snickfic: (Giles Xander fascinating)
[ profile] penny_lane_42 was talking about how much she hates Xander Harris, and it got me thinking about character bashing in fic. As I told her, I don’t hate Xander; he adds a nice flavor to the narrative soup. He provides comic relief (even when it isn’t funny). He asks stupid-yet-necessary questions. He’s useful.

And in individual terms, I mostly just don’t care about him. However, I see intellectually a lot of the problems other folks have with him. I can sympathize. You’ve got your mysogyny, your patronization of the girlfriend, etc.

Yet I *can’t* deal with character bashing of Xander. Can’t. )
snickfic: (Dawn)
Come Crashing Down, by [ profile] deird1
post-"The Gift"
You love canon AU's that take a big step sideways? You have a thing for post-apocalyptic goodness (/badness)? You're in the mood to have your heart ripped out and stomped on in only 1500 words? This is so the fic for you. Sparingly worded yet rich with implications. Beware character death and angst like an elegant anvil.

Kindred Spirits, by [ profile] nwhepcat
I keep calling this epic the Dawn/Ethan fic, and yeah, there's definitely intimacy and sexiness and magic. However, it's much more a fic about Dawn, her origins, and her future than about her relationship with Ethan. Hep takes the ill-fitting pieces of the Buffyverse worldbuilding and builds something much richer and stranger out of them.

To Apprehend Air, by [ profile] quinara
post-"Lies My Parents Told Me"
I seem to have a thing for fics that explore Spike losing his soul after he's gotten it, and I think this is my favorite yet. Ramifications are explored, rich S7 Spuffy interaction is had, Anya shines, and meanwhile the crew explores Arashmaharr and storms a castle. It's a romp, but with introspection! (I was going to say 'with soul-searching,' but I refrained.)

Traditional Love Stories, by [ profile] tashlae
A breezy, self-aware review of the Spike/Buffy relationship that's almost as much about us Spuffyites as it is about the ship itself. Even though I knew the story, the expression was always just one step left of what I expected. Delightful.
snickfic: (Willow)
Title: Paper Gowns and Hospital Crowns
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, pre-series and circa 7.19 "Empty Places"
Characters: Willow, Xander
Word Count/Rating: ~1100; PG
A/N: Written for the Willow round at [ profile] genfic_minis for [ profile] velvetwhip, who wanted Xander, old photos, and a hat. Turned out, she got more than one hat.

Beta'd by the fabulous [ profile] penny_lane_42. Honorable mention as a fannish resource goes to [ profile] gabrielleabelle, for her Tribute to Willow's Hats.

Disclaimer: None of these character are belong to me. They are belong to Whedon, Greenwalt, ME, and co.

The first time Willow ever visited Xander in the hospital, she followed his Uncle Rory down the tiled hallway, shivering in the air-conditioned chill and and clutching her wrapped package with determined unworry. )
snickfic: (Default)
For [ profile] cindergal: Xander, Spike

Three weeks after, Xander went to the Fish Tank. The wall-staring and the sobbing and the snot made Anya – healing, thank God – a little frantic. Also, beer: the Harris family anaesthetic of choice. And Buffy was no more absent there than anywhere else. So he went.

But Spike was there, too, wrapped in cigarette haze, cue in hand. Still creepy, toothy, leathered. Evil. But with eyes as empty as Xander felt.

Wordless, soundless, Spike held the other cue out to Xander. And, because the reason Xander’d hated him was dead; because here was a man(/monster/whatever) who understood, he took it.
snickfic: (anya bunnies)
So I'm signed up to write "fluff about Anya challenging the patriarchy, and Xander being amused" for the Fall Fandom Free-For-All, and I'm coming up blank. Prompt me, please? The 'challenging the patriarchy' bit doesn't actually need to be explicit; I just need, yanno, Anya being all under-socialized and awesome and such, as she usually is.
snickfic: (ep Dead Things)
Because you know they’d have had this conversation sooner or later, if they’d both been around long enough...

I Win

Cut for guys being tasteless )
snickfic: (Default)
Hurray, new recs! As usual, not all new, but all good. No longfics this time; I'm not sure what's up with that.

Faith/Giles series, by [ profile] sahiya
comics canon
After I read No Future For You, the S8 trade volume in which Faith and Giles team up, I said, “Where’s all the Faith/Giles fic?” And thanks to [ profile] antennapedia, I found these, which were just what I wanted. Florence Fucking Nightingale, in particular, is a wonderful study of Faith and of their developing relationship. All three are beautifully written, and do a lovely job balancing between Faith’s tentative trust and all the history weighing her down. Only minimally dependent on comics canon.

