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Reveals have gone up at [community profile] hoggywartyxmas! This has been the mostly enjoyable fest, with lots of comments and holiday cheer and unexpected characters and pairings. Every single story has been a delight. The overall quality was so strong that I'm not even going to say that I have favorites, but here are few memorable fics. I've been in a quiet and pensive mood lately, and these are five quiet, lovely, insightful stories that I've enjoyed over the past two weeks. Click here for the master list of 26 stories (and one art post), including quite a few zany or funny or romantic fics just as wonderful as these.

(Finding) Life After Voldemort, by [ profile] r_grayjoy
Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, Pomona Sprout, Alastor Moody, Remus Lupin, Lily Potter, Eileen Snape; rated PG-13; 3500 words
A series of not-so-unrelated moments in the lives of several not-so-unconnected individuals.
A fic about reconciliation, friendship, and romance. Gentle and perceptive.

Spinsters on a Sunday Morning by [ profile] tetleythesecond
Irma Pince/Minerva McGonagall, with a journalist reluctantly sticking her nose in; rated light R; 7250 words
The headmistress is retiring, and Rita Skeeter is sent to interview her. Oh, how she looks forward to that.
A beautiful, beautiful story about our public and private selves and the various ways in which (queer) people negotiate the public and private natures of relationships.

Love Accidentally by [ profile] atdelphi
Neville Longbottom, Kingsley Shacklebolt/Gilderoy Lockhart, Dudley Dursley/Millicent Bulstrode, Aberforth Dumbledore, Horace Slughorn/Argus Filch, Augusta Longbottom/Pomona Sprout; rated general; 2800 words
On a quest to find the perfect gift for his grandmother, Neville inadvertently spreads some Christmas cheer and romance.
A celebration of the spark between unlikely couples. Lovely.

A Magic Beyond Everything We Do Here by [ profile] minervas_eule
Charity Burbage and various Hogwarts professors; rated G; 1200 words
It is Charity's first Christmas Dinner as a young Professor with her colleagues and to her surprise her expertise is sought after.
A very brief, charming, heartfelt fic about the parallels between magic and music.

A Double-Edged Sword by [ profile] an_fhanai
Minerva McGonagall, Ariana and Aberforth Dumbledore, mentions of Luna Lovegood; rated light R; 3200 words
Albus has long avoided certain memories, but eventually all things must be faced.
A fic about the changing perspective that distance offer us. Catches Dumbledore's ruminating, sentimental mood perfectly.

And a few from Yuletide (Fandoms: My Beautiful Laundrette/Bend It Like Beckham, the Betsy-Tacy books, Community/tv series) )
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A quick and belated rec for my gift over at [ profile] hoggwartyxmas before tomorrow's reveals. I was delighted to receive a beautifully written, thoughtful, and slyly humorous after-the-final-battle fic, (Finding) Life After Voldemort, (Severus Snape, Minerva McGonagall, Pomona Sprout, Alastor Moody, Remus Lupin, Lily Potter, Eileen Snape, various background pairings, PG-13, 3500 words) Five pairs of characters--some likely, some unlikely--chart out what their lives will be like in a post-war world.

This is precisely the kind of fic I love most, one with realistically sketched, adult characters who are struggling to connect with one another and find their way in the face of adversity or change. Some of the conversations are missing-chapter conversations we know *must* have happened (Minerva confronting Snape after the last battle and finally talking about his loyalties) and some are the kind of unexpected meta-commentary that's only possible in fanfic (Eileen shoving Remus out of the afterlife to help take care of her son and reconciling--in her brusque, roundabout way--with Severus' old friend Lily). Read and enjoy! I can't wait to find out who wrote this gentle and intelligent story.
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One of the attractions of the mystery for me has always been the way it addresses the contrast between the wild and violent and unknowable (the villain, the metropolis, the human heart) and the logic and order of deduction. The best mysteries aim for the difficult compromise--too much left unknown, and the solution is unsatisfying; too much mastery or logic or too contrived a solution, and it degenerates into formula, deprived of its emotional impact.

[Lengthy and dull critique of where Sherlock went wrong on this front has been redacted, for your reading pleasure. Also because I don't want to lose all my internet friends due to my sheer inability to say something positive about a cultural text. Moving on!]

