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Thursday recs: MCU fanart

(Hey, it's Thursday somewhere, right?) This week was going to be a full MCU post, and then I realized more than half my recs were fanart, and I decided to just go ahead and go with that theme. So, enjoy!

ART: All hail the new King of Asgard, long may she reign. by [tumblr.com profile] pineapplebread - SFW, really cool Art Deco rendition of Val on her pegasus. 😊

ART: Shuri portrait by [tumblr.com profile] muffinshark - SFW, gorgeous portrait of Shuri. I love all the detailing!

ART: get it ms carter by [tumblr.com profile] kelslk-atnight - NSFW, Steve/Peggy sweet femdom. I am so into everything about this.

ART: big blue meanies by [tumblr.com profile] shallowvenus - SFW, v cute Nebula and Minn-Erva. This artist also has a ton of other f/f-themed art in a range of styles, with a lot of Minn-Erva and Maria Hill love in particular.

ART: Marvel women & Costumes pt 1 by [tumblr.com profile] persehpone - NSFW for paper doll women in underwear. PAPER DOLLS. Carol Danvers, Valkyrie, Gamora, Natasha, and Okoye in a variety of outfits. I am SO INTO the wild west AU. 😍

ART: "brother?" by [twitter.com profile] Darkellaine - SFW, Loki in Jotun form + Thor. Gorgeous, and Loki's angst just about drips off the screen.

ART: Steve/Bucky inspired by the new What-If clips by [tumblr.com profile] orientalld - SFW, Steve/What-If!Bucky, with his big beardy look. Mostly clothed and somehow so hot. The fist in the t-shirt!!

ART: "Mindless" by [tumblr.com profile] quietnighty - NSFW, pre-TFA Steve/Bucky. I love the languid mood in this.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Dear MCU Space Ships Creator

Dear Creator,

YAY, I’m so excited that you’re making something for me! Cosmic Marvel is my very favorite corner of the MCU, and I love the Thor movies in particular, as you will see. I'm super excited about an exchange focused on a bunch of my favorite MCU characters!

In general, I like stories about complex characters who have both flaws and strengths, who learn to care for each other despite obstacles (external or internal) that would get in the way of that. I love internal character conflict and people having to figure out who they are and what they care about. I love people having complicated feelings about themselves and each other. I enjoy when characters have romantic/sexual histories, or who have their own specific reasons for not having that experience. I don’t mind references to prior canon relationships or prior relationships with OCs. I like both romance and sexual relationships that don't feel like endgame, but that offer something to the parties involved in the moment.

I am requesting both fic and art for all my requested ships.

General Likes/DislikesCollapse )

MCU likes and general promptsCollapse )

PairingsCollapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

The Magnus Archives

It feels like TMA has gone mainstream since the last time I mentioned it on here. Lots of people I follow for other reasons have started mentioning it. It's been fun seeing it get discovered.

I tend to binge it during hiatuses, except I missed the last hiatus, so I'm now in the process of listening to ALL of S4. I just finished 134 A Time of Revelation, which just made MUCH more sense as a title now that I've realized it's a Biblical reference and not just about a period during which people find stuff out. XD

My main thoughts on the season so for areCollapse )

In conclusion: Jon's still my favorite, reserving judgment on everything else.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

things I've read/watched

I've spent the past several weeks either writing fic for Trick or Treat or reading fic from Trick or Treat. I'm always surprised by how incompatible writing and reading are. There are only so many hours in the day!

Movie: The Old Dark House, 1932. A group of travelers take shelter in a spooky Welsh house during a storm. This was properly Gothic, with a weird family full of secrets, a disfigured mute butler (Boris Karloff), and more. This is not an era of film I'm that familiar with outside the big swashbucklers like The Mark of Zorro (which was a little later anyway), and honestly I don't think I have the familiarity to appreciate this one properly, but I did enjoy the little character dramas, like the flippant friend and WWI vet looking for his life's purpose. In terms of horror, the elderly woman terrorizing the young woman and rebuking her for caring about "fleshly love" was pretty distressing, but honestly, watching them drive a very old car down a washed-out hillside path at night in the pouring rain was the scariest part of the whole movie for me.

