skywaterblue: (Lyra Belacqua)
Highlander:
The Dying Gaul
Methos, so sharp and pricky and vivid in this single Highlander story. I love the free way it mixes art, and history, and Immortality.

His Dark Materials:
All of the His Dark Materials stories were really good this year.

Acadaemia
This fandom is a challenging one, with its free mix of theology, fantasy, and steampunk Victoriana. The author on this piece does a convincing job with the world of Lyra's Oxford, in the tale of the first meeting of Marisa Coulter and Lord Asriel. The characters are themselves, younger and growing into their deviousness. And the twists are quite interesting.

Three Heresies
Three meetings between Serafina and Xaphania - lovely and poetic, this one.

A Brief History of the Witches and their Culture
The lives of Serafina and Ruti Skadi, Queens of the Witches. A very dense look at their lives, intersecting and different. Another one that gets the culture of their world correct.

The Incredibles:
Of Capes and Kindred Spirits
Edna Mode designs Buddy's new suit, and has regrets.

James Bond Reboot:
The Care and Feeding of Your M
From the perspective of Miss Moneypenny: A female M changes everything, or does it?

Jurassic Park:
A Year of Women
Stop everything. You must read this one, even if you only casually like the fandom. This is about twelve women in Alan Grant's life, but the author has really just blown up the book fandom, the movies and put them back together in an elegy about life, and the role of women (and gender) in science.

Lilo and Stitch:
Mountains, Molehills
The entire ohana is concerned about when David and Nani will get married. Short, but so in tone with the film.

The Little Mermaid:
So many good fics for this fandom this year!

Mysterious Fathoms Below
Little vignettes of Ariel's life interspersed with a Victoriana lecture about the merpeople. I love the not-so-cryptic Disney crossover, and the way this uses material from the recent sequel.

Triton's Cove
The temptation with the Disney fics is always to make them darker and more sinister - because the Disney Princess films are full of flawed messages (and none so much as The Little Mermaid). I like this one for its effort to stay away from that, to take canon for what it is and find the happy medium between the characters and the story.

The Skin Beneath the Skin
Of course, the original story was a bitter and melancholic affair much driven by Anderson's closeted homosexuality. Ariel's ever-after. I like the stories hinted in a couple of lines - I wish this one was longer, actually.

Lion in Winter
Mnemosyne
Should have a warning for rape. A really interesting take on how the memory lies.

Olympia:
Galatea
Oh Gosh, how I thought about signing up for Yuletide just to write the story for this person. My favorite painting of all time, Manet's Olympia. The author took an interesting tack on this one, narrating the story from the perspective of the painting and not any of the interesting historical people surrounding its creation.

Neverwhere:
The Never-Green Tree
I know one of these days Gaiman might get around to writing the sequel to this, and Joss all these Yuletides to bit. None the less, I love them every year. On the quest to find Door's missing sister, Ingress, Richard Mayhew decides to go on a quest of his own: to discover what happens to Anesthesia, the rat-girl. The author of this one takes clear delight in remixing London Above's history with the world of London Below.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
Let It Be
The author of this one is patently obvious, and as if she knew it, hasn't bothered to wipe all her smudgy fingerprints off of it. Missing scenes from the death of Jadzia and the arrival of Ezri Dax - I love the way she's brought in Worf's backstory from TNG to DS9, and made the eventual relationship between Ezri and Julian make a lot more sense. They do have much in common after all.

Runaways:
buckle up, we're wayward bound.
Gert and Chase, so alive. This fic made me feel the rush of shipper love, which is something I didn't really know I could feel about comics.

Lady Lazarus
Title rather gives it away, but it perfectly captures the spirit of the comic - and manages to include the new team members around the edges. Plus: they fight evil hipsters in a Starbucks. That's perfection.

Mad Men:
Some truly brilliant fics for this fandom this year. It feels like Yuletide (and fandom) may have finally figured out what they want to say about this show.

