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Supernatural Swordspoint

 
 
 This piece of fiction makes up for every other piece unwritten. Loch Ness's Scent of Blood, After the Gods Have Gone and Sense Without Soul are lengthy, involving, intelligent novels which manage to tie up all the missing ends that the series neglected. Violent, moody, experimental, satisfying, this is a masterwork. The first time I read it I was still at the PC, in tears, at four o'clock in the morning.
 

Jane Mailander's Waning Grey captures the lighter atmosphere of the films with consumate skill (I'll read anything she writes, in any fandom.) and creates something which is both real, beautiful, and very, very slightly camp in the way film Batman should be. Jane St Clair takes a different view with the Authority fictions Knight After Night and Pulling Your Bat Out Of The Fire, which capture Batman's otherness and distance with style.

Angst and misery in comic-based fiction do it for me. M J Lee's paired A Song of Innocence and An Old Passion cut right down to the bone. And I loved Lachesis' short, Power Suit.

Gen? I recommend you head over to AJ's The Family Archives right now, by far the biggest and most beautiful het Batclan archive on the web.

E. Kelly produced the most stylish piece of writing noir with Fall to Grace, an epic in itself. Jody Revenson's Oracle and Nightwing (archived on TFA) is a great piece of adult erotica. And what can you say about Smitty, Syl Francis and Chicago? Go on, read just one of the Potatoverse stories, or the Friends series...better yet, read September, a multi-textured, multimedia epic. SKH's Best Girl, First Girl, Only Girl, is a beautiful piece of storytelling, and Syl's JLA/Titans: Invasion! is a novel that should be optioned by DC right now. Finally, Benway's In The Blood (UPDATE - seems to be off the web. Beg, borrow or steal a copy, if you can) is disturbing, evocative and intelligent, one of the stories that remind me why I read batgen. One of these days Benway will have a site for his own fiction - and it will be glorious.

  
 
 RPS warning. I loved the style and pace of Monimala's The Method to his Madness - John and Abhishek, shooting the Dostana kiss.
 
 

Archives:
Walking The Plank
Instained Fingers
Skyehawke


There's a tradition of absolutely gorgeous novels available on the web, but these are stories that, for various reasons, I'll re-read. I need to acknowlege Mairead Triste's A Choriambic Progression (HP/SS) which pulled me, kicking and screaming, into the fandom, but further investigation provided Shiradine's beautifully paced and written Artemisia Absinthium, a joy to read for its phraseology alone.
Diannan's White Chocolate tears my heart out, every time, and the sequel Dark Chocolate puts it back together (and reminds me, in no bad way, of Jan Siegel's Witch trilogy). Dolores Crane's Closing Time - whoa - hits hard, one of those stories you'd give your eye-teeth to have have written, and her Crucius is a intelligent, beautiful piece of prose. Also Therese Ann Wymer's Clipped Wings, with its original, stark premise.

For quality of writing, I was absolutely bowled over by Alexandra Dane's Peripheral Vision. I have read little to compare with this in any fandom. It's astonishing. Read.

For pure comfort fiction - romance and humour - I'll read Diane Williams, Dementordelta and Aucta Sinistra.

Ac1d6urn's Price of Magic. Unmatched.

Half Blood Prince proved a watershed in Snape/Harry fiction. Of more recent stories, I've really admired Cluegirl's Blood and Fire, Caligraphy's The Fourth Year and pir8fancier's Snape, the Home Fries Nazi. In addition, something about the way Rinsbane writes really strikes a chord for me - I love her The Fire Escape with an immoderate passion.

 
 
 I can't imagine (oh, famous last words!) slashing Georgette Heyer. Leonie and Avon belong together so completely, and who could split up Miles O'Hara and the enchanting Mollie for Jack Carstairs, even if Diana does hang around waiting to be rescued? But Jat Sapphire, Sebastian and Dr Ruthless have produced amazing pieces of fiction. Jat's Wages of Vice slashes, with complete authenticity and great skill, Avon and Hugh Davenant: if you read Heyer at all, this is essential reading. Sebastian and Dr Ruthless cross Heyer and Highlander with Cory Raines, Avon and Dominic in Winner Takes All: I personally don't like the idea of Dominic cheating on Mary, but that's my own preference, and this too is a great piece of writing.
 
 
 

Archives:
The Seventh Dimension
hl_flash, for news

There is so much good fiction in Highlander that trying to sort it in any terms is impossible. I can only say, these are my favourite stories and writers, in a fandom where so much is good.

I'll read anything by Aristide and Mairead Triste, angst-ridden, occasionally violent fiction with an edge of black humour. MacGeorge is prolific and spectacular, writing fiction which should be canon. Killa's style (and the two most outstanding WIP's in Highlander): Amand-r's mixture of horror and adventure, esjay's evocative, lengthy plot-driven epics: Becca Abbot, whose Forsaken is one my favourite feel-good fictions. All of these are splendid writers. Oh, I could go on for ever here: zen&nancy, Cinel Dunant, Devo, Taselby, Chris Powers, (Phoenix Fire and Fool's Gold, plot with style: what a writer this woman is) Taz, Carenejeans.. All I can say is that these are the stories that I really love.