Precious Cargo, by [ profile] aadler
A gorgeous character study of pretty much everyone in S7, via the item each chooses to send away for safekeeping. Funny, poignant, and sometimes just breathtakingly sad.

Intervention Spaiku! by [ profile] mere_ubu
5.18 “Intervention”
Mere has really outdone herself this time, with 1275 syllables (that’s 75 stanzas) of crunchy Spaiku goodness. Clever, witty, insightful, and oh so deliciously worded. I really can’t say enough about these; they are fabulous.

I Don’t Know Where I’ll Be Tonight, But I’ll Always Tell You Where I Am, by [ profile] spuffyduds
I’ve recced the heck out of this author already, but here’s one more. While on a road trip to see the world and maybe find herself, Faith starts writing Wesley postcards. This is a sweet, understated, hopeful bit of shippiness, and if I ever managed to write shippy fic myself, I’d want it to look something like this.

kid!verse, by [ profile] margarks and others
Ats S3 (ish)
If the very idea of kid!Xander and kid!Spike being friends makes you just keel over with cute, then this drabble series is for you. Otherwise, possibly not.

Pretty much everything [ profile] deird1 has written
[ profile] deird1 is another one those authors whose stuff is so good that you might as well just read all of it, of which there’s quite a lot because she’s been stunningly prolific her first while in fandom. The thing I love about her work - mostly under 5k words, mostly gen - is how conceptually interesting it is. See, for example, the adorable Small Spaces, in which most of Wesley’s memories of Dawn from S3 involve her hiding under the table. Then read the much longer sequel Waiting Game, which takes that idea someplace deeper and more poignant. Try Whitehat, an entire fic about Nancy, the girl who got one scene in “The Wish” in S3. Or, for my especial favorite, read Dial N for Nancy-Boy, a perfectly characterized drabble series (I adore drabble series) of phone calls from Spike to Angel (I also adore non-slashy Spike and Angel interaction), S4-S7. Now complete with DVD commentary!
snickfic: (Default)
A general note on recs: since I’ve been in the fandom less than a year, I regularly discover old fic that I want to squee about. So, there’s no guarantee of anything here being new, just good.

Culture Vultures, by Yahtzee
Oz, Willow, Faith, and an OFC go to a museum, and craziness ensues. I've read stuff by Yahtzee before and even recced some of it, and I've always found it thoughtful and smoothly told, but this is the story of hers I've fallen in love with. Much as I warmed up to Tara there at the end, if I had an OTP, it'd be Oz/Willow. Here they are, sort of, maybe picking up the threads of old romance while Willow tries to figure out who she dares to be. Plus: Faith!

The Scourge Does Titipu, by [ profile] rebcake
Pretty much what it says on the tin: post-play, the Fanged Four quote Gilbert&Sullivan (some of which is, as Rebcake points out, remarkably Jossian in tone and subject matter). Rebcake has been writing elegant little historical ficlets for a while now, but this is my favorite for the clever use of the referenced material, the perfect voices and the fun character interaction on an evening when all four vamps are in equitable moods.

Dawning, by [ profile] goldenusagi
Spoilers through 4.8 "Pangs"
You guys know I'm a sucker for Spike and Dawn together, right? This series of ficlets chronicles their encounters up through mid-S4, and is on my very short list of "fics that might as well be canon." Brief, sparingly told, with exactly the right amounts of skepticism and covert curiosity on both sides.

The Last Hurrah of the Golden... Handshake? by [ profile] speakr2customrs
Spoilers through Angel NFA
This drabble is for irate copyeditors everywhere, and is possibly also my favorite AU ending to "Not Fade Away." And did I mention it’s funny?

Many Happy Returns, by [ profile] erimthar
A ficlet that illustrates the Xander and Buffy friendship more clearly than almost anything else I've seen in fic. Brief, quiet, poignant, darkly humorous, and with brilliant Xander-voice.