Two Omissions, One Acknowledgment
A year in the (sex) life of Peggy Olson. It just gets her right.

The Hot 100 Number 1 Singles of 1965 & 1966
Another long, STOP you must read this fic, the kind that Yuletide is famous for, and that I was almost afraid wouldn't appear. This fic does the seemingly impossible task of making a Peggy and Joan friendship believable - there's an appearance of a ridiculous fic trope towards the end and I could not BELIEVE that I not only bought it, but loved it. Everyone's voice is perfect. I love the scenes with Joan and Lane, and the Joan/Roger scene is worth the price of admission. I hope season five is as satisfying as this fic, but I know it'll be more frustrating: this fic is the perfect expression of Mad Men wish fulfillment.
skywaterblue: (neil gaiman would unhappen so much)
So that I can close tabs and also mark which ones to leave feedback on, as the comment tab hasn't been working at all for me.

Pern

This year brought a bumper crop of Pern fics, interestingly a lot of femmeslash between Mirrim and Menolly. And Stinging As a Well-Aimed Dart is one of those, from Mirrim's perspective. There's a lovely bit on Pernese girls playing Mirrim-fights-Thread games and of course, a firelizard flight to provide the Pern universe's version of Pon Farr. The author does a lovely job balancing the fanon tendency to make the dragons sassier, while still making Path sound as Pernese dragons should do.

I also really enjoyed The Ballad of Mirrim and Menolly's Ride, which is not femmeslash but rather an adventure fic in which the two girls fight an unexpected Threadfall, and Path keeps accidentally betweening them to worse and worse alternate universes in an attempt to warn Pern. The idea that you can between to an alternate universe is one I haven't seen done before and the author chose some really interesting ones to explore.

Perspective is a short fic which peers into Pern's very far future. I enjoyed this one because the author obviously has the same problem with the dragons as I do.

Fifty Years After the Fair is a story of Benden Weyr in the First Pass - a time period with interesting characters established by Anne McCaffery but sort of forgotten and/or ruined by her son's continual attempts to inherit the franchise. This one I feel is a very Pern story, compressed for Yuletide: it's generational, following the children and granchildren of one of the background goldriders. And it also features some unusual plot twists - family resentments over who Impresses and what color, abrupt deaths due to Thread and other maladies, basically things which should occur more often in the series but do not.

His Dark Materials

like gold to ayery thinnesse beate I enjoyed very much and I was surprised by that - I very rarely enjoy Will/Lyra reunion fics because most of them are silly tosh. But this one is quite clever in that it features adult Will and Lyra, both of whom have had interesting careers. And I quite like the indomitable spunk in which an adult Lyra, having suddenly arrived on our Earth, set about to finding Will again. The author revels in the little details which make up the massive change between going from a mid-Edwardian universe, to ours with google and airports and national ID cards. There are two sequels for your instant gratification as well.

By far my favorite though, and possibly going to be my favorite of the year, was Dinosaurs in the Architecture. The main character is a young woman with a paleontologist father, whose daemon has inadvertently settled as a dinosaur. In a world where the Church has forced Darwin into exile, this spells problems for our heroine. I adore this, as I adore all long looks at Lyra's world and the concept of having your soul on the outside. If I didn't know better I would think I knew the author for this. Dinosaurs! Angels! Quasi-Victorian Steampunk Adventure!

Young Wizards

But Rather Darkness Visible, the one that Aria got, is a crossover between Doctor Who and Young Wizards... which is actually canon for that universe! (No, really. These two characters have in canon met.) In this one, Dairine is tasked with having a friendly chat with Ten post-Waters on Mars. It's quite lovely and smooshes the two canons together effortlessly. What I wouldn't give to see the Tenth Doctor greet a wizard-on-errantry with "Dai stiho" onna telly.

I also liked and the city stood in its brightness for the lovely vignettes, and the errand Dairine is sent to run is the Wizardry series at its best: cutting edge science fiction.