Book: Desdemona in the Deep by CSE Cooney. In a secondary world full of fabulous wealth, grotesque poverty, and labor disputes, the princess to a fortune goes on a quest to the goblin kingdom to save a group of miners her coal baron father has consigned to death. I picked this up because the Tor monthly Barnes & Noble Bookseller's pick list. I enjoyed it for the incredibly colorful worldbuilding and its concerns with social consciousness. The prose was vivid and full of great imagery; it reminded me a bit of Cat Valente in sensibility, but unlike with Valente, wasn't prone to wandering around in its own metaphor until it got lost.

Its weakness is that it feels like the beginning and end of a story that left out the middle. The story can't seem to decide who its main character is; it seems like it ought to be Desdemona, but the big climax of the story is all about other people while she looks on. And then her character arc appears to be about rejecting the world above and embracing the goblin underworld, except there was no point in the story where I saw that change of heart. It just suddenly had happened.

Even so, if it qualifies for the Hugos as a novella I will probably nominate it, just because novella pickings are so slim, and it did have a lot I liked about it.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Trick or Treat fic I wrote!

No Thursday recs from me, since I already made two recs post since last week, but here are the things I wrote for ToT! I wrote FIVE things, which is the most outside of a drabble exchange since the very first ToT five years ago. :')

Care and Keeping - MCU, Thor/Heimdall/Valkyrie post-Ragnarok bedsharing, 1.6k. I've been wanting to write this ship for a while and was very excited to do so for a fellow shipper! Woo! I tend to take a very strong h/c angle on Thor Odinson after Ragnarok, so this is more of the same, pretty much.

A Service at Some Cost - MCU, Heimdall/Loki post-Ragnarok watersports, 4.5k. This fic is like two parts pee and three parts Loki's wide-ranging, ever-changeable angst. As usually happens when I write Loki, I was DMing everyone I know, going "Loki is SO MUCH WORK." And that's partly the theme of this fic - that Loki's a lot to deal with even when he's not actively being a pill, and sometimes the other person has to just stop trying until Loki figures out how to meet them halfway. This is a much less emotionally stable Loki than I tend to write for this era, and IDK that I'm 100% convinced by him, but then Loki has so many facets that he allows for a lot of different interpretations, I feel. I'm a little sorry I've buried all this in a watersports fic that a lot of people won't be up for reading, but so it goes.

In my heart, this fic is also another entry on the "uncomfortable shit Loki does to get supplies for Asgard" list, which includes my "Loki has to change into Jotun form" fic and [personal profile] iknowcommawrite's "Loki becomes a magic hooker" fic. I would read an entire fest of fics on this theme, fyi.

memory of water - original work, 300 words. I'd been wanting to try my hand at some nice concise horror, and I'm pretty pleased with this. Written for the nomination "Ghost of a Dried-Up River."

something urgent in the blood - Constantine (2005), John/Angela sex pollen, 800 words. I asked myself what kind of fic I most wanted for this canon, and concluded it was "fic about Keanu Reeves' character being incredibly hot." I very rarely have my POV characters rhapsodize about how gorgeous the other person is, but man it just felt right here.

and now the weather - Stranger Things, pre-Steve/Nancy/Jonathan, post-S2 h/c and werewolfiness. Sholio didn't have a treat yet, the Battleship game needed werecreatures, and together those resulted in this fic. I'm kind of amused that I ONLY write this fandom for exchanges, only the OT3, and only at very long intervals, lol.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Trick or Treat recs II

I come bearing more ToT recs! I think this will be the last of them, as I've been through pretty much all of the collection that I'm planning to read. There will also be some MCU ones coming, but I'm lumping them in with my regular MCU recs.

Oxford Time Travel - Connie Willis
The Distant Triumph Song
2k, Dunworthy gen. A ghost story circa Doomsday Book, at Oxford. Very nicely written, and I loved the bell motif.

Star Wars
Smoke Rises
Finn/Kilo/Rey, 3k. Rey tries to break her and Kylo's two-way force bond and accidentally makes it a three-way bond, with Finn as the third spoke; this changes everything. This is from Kylo's POV, and I'm just so impressed with what this fic does emotionally and structurally, because I was bumping along, enjoying it, and then all the narrative threads came together in the last scene and hit me in the face in the best way.

