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Fic recs: Doctor Who, Torchwood, Laundry, Star Trek Meta RPF and some crossovers - The Lyorn's Den

Sat May. 8th, 2010

01:56 am - Fic recs: Doctor Who, Torchwood, Laundry, Star Trek Meta RPF and 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

Couldn't decide. They are all brilliant, but very different.

***

Recommended

Title: Alien Abduction
Fandom: Doctor Who
Author: JJPOR (jjpor on LJ)
Length: 42,300
What is it about? The Fourth Doctor and Romana visit New Mexico in 1968, hang out with hippies, and run into a top secret government project involving aliens of a particularly nasty sort.
Why read it: It has the Fourth Doctor in a sombrero, cool-as-a-cucumber Romana in drag, action, horror, mystery, drama, an evil scientist, Men in Black, and the Doctor explaining to a hippie that he should never stop dropping out.
Why not read it: No idea. There is some uncommon handling of dialogue tags, which might squick people who feel strongly about formatting.
Kinks/Squicks: Some gruesomeness, icky but mostly fade-to-black violence, and drug use (hey, it's hippies).

Title: Tunnelling to Freedom
Fandom: Doctor Who
Author: A. J. Hall
Length: 11,100 words
What is it about? The plot is about Donna stopping an alien invasion with the help of an old friend of Jack's from WWII. The theme is the question of what makes a good life (or death), and (other than some other fics I have rec'd) answers it quickly and decisively.
Why read it: What I like best about this story is the style. The writing is very condensed: Every sentence carries its weight and advances plot or characterisation. Characterisation in general is convincing and sympathetic, the OCs are so real they practically jump off the page. Despite condensed writing (to the degree that the reader needs to pay attention, or go back and check stuff), it never becomes sketchy or fragmented.
Why not read it: OFC, death
Jossed by/ignores: End of Time

Title: Overtime
Fandom: This is original fic for the "Laundry" books by Charles Stross. (*ponders this*)
Author: Charles Stross
Length: 8,700 words
What is it about? It's a Holiday fic: Bob has drawn the short straw and has to mind the Laundry over the holidays. This includes temporal/causal confusion, an Office Christmas Party in the Season of Cuts, and a tentacled Santa coming to visit...
Why read it: It's brilliant, clever, scary and hilarious.
Why not read it: If you do not know the Laundry books, it might be confusing.

Title: Translations
Fandom: Doctor Who
Author: Casira
Length: 7,700 words
What is it about? The TARDIS translates for you. But sometimes, Rose discovers, a translation hides more than it reveals, and when an opportunity to study Gallifreyan seems to present itself, she takes it -- with unexpected results.
Why read it: It's clever, beautiful, and deals with a fascinating detail of the Whoniverse that gets far too little attention.
Why not read it: A little nerdy, a little sad, and while it has to be the Tenth Doctor for plot reasons, he sometimes sounds more like the Ninth.

Title: Extended First Meetings
Fandom: Torchwood/Journeyman
Author: xwingace
Length: 8,400 words
What is it about? Dan Vasser (from "Journeyman") travels in time... and meets some Jack Harkness guy again and again, and in the (for both) completely wrong order.
Why read it: If you like stories about asynchronous time, this is clever and well-done without being wordy. Good Jack, and as a bonus you get a nice explanation for why Dan happens to travel in time.
Why not read it: Don't like the topic. Not knowing the crossover fandom should not stop you: Journeyman (TV Series) on wikipedia

