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Fanfic recs: Whoniverse, Harry Potter, some crossovers - The Lyorn's Den

Mon Nov. 30th, 2009

12:17 am - Fanfic recs: Whoniverse, Harry Potter, some crossovers

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Note 1: I'm way behind on my reading. Everything I rec here has probably been rec'd all over the internet and back already. But I can live with not being avant-garde. Nothing rec'd for TW here considers Series 3 yet.
Note 2: If you want ratings, or warnings for spoilers or anything else, you'll find them on the fic.
Note 3: Spoilers for the stories should be masked out in pale grey. If you see this sentence, it did not work.. Highlight to read.

***

Top of the heap

It is a drabble this time. No, really.
Title: The Waking Terror
Fandom: Doctor Who/Cthulhu
Author: Golden Orange
Length: Drabble
Why read it: It's a drabble. Just read it.

***

Recommended

Title: The Auror, the Potions Expert, and the Cult of Eris
Fandom: Harry Potter
Author: gatewaygirl
Length: 1,200 words
What is it about? Some pranksters are slipping love potions to muggles. Blackmail material ensues, and Harry, as the auror on the case, has to get the help of the best potions expert in magical Britain to find the culprits.
Why read it: It's fun, well-written, with an actual plot and lots of snark. Both Harry and Snape come over very complex in very different ways, damaged by the war yet unwilling to let on or angst. Also, there's porn.
Why not read it: Might be considered OOC.
Kinks/Squicks: sub!Harry.
Jossed by/ignores: everything after "Order of the Phoenix"

Title: Lighting the Dark
Fandom: Harry Potter
Author: gatewaygirl
Length: 1,200 words
What is it about? After the war, Remus burns down Number 12, Grimmauld Place
Why read it: Short, intense and liberating.
Why not read it: Jossed, might not agree with everyone's idea about Remus. Unclear ending.
Kinks/Squicks: Fire? Possible suggestion of character death.
Jossed by/ignores: everything after "Order of the Phoenix"

Title: Adam (Not that Adam. Not that one either. Another one.)
Fandom: Torchwood
Author: invisible_lift
Length: 8,500 words
What is it about? Early 2nd season (but written in 2007, does not have info from TW S2), the team comes back from alien-hunting and finds that Ianto is different -- probably exchanged by aliens. But every attempt to access false!Ianto's memory or find real!Ianto fails...
Why read it: Well written, good dialogue, good plot, solid characterisation.
Why not read it: some instances of nasty!Jack.

Title: The Theory of Two Centres
Fandom: Torchwood
Author: sam_storyteller
Length: 63,500 words
What is it about? "Ianto Jones woke up in a bed that wasn't his, in a flat that wasn't his, wearing clothing that definitely wasn't his.". This is an amnesia fic set some time after "Exit Wounds". Ianto just had four years of his life removed, from the moment he took the train to London, before he ever knew about Torchwood. But Torchwood is still offering him his job back, and he takes it, learning everything anew. Slowly, in flashbacks (the dreaded Then/Now structure, handled well) it is shown why Ianto had to lose his memories, but when alien devices plunge from the sky on a clockwork schedule, even losing four years of one's life might not be enough to vanquish an insidious enemy...
Why read it: Good plotting, brilliant dialogue, lots of suspense. Clever and subtle handling of Ianto-as-a-21-year-old who is surprised by a lot of things from his "old" life and handles some things very differently. The story moves slowly but does not drag, and an excursion to Mr Van Statten in Utah (known from the DW Episode "Dalek" in S1) gives Jack a chance to shine as a con man and is generally hilarious. The happy end is logical and well deserved.
Why not read it: No idea. Long?
Kinks/Squicks: Amnesia