In League With Serpents and, by WeyrWolfen
Vague spoilers through 6.17 "Hell's Bells"
Spike wins a smalled winged serpent in a poker game, and she proceeds to turn his life upside down. WeyrWolfen is fast becoming one of my favorite authors of plotty, sweet, romantic Spike/Buffy adventure stories. She confidently builds stories around the new supernatural elements she introduces to the Buffyverse milieu and manages the trick of making those new elements intriguing in their own right, while also peppering her fics with sparkling bits of character insight and nice turns of phrase. Plus, I love her Spike, who's struggling and befuddled and well-intentioned despite his best efforts. This story and sequel are my favorites so far, but Cycle of Rebirths, about Buffy and Spike's link to a long-dead Japanese Slayer and her husband, is also fun, plus it has the fabulous, completely Spike- and Buffy-free sort-of sequel Wash Cycle, which has one of the best, funniest original demon characters I've ever read. Also recommended is To Ride a Pale Horse, the mid-Ats S5 zombie apocalypse WIP, which she’s writing with AtheneWolfe.

Oz meta

Jan. 14th, 2009 09:23 pm
snickfic: (OzWill)
I realized today that, back when I was prepping to write my Oz fic "A Man of Many Colors," I'd done a lot of thinking-via-keyboard about the character. I thought I'd bless you spam you share it with you all.

We attack the mayor with hummus. )
snickfic: (Default)
Stuff that didn't fit anywhere else, but didn't deserve to be shunted down to the bottom

After the Fall, by ElenaB
1. Two Ravens - Xander
2. Les Noyades - Spike
3. Book of Days - Anya
4. Mea Maxima Culpa - Giles
5. Little Mouse Sounds - Tara
6. Case #9323 - Dawn
7. Ingression - Willow
Spoilers through the end of S5
Ensemble fics dealing with the aftermath of "The Gift" are a dime a dozen, and I tend to read a lot of them because I like ensemble fics (and fics that pry Spike away from Buffy, even for just a little while). For my money, this is the best of the lot. They're are not only written really well, they're a prime example of the the amazing things that can happen when you play with POV - ElenaB gets more and more experimental as she goes. The character voices are right-on, the emotion understated yet nearly overwhelming, the dialogue slantwise and indirect and realistic.

The Xander, Spike, and Dawn pieces are my favorites (though beware the heavy pre-slash overtones), but the Giles piece is also an interesting take, and I wish the show had done something with Tara a little more like what her piece here does. This is some of the best fic I've read in the fandom, full stop.

Five in One, by [ profile] selenak
Spoilers through Angel S5 "Why We Fight," kind of
Selena gives us Spike from some new perspectives and reminds us that he is not a fluffy bunny. IMO, everyone who writes Spike needs to read this or something like it once in a while.

And while you're reading this, you might as well read everything else Selena has written in the Buffyverse, even if the description doesn't sound like something you'd be interested in, because it's all good. Try Five Things That Never Happened to Warren, for example (and then read the DVD commentary that goes with it). Or try First Sights, Last Sights, a heartbreaking summary of Buffy/Spike from the perspective of a nonshipper. Read the Darla fics I'm reccing below. And then, when you're done with those, go wander her blog and find the fantastic essays, like this, which is the best deconstruction of "Restless" I've ever seen.

Absolution, Part I, Part II, by Minim Calibre
AU post Buffy late S6, Angel late S3
A one night stand. A baby. Fifteen years later, a Slayer. This is one of those oddball pieces that I might not have liked as well as I did except it was so far away from anything else I'd seen. But I did like it, so there. In particular, I very much like the idea of AU Willow growing up to be a Watcher. Also of interest is Anchored, which is an alternate POV of (mostly) the same events, though with an alternate ending.

Perfect World, by cousinjean
AU post S6
Halfrek, ever-helpful vengeance demon, tricks drunken Spike into making a wish - and you thought Cordy's wish-world was bad... I complain a lot about sappy Buffy/Spike stories, but this isn't one of them. Cousinjean skillfully balances plottiness and emotional depth. Her premises are creative, her writing smooth, and she integrates canon material in clever and unexpected ways. This is the best of her pieces, IMO, and also one of my favorite "Spike comes back with his soul" stories.

Nothing to Say, by WesleysGirl
Spoilers through S5 "The Gift"
Spike and Giles on the road, with no place to go. I mentioned before that I had a soft spot for post-apocalyptic stuff. This ficlet is a quiet, desolate piece.

Only Game in Town, by [ profile] doyle_sb4
Ats post-series
Another post-apoc ficlet: after the end of the world, Spike plays cards. Also desolate, and with a last line that gut punches you with the irony.