Lanning Cook's Sacred Trust. This is such an amazing piece of writing. It's one of those stories that must have been planned and patterned, a fomat of opposites and oppositions circling and resolving in elegant and exact prose. I love the way Lanning Cook sets image against image, ideal against reality, character against character: creates a completely believeable villain and allows him to point up both evil and redemption. (not to mention setting up Joe's disability and his acceptence of it against..well, you'll just have to read it.) There are so many good moments: Amanda throwing tins at the barge, Joanna and Richie tormenting the watchers with anonymous telephone calls, Duncan..not..throbbing...Set aside a day and read it slowly, with chocolate.

Loch Ness. And Then Some. Again, a lengthy plot driven fiction, alternating flashbacks to Europe in the 1940's and present day. It's a miracle of writing, lovingly detailed and entirely believeable. This is what the published Highlander novels should have been like: the existence of a piece of writing this good can justify fan fiction all by itself.

And another plot driven fiction, on an alternative note. Dargelos' White Rabbit (seems to be off the web again, blast) takes distinctly different slant on Methos' history. Dargelos writes so well, edgy, real fiction: this is a woman who's been there and knows what it smells like. I'll read everything she writes, from the humour of her Merry/Pippin short to the extended angst of the Oz series Damaged Goods. White Rabbit takes the image of Methos' 1960's band The Old Dead Guys and runs with it, with such style. I'm not going to mention plot. Just read it.

How can I not mention Kat Allison again? Frankly, everything she's ever written on Highlander. Once. I find her gut-wrenchingly honest, come away thinking, yes, this is how it was, how can it not be like this? and then I can't bear to re-read...

C.Decarnin for the uncomfortable, sexually explicit And Hades Followed Him and The Deep. Consensual SM warning, almost startlingly pornographic: but then she produces Seeds, which is a gem of a story with virtually no sex at all...

Taselby writes hard hitting, edgy fiction: her Sedimental Journey is my personal favourite Duncan/Methos love story. The Book of Lost Days is possibly her best known piece of Highlander fiction, but I've never managed to read it more than once, it's that kind of good.

Sylvia Volk, who writes Methos and Duncan with humour, authority, and a singular, intelligent and informed vision. Every story she writes is a masterpiece (although I still can't work out the blasted Watcher CD. I'm hoping it's a work in progress, but the odds are I'm just not clever enough). I could be completely wrong here, but I see, not my own blatent borrowing, but just the echoes of Francis Crawford laughing behind Methos' back. If you read Dunnett, you'll love Sylvia Volk: she has the same involved, emotionally intense, concentrate or you'll miss it style.

And finally. Unovis.
When I grow up, I'm going to write like Unovis. (Link, An Archive of Our Own.)

 
 Telanu's No Windows still haunts me. Frodo/Gandalf. It's not pretty.
  
 
 derryere's Accidental Memory in the Case of Death. Which is perhaps not really Arthur/Merlin, any more than it's really Camelot, and there are sertainly no forsooths. In canon setting, I also very much admired snarkydame's They Howl in Dreams of Winter.
 
 
 Angelfish Archivist's Chances. It's just gorgeous.
 

 

 

toft_froggy's String Theory. A McKay/Sheppard AU, where John is the son of a famous violinist and McKay a conductor. What really made this story was the discussion and writing of a passion for music: for the musically illiterate here, it was an amazing depiction of the emotion and structure of classical music. An astonishing piece of writing, fantastic.

synecdochic's freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose. This is...well. 23 pages of comments, and deserved. Set well after the series ends. Again, a story with ideas - in this case, physics, and teaching. These is a gut wrenching piece of writing that hits the mind as well as the heart, hard.

  
 
 

Archive:
The Kirk/Spock Fanfiction Archive

Reboot
Wall, Ningengirai. Kirk/Spock. There's one sentence in here I liked so much I have it on a mug and a T-shirt.

TOS
Killa's Turning Point and Full Circle. Kirk/Spock, so very wonderfully written.

 
 
 

Leonidaslion. I love The Fetters of Fenrir, The Light of Munin and the Pthonus Series with a passion that I ... did not expect to find for a TV series I've never seen. Plot - occasionally harsh plot - with imagination, always original, this is a writer with a vivid imagination and a sense of pace that does not fail even under epic circumstances. Sam/Dean - incest warning.

And then a short (in a fandom filled with long, plot-driven stories) - Onelittlesleep's The Look On Your Face Yanks My Neck On the Chain. Sam/Dean again. For the beauty of it, Paxlux's Watch the Weather Change, a piece of writing that is both leisurely and plot-drive, the first piece of fiction I've read for a while where I read and loved the placing of every word. Sam/Dean. Under every name she's written under I can find, I very much like tru_faith_lost's work. Her Something Golden (also available as a zine) is a touchstone work.