But but but! I love it when smart fanworks comment on themes and problems like this one. Want to remember what was frightening and unknowable about the BBC series? Go. Watch this vid: Anomie (link to vidder's DW post, work-safe, gen, 3:12 min.). Summary: A faceless city where everyone is a stranger. Clever in concept, beautifully edited, and thoughtful in its reconstruction of some of the series' themes. Also, Durkheim! How can you not click? (Er, even if you don't know or care about Durkheim, click! It's that good.)

ETA: Thanks to [personal profile] sasha_davidovna for pointing this one out!

ETA2: Okay, I'm breaking my promise not to say anything negative here, but I can't help myself. SERIOUSLY, OBAMA? (youtube video, work-safe, 3:08 min.) Is this a joke? A vague, non-committal "It gets better?" message for us? Don't blame yourselves? Who do you think has the power to begin addressing systemic issues of inequality in this country? Gah!
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* [profile] rs_small_gifts returns for a fifth year! *drumroll* Whether you're actively involved in R/S right now or you're ready to rediscover an old (first?) love, this is the friendly, low-key, low-pressure short-fic and drawble exchange for you.

Sign ups: Saturday, October 16
Claiming begins: Saturday, October 30
Gifts due: Tuesday, November 30
Posting begins: Wednesday, December 1

* Over at [profile] lgbtq_recs, we're on hiatus for October and reading A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend, a YA novel by Emily Horner recced by [personal profile] liseuse this summer. Track down the book and join us for discussion, starting November 1.

* [community profile] minerva_fest begins tomorrow, on the venerable headmistress' 85th birthday. Celebratory biscuit? No? Take one anyway, and enjoy the fest.

* I have an invitation for the Archive of Our Own, if anyone would like to start archiving their fic there. Leave a comment if you'd like it.

* Finally, a quick rec: a beautiful, subtle story about Dudley Dursley coming of age, Hand in Glove by [personal profile] miss_morland (Dudley/Goyle, 6000 words, NC-17). Summary: Thinking back later, Dudley supposed it had taken a long time for him to realise just why he enjoyed boxing so much. No one does understated realism quite like [personal profile] miss_morland; this is a beautiful, quiet fic that takes Dudley seriously, fleshing out a character whose development is just hinted at in canon. The boxing theme is perfect, a wonderful, worldly, physical way to illuminate a character whose actions are clearer to him than his own motivations.
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There's an interesting discussion going on right now at [personal profile] happydork's journal, Why am I not writing the stories I say I want to read? I know, I know, we've discussed this a hundred times already: why does fandom decry the lack of women and characters of color in our fic* and then turn around and focus on the attractive young white men? But this is a thoughtful post, with some very interesting comments, particularly on the ways in which fandom reinforces the perception of white men as our common denominator. (Note to self: my own thoughts are here.) Thanks, Sophie, for pointing me in the direction of this discussion!

* I was about to type "fic and art and vids," but then it occurs to me--thinking purely anecdotally--that art might be less skewed toward the white dudes than fic or vids. Or not? Something to think about.
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So many birthdays in September! A happy day to the fabulous [ profile] melusinahp, to my favorite extrovert [ profile] midnitemaraud_r, and to the thoughtful and perceptive [personal profile] sophinisba, all on the 19th; to [ profile] sam_storyteller, whose daily posts I throughly enjoy, and to my long-time flister [ profile] archon_mentha, whom I haven't seen in far too long (hello if you're out there!) on the 20th; and to the lovely [ profile] rian219 on the 21st. And belated birthday wishes to [ profile] chiralove, who is probably just as mystified that it's mid-September as I am. Hope the day was a good one, despite the busy time of year, sweetie!

A few things that might be of interest to those of you in the various Sherlock Holmes fandoms:

* There was a great discussion of the myth of genius and intellectual bullying started by [ profile] beatrice_otter on [ profile] sherlockbbc a few weeks ago, in which some strong and insightful opinions on the political implications of Sherlock's more obnoxious behavior, both as "geeky empowerment fantasy" and as "supercilious and bullying" or "mysogynistic," are expressed. It always astonishes me how slightly different points of entry into a fandom--just something as simple as an attachment to one character, or defensiveness on the part of another--can result in such very different interpretations of the whole show. It's worth reading through the comments here.