Bit Players, by [ profile] spuffyduds
Spoilers through S2 "Halloween"
Even though Harmony went to Ethan's shop looking for a "high class hooker" costume, this is really more about the extreme geekitude than it is about the (R-rated) sex. Look, a Jonathan!

Rearview, by [ profile] etothey
Crossover with Bones; Spoilers through all of Angel
Remember I was looking for Bones/Angel crossovers a while back? This is the best of them. [ profile] etothey is one of those folks that was already a writer before she tried her hand at fanfic, and I'd adore everything she's written if we didn't have such divergent tastes - she's a mostly Angel, mostly Angel kind of gal. If that's your thing, you should try the rest of her stuff. I did quite enjoy her post-NFA MarySuefic, Hell is Other People's Dishes.

I love Spike as a character, but for a stable, longterm relationship I always thought Riley was Buffy's best bet (before the writers threw him to some vamps and then stuck him on a helicopter, I mean). Yet it's darned difficult to find fic about him. Here's some.

Another Quiet War, by Marina Frants
Spoilers through S4
After "Restless," Riley goes home to Iowa to get his head straight, but you know what they say about going home again. Frants is the only fic author I've found who only writes Riley, and she does it really well. This piece is my favorite, but see also her fascinating take on the history between Riley and Maggie Walsh, Hazy Shade of Winter, as well as a bit of fluff about Riley and Buffy on an actual happy date (except for the flat tires and the mud) called Some Enchanted Evening.

Home From the Great Escape, by Cynthia Liskow
Spoilers through early S6 "Gone"; Jossed by "As You Were"
Clean, Riley comes back to Sunnydale to take care of unfinished business, which almost finishes him. Better than I've made it sound, honest. The Spike portrayal is appropriate and rather terrifying, if you're a Spike fan.

One Last Call, by ?
A ficlet. Long after, Spike and Riley are friends.

And heck, while I'm talking about Riley:
The Quality of Mercy, by Yahtzee
Spoilers through Buffy S5 "Crush," Angel S2 "Epiphany"
"Just as Angel's putting his life back together, Riley shows up, falling apart."

I loathed her in Buffy and then I saw her in Angel and... didn't hate her anymore. In fact, all three of my completed Buffyfics are about Darla. Here are some others, all of the non-shippy variety.

The Haunting, Hunted Kind, by [ profile] selenak
Spoilers through Angel S4
At odd moments Darla keeps getting visits from a ghost of the future. This is the single-best thing I've seen from Darla's POV. Poignant, even though I don't like Connor and haven't seen S4.

Her Fault, by [ profile] selenak
Spoilers through Angel S2
So the crew has just gotten back from Pylea when Cordelia gets a vision to go rescue... Darla. No way she's going to bother Angel with this, so she troops off alone, and gets into difficulties, of course. And maybe realizes some things. Have I mentioned I love unlikely allies stories? And enemies-who-have-to-talk-to-each-other-stories?

Plus a few more Darla pieces: Melymbrosia's ficlet Maternity is just a brief meditation by Darla, on the titular topic. Christina Kamnikar's Expectations is a longer piece on the same theme. Finally, [ profile] spuffyduds's I'm Not Supposed To Be Like This has Darla, in desperation, going to Spike for help.

Buffy, in Any Other Form
Marina Frants' The Geekado explains how S4 was really written. Doubtless I'd appreciate this more if I were actually familiar with Gilbert and Sullivan, but it's pretty funny anyway.

In [ profile] londonkds's The Tragedy of Buffy, Slayer of Sunnydale, the Trio has summoned a demon that has everyone talking in iambic pentameter (except for the clown, of course).

Linda R. Barlow's A Midsummer's Nightmare is even more explicit about its Shakespearean roots. It's unfinished, but the first scene is the best, anyway. If she weren't trying to fit it into early S7 chronology, I'd have said Darla would have been the perfect Titania...

I hate it when people rec works in progress and then don't say they're works in progress. Well, these are works in progress and all but one of them will probably remain so forever, and for one reason or another they're each so good that I'm recommending them to you anyway.

Base Elements, by limber
AU post-S6
Two years after Spike leaves, Dawn spots him in NH and eventually drags him back across the country to Sunnydale via road trip. There's more - this was meant to be a large-scale Buffy/Spike story - but those first twelve chapters practically stand alone and they're the best part, anyway. Then again, I'm a total sucker for Spike+Dawn+(road trip).