Title: Get Loved, Make More, Try to Stay Alive (also on LJ)
Fandom: Torchwood
Author: Dira Sudis (dsudis on LJ)
Length: 66,100+2400 words
What is it about? Ianto gets pregnant by Jack. The embryo is put in stasis, and two hundred years later Jack raises the boy. Thanks to the Doctor, Ianto gets the chance to see his child and makes the most of it.
Why read it: If you like domestic fic, this is pretty much the gold standard -- believable plot, good characterisation, good reactions, nice world building, efficiently written with no excessive amount of angst or drama. Good dialogue. The characters are believable and likeable. There is an underlying, skilfully explored theme of mortality and what makes a good life, of what it means to work for Torchwood and to play the odds.
Plus, it has Martha, Mickey and John Hart in small roles.
Why not read it: It's completely domestic, mpreg, kidfic, the whole nine yards. Also, I am unhappy about the ending. The theme of a completed life, the inevitability of death, and the effects of that knowledge are beautifully done, yet in the end the author cops out and creates a happy end, which is plot-wise completely consistent but emotionally unsatisfying and undermines the tone of the story. Compare with rm's and kalichan's "Harbour", which is also Jack/Ianto and deals with similar themes but does avoid the temptation of a "happy ever after" ending.
Kinks/Squicks: Mpreg, kidfic.
Other: There are two epilogues which read more like missing scenes, and take away from the impact of the story. They are not bad, but it's better to read them another day, not directly after the main fic.

Title: ...And Things That Go Bump in the Night
Fandom: Sarah Jane Adventures/Torchwood
Author: Aeshna (aeshna_uk on LJ)
Length: 1380 words
What is it about? Luke Smith walks in on Sarah Jane and Jack having sex.
Why read it: Funny and very good characterisation. The latter makes it a lot less embarrassing than it should be: Luke is innocent and looks at the whole thing like it was something strange in a petri dish, Jack doesn't fully get what the problem is, and Sarah Jane keeps her cool admiringly.
Why not read it: Might still hit embarrassment squicks.

Title: How to Use Paradoxes for Fun and Profit
Fandom: Doctor Who
Author: paperclipbitch
Length: 7,400 words
What is it about? Post-"Last of the Time Lords" Lucy Saxon travels with the (Pre-Time War) 8th doctor. Both know that she can never tell.
Why read it: Recovered, older and wiser Lucy, younger and less sad Doctor. Very good interaction over a time loop, and works perfectly fine in the Whoniverse.
Why not read it: Don't know. If you don't like mind-bendy timey-wimey stuff, why are you in this fandom?

Title: This Other Darkness
Fandom: Torchwood
Author: metztlimoon (also on Teaspoon)
Length: 15,000 words
What is it about? A vampire with a grudge is after Torchwood, and has targeted Ianto to get at Jack.
Why read it: Well plotted, good mix of drama, angst, and mystery, nicely IC. Good Owen. Ianto is emo but strong, Jack is still suffering from The Year That Never Was, he's doing his best but doesn't always do the best in a given situation. The villain has a good motive (though that is not made much of later). Clichés are used to good effect.
Why not read it: Weak start, some editing issues, I'm not sure that the flashback pattern that is so common in TW fic does serve the story well, and it ends with something that calls for a sequel, though there isn't one.
Kinks/Squicks: Vampires, mind control.

Title: Untitled (NaNoWriMo 2007)
November postings, December postings.
Fandom: TW/IJ/HL
Author: Gunbunny/burntcopper
Length: 52,000 words
What is it about? In 1920, Jack's team at Torchwood London investigates the Resurrection Glove. In 1937, the glove gets stolen and Jack, with the help of Indiana Jones, tries to re-capture it, but they lose it again. Four years later, rumours tell that the Nazis are after the glove, and Jack gets send to get it back this time, but he's not the only one hunting for that thing...
Why read it: Crazy crossover that manages to look completely natural. While Indiana Jones and a certain immortal's roles are minor, they also fit well into the narrative, and the characterisation is good. The style is chatty, but in a voice that is fun to listen to. Nice details.
Why not read it: It has the expected structural issues of an unedited NaNoWriMo piece: Longish in the downtime when not much but background building is going on, somewhat sketchy in the action/adventure parts. TW/HL crossover usually need to take a position on Jack's immortality, this one regards it as the standard HL immortality, which does not convince me.
Jossed by/ignores: "Fragments".

