock doors.

I have seen it not only as it is, but as a memory of clay, mould, brush on unfired porcelain. Perhaps a child's story of our ancestors' artistry when the rest of the world was content with porous earthenware, as advanced then as our genetic is art now. Art will progress; the older things fall away. How few of our ladies' works will survive for three thousand years?

Living Memory (xxxHolic) - This is a lovely fic that is set post-series (I think? I haven't actually finished), and it's so nice to see Watanuki and Kohane again, especially cooking! I love how it goes into the process of cooking and the way it ties food with memory and remembering, both new friendships and old in the background.
Watanuki looked up from the sea bream he was cutting. "Then it's time to add the first ingredients, Kohane-chan. Do you remember which ones?"

"Mushrooms," she said, picking up the bowl of sliced shiitake. "And the clams ... and shrimp ... and scallions ... and cabbage. And that fish."

Recs of the few things I have managed to read!

Persuasion to Joy (Mulan 2009) - This is the fic I wanted after I watched the movie, and I am so glad that the Rouran princess gets her own story, and that it's a quiet and gentle and happy one, despite the intial culture shock and difficult adjustments.
She does not have a name. She will always be the barbarian princess who took away the youngest, most beloved prince. She climbs to the tallest reaches of the palace walls, watches the stars turn in their steady paths, and does not cry.

This story, she thinks, will have a happy ending.

The Opening of Coffee Princess (Coffee Prince) - So cute! It totally makes me want to rewatch the drama, and I love that even though it's about Eun-chan and Han-gyeol, it fits in so many of the other characters, including Eun-sae and Seon-gi, which is particularly appropriate given the shift from coffee princes to coffee princesses.
“For you, my Chan!” Ha-rim announced before looking around the café. “Wah, looks nice! Of course, it’s all due to my guidance. You should have seen this place before, Eun-chan, before I came onto the consulting team! It was all the wrong image! Now it has the proper feminine touch.”

Yuletide guessing )
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Hi pinch hitter! You are awesome for pinch hitting, especially for such a tight deadline! I also know my fandoms are really obscure, so if none of the prompts or whatnot work for you, just go with whatever lets you write in the time span.

I guess additional information.... um. I'm up through vol. 3 of Grand Guignol Orchestra, but I'm betting if you have spoilers for later bits, I will a) not be able to tell what parts are the spoilers and what parts are your story or b) words are so inadequate to describe Yuki Kaori scenes that it won't matter anyway! I have seen Bride with White Hair 2, so you can refer to it if you want, but I mostly think of it as fanfic or pretend it doesn't exist, so you can also ignore it!

Anyway, I cheer you on and thank you!
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Dear Yuletide Writer,

First of all, YAY! I am sure I will love anything, since it means a) you have seen/read the fandom in question and b) I am pretty sure very little if anything at all exists in any of them! (Yes, I am that evil person who always tries to request the most obscure fandoms ever.)

General and skippable details, duplicated prompts )

Again, thank you so much, and I hope you have a lot of fun writing the story!
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Lonesome Eden (also 沙夢/Sha Meng/Sand Dreams) by 南宮燠/Nan Gong Yu/Nankongyuu* is a single-volume manhua by a Taiwan manhuajia. It's about a life-sized doll who lives by itself in a beautiful garden tended by God**. But one day, the doll gets lonely and asks God for a companion...

This is one of the first Taiwan manhua that I found, and I picked it up based on the cover art, which is slightly Gothy and very lush, and on the brief plot description above. The interior art is just as gorgeous, and it reminds me a lot of CLAMP (especially X) and Yuki Kaori. You can tell the manhuajia loves loves loves loligoth, but that's ok, because so do I! Also, unlike a lot of CLAMP and Yuki Kaori, although the trappings are very idtastic, the content and storyline are very melancholy and bittersweet, about love and loss and no over-the-top zombies or cannibalism or whatnot.

Also, you should read it because it is only one volume!