Finally, I really really enjoyed A Matter of Choice in which Dairine notices something off with her Twilight-obsessed schoolmate and enlists Ronan's help in a brief battle for her soul. But not in the way that you would think! Twilight is surprisingly not bashed in this story as silly, but rather something bittersweet. It broke my heart, a little.
skywaterblue: (lyra and will -- bench)
Philip Pullman, a 12 minute lecture on modernism and narrative as seen through A Bar at the Folies-Bergère.

Really fascinating. I'm glad to say that I can now put Pullman in a special category of 'interesting famous people'. If I ever met him at a cocktail party, we would have to discuss Manet. Just like I'd have to spend my time talking about The West Wing with Tennant or Tate.

Obama busting out the news about Justice Souter's retirement. Hee. The President, he rolls with the punches and makes it funny.

Slate has an interactive guide to the bandied-about names, and I quite like this Wikipedia page on the subject too.

I think the Constitution can be interpreted in so many ways. And one way is a cramped and narrow way in which the Constitution and the courts essentially become the rubber stamps of the powerful in society. And then there’s another vision of the court [sic] that says that the courts are the refuge of the powerless. Because oftentimes they can lose in the democratic back and forth. They may be locked out and prevented from fully participating in the democratic process. That’s one of the reasons I opposed Alito, you know, as well as Justice Roberts. When Roberts came up and everybody was saying, “You know, he’s very smart and he’s seems a very decent man and he loves his wife. [Laughter] You know, he’s good to his dog. [laughter] He’s so well qualified.”

I said, well look, that’s absolutely true and in most Supreme Court decis--, in the overwhelming number of Supreme Court decisions, that’s enough. Good intellect, you read the statute, you look at the case law and most of the time, the law’s pretty clear. Ninety-five percent of the time. Justice Ginsberg, Justice Thomas, Justice Scalia they’re all gonna agree on the outcome.

But it’s those five percent of the cases that really count. And in those five percent of the cases, what you’ve got to look at is—what is in the justice’s heart. What’s their broader vision of what America should be. Justice Roberts said he saw himself just as an umpire but the issues that come before the Court are not sport, they’re life and death. And we need somebody who’s got the heart—the empathy—to recognize what it’s like to be a young teenage mom. The empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old—and that’s the criteria by which I’ll be selecting my judges. Alright?


--Barack Obama to Planned Parenthood, 2007.
skywaterblue: (Lyra Belacqua)
Long after you've read your favorite book and watched your favorite series, you can mug your friends into watching it with you to experience it all fresh again from their perspective.

Which is to say: I got [livejournal.com profile] fashionbeast to read the Golden Compass, and I was so very very good about not spoiling it for him, for months. And I just got his email with like a zillion exclamation points because he reached the end.
skywaterblue: (Lyra Belacqua)
I'm reading two short story collections called 'Tales Before Narnia' and 'Tales Before Tolkien', mainly because the Hugo Shorts project is stalled until I have more time to track all the collected books down.

Anyway, halfway through it, I realized I had never ACTUALLY read Anderson's 'The Snow Queen' before. It's in the Narnia book; the interesting thing was that while I see why you would put it in a book dedicated to influences of CS Lewis, I came away reminded WAY more of Philip Pullman.

Here's the text in the book, plus Dulac illustrations!

Also: my sister failed her driving test today. Mine is on November 20th. Tonight I drove all the way to the post office, then got some ice cream and came home. I have yet to drive solo, though.
skywaterblue: (Lyra Belacqua)
The Wild Abyss

Rating: PG

Summary: The grace-endowed Cassington Scholar has an encounter with another mysterious stranger traveling between worlds.

Author's Note: I finally wrote this because it's been bugging me forever. Hat tip to Rosie, I steal from the best.

The Wild Abyss )
skywaterblue: (Lyra Belacqua)
This was not the crossover I was supposed to be working on, by the way. I'm thinking about doing one for each of the West Wing characters.

Sophia
The West Wing
Jed Bartlet/Sophia

Sophia )

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