***

Short and sweet

Title: Never Have I Ever
Fandom: Torchwood/Doctor Who/Iron Man
Author: st_aurafina
Length: 1,700 words
What is it about? At a conference for secretaries and personal assistants, Ianto, Donna and Pepper Potts exchange anecdotes.
Why read it: It's fun and a little cracky.
Why not read it: Not your kind of fun?

Title: Fairytale
Fandom: Doctor Who
Author: Schildkroet (vail_kagami on LJ)
Length: 1,300 words
What is it about? Eighth Doctor/Mickey Smith. No, really.
Why read it: It's very cute. Plus, cool style.
Why not read it: Pairing freaks you out?

Title: A Question of Jurisdiction
Fandom: Torchwood/Sarah Jane Adventures
Author: AND (neadods on LJ)
Length: 5,200 words
What is it about? After "Invasion of the Bane", Jack checks up on Sarah Jane, wonders about Luke and decides to investigate. However, Sarah Jane has no reason to be tolerant of Torchwood, and she holds all the aces in this encounter...
Why read it: It has Jack and Sarah Jane. Plus, it expands beautifully on the whole Whoniverse mash (Torchwood, UNIT, the Doctor, his companions...) which canon does not.
Why not read it: Jack thinks of Ianto as "Yan". Which is nearly disqualifying AFAIAC.

Title: Dawn, broken
Fandom: Torchwood
Author: demotu
Length: 2,850 words
What is it about? Jack/Ianto post-Countrycide. Jack has trouble with leadership, Ianto offers what support he can, for Jack and for himself.
Why read it: Some very interesting ideas, how Jack feels about his role, how Ianto supplements this. Also, smut.
Why not read it: It's only an episode tag.
Kinks/Squicks: Semi-public sex.

Title: Poor Little Dark Lord
Fandom: Harry Potter/Chick Tracts
Author: fairest1
Length: 720 words
What is it about? After reading a Chick Tract, Voldemort has A Plan....
Why read it: Completely cracky.
Why not read it: If you're unfamiliar with Chick Tracts, it won't make sense.
Kinks/Squicks: Religion
Jossed by/ignores: this is pretty much AU, based on the Horcruxes thing.

***

From the backlog

I planned to do a "Tardis Big Bang 2" review post, but as I haven't got around to it since June, it's unlikely that I ever will. So, here's the first of my TBB2 reviews:

Title: Guard Them, and Him Within
Fandom: Torchwood
Author: etharei
Length: 38,000 words
Genre: Slash, SciFi, Drama, Mystery

This is pretty much a classic SF plot, and suffers from the weaknesses of its genre: A slightly underwhelming delivery after all the build-up, and the feeling that one might have read this one before. But the weaknesses absolutely pale against the way the story glories in the genre's strengths: action, drama, mystery, a vast cast of realistic and interesting OCs, a set of revelations that peel away layer after layer of the mystery and shows shiny things beneath it.

It starts with Ianto finding himself on a human space ship in the 31st century, with no idea how he got there. No idea is needed, The Rift Did It, it's known to do that, and there is no known way back. Before long, he is picked up by Jack -- not past!Jack, in Ianto's estimation... but if it's future!Jack, why doesn't he seem to remember Ianto?

Instead of digging into the mystery, Ianto keeps quiet, observes and does his best to be useful when sent to a planetary base under Jack's command. The base defends a strategically important, yet inhospitable and haunted planet from some alien menace in a long war that seems mostly forgotten by those not fighting it.

Ianto takes on janitor's duties and slowly finds himself accepted among the soldiers. Strangely, what seems his most outlandish traits in their eyes is that he's stubbornly unafraid of their commander. Jack is portrayed here as cold, responsible, and strangely shallow, as if being the commander of this god-forsaken post is all there is of him.

It all ties together in this story, and every puzzle piece slipping into place makes the whole picture clearer, until everything is resolved, and the only thing left to do it getting out of there alive, and back home -- which is where the story resorts to "A Little Help From My Friends". It's one of the two things that came a little out of nowhere: The other, in perfect symmetry, is the explanation why Jack is where (and how) he is. But even those weaker moments retain a sense of wonder and suit both genre and tone of the story.

Finally, the style fits the story well. It is unhurried and descriptive, but does not slow the narrative down.

Overall, five of five stars.

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