Title: Backwards and in High Heels
Fandom: Star Trek Original Series/Meta/RPF
Author: Jungle Kitty
Length: 12,100 words
What is it about? Los Angeles, 1965: The first "Star Trek" pilot fell through. This is the story of the little-known second pilot, with a female captain, a heap of pretty nurses, an over-emotional Spock, and assorted craziness. (Also, with the plot of "Tootsie" thrown in.)
Why read it: Brilliant and crazy, takes everything you know about Star Trek and feeds it crack -- the result is an (AFAIK) only mildly overdone picture of TV series making.
Why not read it: If you are not halfway familiar with Star Trek (both how it came to be and TOS/TNG canon), most of this will just pass you by.
Kinks/Squicks: 1960s sexism, cross-dressing, lèse-majesté, RPF, crack.
Jossed by/ignores: Primary world canon regarding Star Trek.
***

Short and sweet

Title: Compromise
Fandom: Torchwood
Author: sam_storyteller
Length: 6,800 words
What is it about? It's a "Countrycide" episode tag: Jack drives Ianto home. Ianto is snarky.
Why read it: Brilliant dialogue, great fun.
Why not read it: Despite its length, this is only a "short and shiny". Not much happening.

Title: Flotsam and Jetsam
Fandom: Torchwood
Author: adina_atl
Length: 5,500 words
What is it about? Follows the first eps of Series 2, and how Jack and Ianto are re-forming their relationship.
Why read it: Characters are handled carefully and unsentimentally, good use of Jack's recent memories of the Year That Never Was, especially as they play off vs. the events in "Sleeper". Well written.
Why not read it: Nothing really new here.
Kinks/Squicks: Healing!Sex

Title: Perspective Shifts (or, It's All In How You Look At It)
Fandom: Torchwood/Discworld
Author: travels_in_time
Length: 3,100 words
What is it about? Jack and some Nac Mac Feegle meet in a pub and talk about heroes and rewards.
Why read it: It's weird, fun, has some good ideas, and a bar fight.
Why not read it: Not really a plot, and not really a resolution.
Kinks/Squicks: Nac Mac Feegle
***

From the backlog

Title: All the King's Horses
Fandom: Doctor Who
Author: Robin C. (lindenharp on LJ)
Length: 26,000 words
What is it about? The Tenth Doctor gets guilted into helping an advanced and quite stuffy alien species, and while a lot of complicated problems are solved, Donna clashes with the general stuffiness.
Why read it: Great Donna, good plot, good world building.
Why not read it: Could be a little more... I don't know, shiny?

Title: And Seven for a Secret
Fandom: Torchwood
Author: aeshna_uk (also on Teaspoon)
Length: 58,000 words
Genre: Gen, Action, Adventure, War

Another Tardis Big Bang II fic. This one has most of the things I love best, and reads like an IndianaJones/Torchwood crossover, although there is no Indiana Jones. There is, however, Jack, and there are Nazis and a Mad Scientist and of course Things Man Was Not Meant To Know (or at least, not to handle).

It's 1944, and a small group of British soldiers has been captured by the Germans. An officer who claims to be Canadian is on the same transport and ends up in the same POW-camp in an ancient castle overlooking the Rhine. The narrator, one of the squaddies, is sceptical of this "Canadian" and the layers of secrets around him, but then finds himself in a battle he had never expected.

This has heroic but ruthless Jack, convincing OCs, good narration, and great villains that are nearly comic-book but stay scary and/or human. The sense of time and place is very strong, and the mystery/horror plot develops with good timing. Towards the end, there are highly cinematic action scenes that really want to be on screen. A lot of this story's setting and conflicts are archetypical for the genre, which might explain the Indiana-Jones feeling, but is just makes the setting more alive, without making the plot predictable.

The style is very genre-appropriate, too: Somewhat understated, always IC, and focused on what is there and what is going on -- not so much about emotions and thought processes. Those still become quite clear even if not gone on about explicitly, a very good case of "showing, not telling" despite the first person narrative.

What I am less than enthusiastic about is that the story is framed as a memoir discovered by the narrator's grandson. Maybe the author felt she needed to set up a believable narrative situation for a first person past tense story -- this can be tricky. I still wish she had ignored that particular part of plot construction: The framing story has no fault except being superfluous.

Still: Five of five stars.

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