* A short and sweet ficlet that reads like meta on the change in attitudes towards queerness in the last hundred years or so and on the impact Sherlock will have ship fic: Nothing Gold by [ profile] lilapaddy (Holmes/Watson, John/Sherlock, Teen, perhaps 1500 words). Summary: It’s not the first time two bachelors have shared rooms on Baker Street.

As problematic as I found Sherlock, it did free us reader and writers from the stultifying sexual repression of the late nineteenth century. Which can only be a good thing.

* And a thoroughly charming anti-romance romance: Let You Kiss Me by [ profile] out_there (John/Sherlock, G, 8700 words). My summary: The first time Sherlock kisses John, John checks his wallet is still in his pocket.

I tend to be a pretty conceptual reader--that is, I value a story's ability to say something new about the world far more than its language or plot or characterization--but this fic gives you the best of both worlds: a clever riff on the basic concept "Sherlock Holmes doesn't do romance like the rest of us" as well as some fabulous lines and a sly, funny, well-constructed story.

ETA: I forgot something important! [ profile] therealsnape is hosting a Hogwarts Christmas Party, [profile] hogwartyxmas! It's a low-key holiday fic exchange for Hogwarts staff members (and selected older-generation friends)--much fun for those of us interested in the adult generation(s). To sign up, go to the LJ post or the DW post. Go nab a spot now, because the thirty slots for writers are going quickly. Or you can always just join, so that you're ready to read along during the twelve days of Christmas.

Haha! I have figured out how to make that AO3 username symbol. *is proud of self* ETA: Whoops! Don't have the community symbols down yet, though. Does anyone know how to make LJ community links?


Aug. 27th, 2010 11:32 am
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* [personal profile] via_ostiense/[ profile] jaebi_lit has recorded my Sherlock character fic Good to Know (John, Sherlock, gen, 14:00 min) as a podfic! Summary: If Sherlock didn't make a mistake every once in a while, he wouldn’t learn anything unexpected. (Link takes you to the DW audiofic archive [community profile] amplificathon) Thanks so much, [personal profile] via_ostiense!

* While you're there, you might also be interested in downloading another of her podfics, Other Things To Do After Buying A Cat (Sally Donovan/Molly Hooper, teen, 17:00 min.) by [personal profile] blackeyedgirl. Summary: It starts because of Sherlock (most things seem to). It's up to them to make it come to more than that. This is a thoroughly charming fic, recced here already, that also attempts to address some of the gender issues of the show. Enjoy!

* And a quick, non-podfic rec: [personal profile] sophinisba has written Saving Face fic: Who Taught You How To Fall (Vivian/Wil, 2850 words, R) Summary: Vivian notices that Wil dislikes hanging out at the dance studio. Enjoy this one, too!

Heh. It occurs to me that I should have a tag "omg lesbians!" for dyke-centric posts like this one. It pleases me to no end that I have three lesbian-related items for you.
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A couple unrelated items on a wet, cool, late-summer Wednesday:

1. A reminder: if you're interested in joining the first [profile] lgbtq_recs book and movie club discussion, you've got ONE WEEK left to watch the September 1 selection, Trembling Before G-d. It's available online at IMDB, so there's no need to think ahead this month--just sit down and watch and join the discussion. On October 1 we'll discuss the YA novel A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend.

2. I've finally finished watching Avatar! I'll put Five Things About Avatar under a cut, because if you haven't watched, you really should remain thoroughly unspoiled. And watch as soon as possible. )

3. I continue to watch the Sherlock fandom grow. Fascinating stuff. Two fics you might find interesting: Black Hole and Revelation by [ profile] unsentimentalf (John, Sherlock, R, 5600 words), which deals unflinchingly with issues of homophobia implicit in the series, and The Lost Weekend by dogpoet (Sherlock/John, explicit, 4500 words), a great story with a strong stream-of-consciousness narrative voice. (Sometimes I just enjoy a good story, I promise!)
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A very quick rec for a charming short fic, Other Things To Do After Buying a Cat by [profile] black_eyedgirl (Molly/Sally, PG-13, 2500 words). A light-hearted getting-together story with an undercurrent of critique of the show's gender problems. And kudos to the author for her sensitive portrayal of Molly as a woman who can be self-effacing and reluctant to say no but is not abused or condemned for it. The show didn't give this character the time of day, so it's gratifying to see an author think her arc through with such nuance.
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