The Waiting Season and Waking the Dead (NC-17), by Annie Sewell-Jennings
AU post-S6
"The Waiting Season" is finished and Waking the Dead is not, and together they are the single best attempt I've seen to deal realistically with all the broken relationships at the end of season 6. The bits with Willow and with Anya are especially strong.

Seven Years in a Desert, by Caro ([ profile] spikewriter)
AU post-S6 (I'm noticing a trend here...)
I'm having trouble articulating just what it is about this author's approach that I like so much. For one thing, although Seven Years in a Desert is unabashedly Buffy/Spike, it comes the closest to anything I've seen of developing Spike into his own person, separate from Buffy. For another, Caro takes a much warmer, more humane (for lack of a better word) approach to the characters; in her fic, the Buffyverse is simply not quite so dire a place as Joss Whedon thinks it is, even though it retains all the Sturm und Drang he put there. Her perspective reminds me, oh so vaguely, of the feeling I get from reading Bujold.

The story switches between 2003, when souled Spike is tentatively renewing his relationship with Buffy, and 2009, when Buffy is about to get married to some other guy and Spike is in London working for the Watchers' Council. Unfortunately, the finished chapters haven't quite reached the big blowups that are obviously coming in both timelines; fortunately, this is the one WIP that I think might actually get finished. Caro has posted an additional five chapters to her LJ, the most recent less than a year ago, so there is hope! And while you're visiting her LJ you should check out all her other bits and pieces - there's a lot of humor in the ficlets that didn't make it into the novel.

snickfic: (Default)
The Lilac City, by [ profile] nwhepcat
Spoilers for all of BtvS
Well written, plotty, novel-length fic about Xander's slow healing process five years post-"Chosen." The narrative voice is sure-handed with no fluff, and the character interactions and voices are spot-on. Plus, Faith! I love the regional detail - it's set near my childhood stomping grounds, and it fills me with all kind of squee to think of Xander Harris wandering through them.

Shadow Though It Be, by [ profile] penwiper26
Spoilers for all of BtvS
30-chapter fic in which a young itinerant ex-academic from our universe stumbles into season 5 of Buffy. The author calls her a Mary Sue character, but if more Mary Sues were so articulate, so witty, and so humanly flawed there'd be far fewer objections to them. Everyone else is wonderfully written, too - I think this author has ruined me for flat Giles depictions. Plus, fun meta and lots of literary humor!

She's written plenty more in the same universe here as well as some neat standalone pieces such as "Shoe Money Tonight", in which the core four play some poker post-"Chosen."

"All Wrong", by Herself
AU post-"Smashed"; NC-17
I said I didn't read smut, but if I were to admit to reading it, this is what I'd point to (although I'd also, if pressed, admit to skipping the smutty parts). "All Wrong" is the first piece in an ongoing story over several hundred thousand words and thirty years. Beautifully written, this is for you if you have any hope at all for Buffy/soulless-Spike.

"The Valorous Vampire: An Examination of Souled Vampires, Fatal Attraction to the Slayer, and Roles in the Fight of Good vs. Evil, By Lydia M. Sothesby," by Gwyneth Rhys
Spoilers through early S7
The Watcher who wrote her dissertation on William the Bloody has written another paper. This is half a fannish summation of the whole vampires-and-souls issue, half the squeeing of an academic with perhaps a more than professional interest in her subject.

"'Ships that Pass into Type", by HonorH
No spoilers
The Buffy crew reads fanfic. Yay, meta!

"In The Same Boat, by Mad Poetess
No spoilers; Firefly crossover.
After Spike's rescued by Serenity as salvage, of course it's River who's not afraid of him. Great voices all around, and sort of sweet.

"THE LIFE CYCLE OF THE CRACKING MOSH TOAD (fragor beelzebufo), by A.C.E. Jenkins" (yes, really) by [ profile] lordshiva
Crossover with Dr. Who (10th Doctor), spoilers through the end of the second season; spoilers for Buffy through late season 6.
As described by the author: "Anya has a business plan. The Doctor executes a hostile takeover." Perfect, yes, perfect voices. Bittersweet yet funny, as it should be.

"Splinter", by Yahtzee and Rheanna
Angel fic with spoilers through the end of season 2.
On their way back from Pylea, Team Angel hits a snag. A more pitiable and nuanced exploration of the "Angel goes bad" idea than was ever explored in the show.


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