Also also, I have an extra copy of the manhua that I will give to the first person who wants it! It is in Chinese, and the spine is extremely broken, although all the pages and the cover are fine and uncreased. Comment if you'd like it!

* She romanizes her name as the latter, the pinyin romanization is the former.
** There's some vaguely Christian references, such as a few crosses, angel wings, and cathedral-like architecture, but no textual references to the Bible.
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First, [community profile] dark_agenda has a master post collecting all sorts of pimping posts for chromatic fandoms!

青花瓷 is one of my favorite 周杰倫/Jay Chou songs, largely because of some of the traditional Chinese instruments in the background and the gorgeous lyrics. I actually can't read a lot of the lyrics because some of the characters are fairly obscure, and the lyrics are written in a style that resembles classical Chinese poetry. (ETA: Er, and on rereading the lyrics, I realize I actually know a fair amount of them, but it's really hard to figure out what they are when you are singing karaoke and trying to keep up!)

And then, there is the gorgeous music video! It has reincarnation! Wind machines! Tragic romance! Pretty wuxia clothes! And all in four minutes or so!


Lyrics )
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Eeeeeee! Yuletide nominations!

I am going to nominate Angel Sanctuary, Meljean Brook's Guardian series, and Jay Chou's music video of Qing Hua Ci, but I am coming up blank for other stuff! People! What should I nominate? What are you nominating? Trading and bargaining completely acceptable!

(OMG it is so good knowing that this year, I will not be desperately trying to write papers and finish final projects while also trying to write my Yuletide fic!)

Also the new fandom eligibility rules are kind of strange, especially for those of us who play more in the anime/manga sphere of things, which is definitely one of the less populated areas of AO3. So... will they whack down Fruits Basket or Vampire Knight, which have 40-70 stories in the archive? Inquiring minds would like to know!
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Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: I didn't invent Chang E, and I seriously doubt anyone can copyright her...
Summary: They say I stole the elixir from my husband, but how could a dry pill from the Queen Mother of the West ever appeal to one who has had the ambrosia of mangoes and durian and lychee?
Notes: Written for [personal profile] bravecows for Yuletide 2009

Read Worlds Away

Source information

I don't know the exact details of the Chang E story; checking Wikipedia, there seem to be several variants. The one I always grew up with was the one in which she was married to the archer Hou Yi and ate the elixer meant for her and her husband out of greed and ended up floating to the moon. The versions I've heard usually make Chang E out to be the flawed one who ends up punished for her greed, albeit inadvertantly. And, as with many things I grew up with, I don't remember when I first heard it or even how.

Commentary )
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Spoilers: For the entire movie
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: In which dragons and boys both must find their own tale.
Notes: Written for Hikario for Yuletide 2009. Many thanks to [profile] edonohana, who did an extremely quick beta and helped me brainstorm the ending.
(Me: It's such a typical fic for me!
Her: Pretty prose, Asian mythology, and food?
Me: Oooh, I should add food...)

Read Becoming

Series information

Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi/Spirited Away is one of my favorite Miyazaki movies (as a side note, I love that AO3 puts the original language transliteration first, then the English translation). Ten-year-old Chihiro and her parents find themselves in a magical world, and Chihiro must find work in order to save her parents, who have been turned into pigs. She ends up in a bathhouse that serves spirits and gods. I love the movie for the imagery and for Chihiro and the daikon radish spirit and the river god and everything, and I was delighted when I got it as my assignment. Then I was absolutely terrified, because damn it's hard to live up to Miyazaki.

Commentary )
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And Gladly Teach (Kristin Cashore - Graceling) - Graceling fic! I love getting more of Katsa/Po, particularly how the two of them are learning each other's Graces more. And politics! A believable look at what the future may hold for the two of them and how they're trying to negotiate the new world they've partially helped set up.
The next morning Katsa watched two children demonstrate how to stab each other, and had never been happier.