And I have been reading RPS, Jared/Jensen.. For this, a fandom I don't know well; two people I don't know at all; the pleasure of story lies in the setting. (Things I Learned from Fandom 101.) And for this reason I very much enjoyed lazy_daze's Topspin, set on the professional tennis player tour, and also corbyinoz's Ashes of the Moon, set in Africa. For the language, I loved chocolate_muse's unfinshed beat referenced The End of the Night.

  
 
 

Swordspoint is the one fandom I've rec'd for crack_van. The fandom overview is here: the recs below.

Cheating Death by Harukami
To begin at the beginning, a moment Ellen Kushner has not written.
The Swordspoint reader comes to Alec and Richard at the start of the series, as established lovers. In Cheating Death, set before the series opens, Harukami describes this first meeting in words that capture Kushner’s sense of violence and beauty intertwined, and at the same time position the story within a landscape accessible to readers both familiar and unfamiliar with the city of Riverside.

If Man Were the Sky and Could See the Earth Clearly by Corbeaun
If Man Were the Sky and Could See the Earth Clearly (written for wordsofastory in Yuletide 2007) precedes the original Swordspoint novel, but takes as a starting point one of the (many, intriguing) moments left unwritten by author Ellen Kushner. It is clear from Kushner’s novel that Alec has been thrown out of the university for his dangerous ideas, a decision not unconnected with the entangled family politics of Riverside which inform all the novels, and Corbeaun’s embroidery on the prompt is an utterly satisfying addition to canon.

Settlement of Debt by Cija
Ellen Kushner’s writing of Swordspoint encompasses a continuous but open plot line, along which the novels and short stories of canon form fully realised episodes. Within that time frame, there is space for any number of adventures and stories, a challenge that has been taken up by some excellent authors. This example, cija ’s Settlement of Debt (written for das_kabinett in Yuletide 2007 and set pre-Swordspoint) draws on the supernatural elements of the series, showcasing Alec’s brittle, insane wit and Richard’s courage, whilst alluding to one of the more unpalatable elements of Richard’s past.
It’s a haunting piece, and not just for the ghost.

The Seven Deadly Virtues by Angharad
One of the many pleasures of reading the Swordspoint series are Ellen Kushner’s polished and distinct minor characters. Their voices, and the episodic nature of Kushner’s canon, are captured to perfection in Angharad’s lovely series of vignettes, encompassing humility, fortitude, charity, chastity, temperance, zeal and generosity. Not virtues which immediately spring to mind when considering the inhabitants of Kushner’s baroque creation.

Retreat by MC
Given the interval between Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword, during which it is clear that the lovers Alec and Richard have separated, it’s no surprise that writers have sought to fill in the blanks. MC’s Retreat provides an elegant and unsentimental coda to Swordspoint that alludes without overt spoilers to the events of Privilege.

Unveiled by Elysian Stars
Written for Brigdh (wordsofastory ) in Yuletide 2006, Elysian Stars’ Unveiled takes Richard’s blindness as a starting point. For the swordsman of the first novel, disability should have spelled disaster, but in Privilege of the Sword Ellen Kushner narrates both anger and acceptance. Unveiled takes both into account, in writing which concentrates on texture and feeling – not just the sensations that Richard uses to compensate and balance his loss of sight, but the corresponding imbalance in his relationship with his lover.
‘Then the truth sunk its teeth in, and since Richard wasn't one to panic and go running to doctors, he simply began to memorise what he could: the evening sky, bruised rose and gold like a late summer apple over the sprawling rooftops, pigeons with dusty feathers perched on crumbling chimney-stacks, the broken-wine-bottle colour of the river; the soft fall of Alec's hair and brilliant curve of his mouth (marble and velvet be damned).’

Compass and Knife by Brigdh
Brigdh’s Compass and Knife was written as a stocking filler in Yuletide 2007, and fits neatly after the end of Privilege of the Sword. It’s a piece which draws heavily, Bridgh says in her introduction, on her memories of Cyprus, and the smell and taste of the island are detailed with sun drenched clarity, but I like the avoidance of sentimentality in this relationship which could never be other than difficult. Kushner does not entertain conventional happy endings.
'"Does it always take blood for you?" Richard asks.'

Correspondence by Ankharet
Written for the_antichris in Yuletide 2007, Ankharet’s Correspondence is set after The Privilege of the Sword, and is one of the very few stories in the fandom to discuss Katherine of Privilege at some length. It is a fully realised future history – a Riverside with juddering motor cars and fur coats, poised on the edges of modernity - in which Rose and Lizard’s teenage Charis and Samantha Campion read their way through the Duchess Katherine’s epistolary adventures, a history echoed and counter-pointed by their own. Correspondence is a joy to read, not just for the addition to canon, but for the author’s ability to conjure relationships and places both recognisable and seen anew.