Thousand Voices, One Fight (Janelle Monae - Metropolis) - So far, one of my favorite stories from this Yuletide. I love the resistance and the fight and the struggle and how the author keeps tying it back to our own history, I love the reclamation of the color black, I love how the fight continues on and how it's about all these people speaking or staying silent and continually struggling. And oh, those last two paragraphs are absolutely perfect.
Your ancestors sang in the plantations. They danced after the sun went down. They would not be silenced.

Strange Language (Song of Ice and Fire) - I don't remember the character of Missandei from the books at all, but this is her story, from slave to translator, and Dany's as well. I love the two women together and the way it is about trying to make your way in a hostile world and having to make all the difficult choices simply to survive. And I love the understanding the two have at the end, former slave and queen both struggling, but now with another ally.
It was harder to learn to be free than it had been to learn to be a slave. The rules were less clear.

Revisionism (Princess Tutu) - I thought it would be hard to get more meta than the series itself, and yet, someone has! A new version of Drosselmeyer's "The Prince and the Raven" has been found, and the D. D. Dosselmeyer Literary Institute has a special article in their newsletter on what this new addition to the canon means, with quotes from some familiar characters.
Rejoice, aficionados, and gather 'round! -- it is with the utmost pleasure that we of the D.D. Drosselmeyer Literary Institute announce the discovery of a new manuscript.

The Loved Girl (A Portrait in Tabloids) (Skip Beat) - I so hope the manga takes this path! Sho, Ren, and Kyoko are all in the same drama, and Kyoko's having a bit of a hard time portraying her character. What follows is acting advice, Kyoko being clueless, and Ren and Yashiro both being long suffering, just like the canon.
It is Josei Seven's best selling issue of the year, and on the morning when it officially reaches the newsstands, LME's head offices receive an unprecedented amount of calls asking for verification or denial (or any comment at all) regarding Ren and Kyoko's suspected relationship.

Area Codes (Skip Beat) - I'm still so glad last year's Yuletide story made me start reading Skip Beat again. This has Kyoko's giant sparkly eyes, Moko being long suffering and annoyed, and a lot of phone calls. I love the friendship between the two girls so much.
Kanae gapes at her phone. "You're the heroine of a manga, aren't you?"

Color All Days Blue, But Save One for Many Colors (Flowers in the Attic/Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series) - Bwahahahaha! Another Flowers in the Attic crossover! Only this time with Nalini Singh of all things!
Once I thought hope was yellow, like the sunlight we never saw.

Bloom (Paradise Kiss) - Paradise Kiss fic! And starring Isabella too! This is quiet and lovely, and I'm so glad Isabella at last gets her own story.
Ten years and lots of bleeding in between (figuratively, except when they run out of thimbles); ten years, and still more to come, Isabella knows.

all your heart-melodies (Lilo & Stitch) - LOVE. Bittersweet and then just plain sweet, and I love grown-up Lilo. LOVE.
Stitch shows her how to build plasma guns (Nani puts them on a high shelf), how to rig up a can opener and a radio into a machine that will open a portal to an alternate universe (Nani says she can't do it in the house) and how to first swallow and then regurgitate useful objects, like handcuff keys or quarters (Nani, though disgusted, can't help but be impressed).

I Cannot Promise (Robin McKinley - Deerskin) - Quiet and gentle and a wonderful epilogue to the book.
And slowly, but surely, those raw edges healed, a little crookedly, like Ash's wound, inexpertly stitched and still painful to the touch, but healed nonetheless, and Lissar was more and more comfortable in her role in the castle.
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Four Conversations Song Joo Never Had and One Conversation She Did (Capital Scandal) - My gift fic, and it is awesome, awesome, awesome! It has everything I wanted from a Song Joo fic, from her friendships with Wan and Yeo Kyeong to her and Su Hyeon, along with tidbits of Korean history and freedom fighting as well! I love that the story doesn't gloss over the difficulties to come even as it dwells on happy moments. I don't have anything else to say except EEEEEEEE! MY STORY! In my fandom that I thought would never have fic in it! I love it so much! (spoilers in the fic for Song Joo backstory, spoilers in comments for the series)
But for this night—this single perfect night, she does not want to think of the Americans or the Russians. For this one night, all she wants to do is be thankful that the Japanese have surrendered and that both she and Soo Hyeon are still alive.

She Is Sun Shangxiang (赤壁/Red Cliff) - And someone wrote me a treat too! I am so happy that both of my gift fic this year are on awesome Asian women! I am always terrible at describing my gift fic because all I want to do is squee and post lots and lots of exclamation points. Anyway, it is my favorite character from the movie, and the author gets all her passion and her love for her country and her heroism!
This is what she cares about: she cares about the strength of the bow in her hands, carved and curved and humming with tension.

Witch (LJ Smith - Night World) - Poppy's twin Phil learns to deal with the Night World. It's got almost all the characters in it, and I especially love seeing the glimpses of people's lives after their books without it feeling like an overcrowded romance sequel. Also, Blaise!
The others have risked everything for love. He's going to do it for family. Including the one who's no longer human, even if she has a soulmate.

Tactical Dispositions (赤壁/Red Cliff) - This follows up on the ending of the movie and how Zhuge Liang and Zhou Yu must reluctantly side against each other. Also, another duet on the qin!
"If Heaven has made Yu, why then Liang as well?" Zhou Yu interrupted sharply, growing impatient with his ruler's obstinacy.

Faces in Fire (Ann Maxwell - Fire Dancer series) - I don't remember too much of the books, but wow, this has the smouldering (sorry for the pun) UST between Kirtn and Rheba just right. I only wish there were more of it!
The gold eyes meet hers, and she feels again the rush of heat, akhenet lines smouldering in untrammelled fire, her breath caught hot in her throat as though sucked from her lungs. Carefully, Rheba reins in the heat, knowing that her Bre'n will advocate control.

Incorrigible (V.C. Andrews - Dollanganger series/Madeleine L'Engle - Kairos series) - Yes, yes you read those fandoms right. It is a crossover of Flowers in the Attic and A Swiftly Tilting Planet! BWAHAHAHAHAHAH! I am probably going to hell just for reccing this. But OMG! The L'Engle pastiche is pretty good, as is the V.C. Andrews one (the "golly gosh"! The tone-deaf exposition-y dialogue!), there is a harpsicorn (you have to read it to find out), and it is hilarious! I also was torn between quoting from the fic and the author's note, which had me giggling hysterically.
Pairings are canonical. There is no Murrycest, because I am not V.C. Andrews. There is a nonhuman OC that does not participate in any shippy activity.

This was a pinch-hit. I did not upload this as a last-minute treat. Therefore I have no excuse for what I have written. I could have looked for a beta, and the beta could have talked me out of this, but noooooo.

in those that wait (L.M. Montgomery - A Tangled Web) - I've always had a giant soft spot for Hugh and Joscelyn in the book, and this is a lovely epilogue to their story.
"You must hate me."

"Bitterly," Hugh said, as he dropped a tender kiss on her forehead. "I can barely stand the sight of you." His eyes twinkled with a light that hadn’t shone for a decade, incandescent with joy.
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First, I am up on AO3! Here. I have obsessively uploaded everything, though I want to tag lots more once I figure out good ones.

Also, OMG YULETIDE! [livejournal.com profile] edonohana and I basically stayed up till 1 in the morning China-time the night before to write Yuletide Madness stories! It was awesome, despite the terror that was writing my official fic (or not, as it were) during finals.

Also also, Yuletide guessing! I feel both stories I have written are so obviously me it is almost pointless to guess them, so please feel free to post all Yuletide author speculations here! Commenters, please don't confirm or deny until the reveal!


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Dear Yuletide Writer,

Thank you so much for writing for me! I am sure I will love whatever you have to offer. Also, if the prompts I tried to put into the form don't work for you, please feel free to discard them and write what you want to.

If you are the kind of author who likes working from prompts/likes stalking your recipient (I do too!), here's more detail. But if you aren't, please skip over it!

Unnecessary details )



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!)


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October 2013

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