Beauty and the Beast
All Her Thorns
500 words, Belle gen. A horror story about a different kind of curse the witch might have put on the castle. Deliciously horrible.

Sandman (Comics)
Nine Lives
Death gen, 2k. At intervals known only to herself, Death becomes a cat for a day. Nine delightful bite-sized stories about Death's time as a cat.

Descendants (the Disney movies)
Friends Don't Know the Way You Taste
Evie/Mal, 7k. The villain and hero communities are integrated now; this does not mean that everything is better than before. I'm not familiar with the canon, but the author writes the characters and the world so richly that I felt like I knew everyone and what they were about. I really appreciate how much the story is about people trying to make the world a better place (through prosaic means, like securing funding for community services!), but also about how that's hard work, and how progress is not always linear, either for societies or individuals. Also the f/f romance was great and full of feelings.

Original Work
no such thing (as getting out of hand)
Man/tentacle monster, 8k. This is about an incredibly sweet and cheerful and innocent tentacle monster who is just SO excited to finally get rented out so that he can put his eggs in someone. If you want really mutually enthusiastic tentacle porn in many configurations and with eggs, this is the fic for you.

Six Instances Of Curious Oddities In The Works Of The Late Photographer Mr. Henry Harrison Carmichael
700 words, gen. Documents fic about creepy things discovered in or occurrences around a 19th century photographer. Spare and elegant. I love documents fic, so I loved this.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Trick or Treat recs!

I have spent most of my free time in the last couple of days swimming around in the Trick or Treat collection, which has been a glorious experience. I always forget just how much I love reading in a big collection with strong (though not universal) themes of the melancholy and macabre.

First, my two lovely gifts:
An Enchantment of Ravens - Margaret Rogerson
green around the circle's edge. Isobel/Lark, 700 words. Isobel is a queen. Lark is ... something. Post-book character study of Isobel trying to be queen of the fairies while dealing with one deceptively child-like fairy in particular and seeing another, dead fairy in her dreams. A lot of intriguing hints for future developments in this one.

MCU
Wolves of Ice.
Thor+Loki gen, 2700 words. It walks the dark halls of the ship, they say. It is larger than a bilgesnipe, but it is not a bilgesnipe. It is cold as ice. Its claws clatter on the metal decking and leave frost in their wake. Its eyes glow in the dark. Really lovely post-Ragnarok fic about a half-seen specter, and also about Loki and Thor's relationship with him. Neat worldbuilding, beautiful character notes.

And now onto other gems discovered in the collection! First up:

Art
I'd climb that like a funicular - Deux Ex, SFW. Gorgeous digital painting. I love the colors in this.
Today We Fly - Assassin's Creed, SFW. Same artist as above, with equally impressive colors and even better lighting. I love the whole mood of this.
The Job - Mission Impossible, Luther Stickell/Ethan Hunt, SFW. A minimalist piece with a lot of intimacy in it.
Favourite Haunt - Original Work, SFW. GHOST CAT TAKES A GHOST CAT NAP. <3 <3 <3
Dogs Make Everything Better - IT movies, SFW. Doggie cuddles in times of distress. <3

Candle Cove
There Are (No) Strings on Me.
Gen, 400 words. An absolutely pitch-perfect, deliciously macabre follow-up to the original creepypasta. This is part of why I love ToT - sometimes the best horror is bite-sized.

Black Swan (2010)
Black and White and Red All Over
Lily/Nina, 1700 words. Lily has trouble taking on the role of the White Swan. Post-canon + a missing scene that is hot af. As twisty and surreal as the original.

crescendo
Lily/Nina, 2100 words. Nina Sayers is a horror show. This takes all the horror transformation imagery of the canon and then leans into it even harder, while also being super hot. "Sexy Body Horror," indeed.

The Left Hand of Darkness - Ursula Le Guin
No Solace
Genly Ai + Estraven's family gen, 900 words. This is a beautiful little post-canon story of Genly Ai visiting Estraven's home hearth, and I'm really impressed with how well it captures the voice and rhythm of the novel. Also it's a little bit of a ghost story. Just lovely.

Ready or Not (2019)
Welcome to the Family
Grace/Alex, 1200 words. Grace pulled a card. It was chess. A story of what might have been, and how that wouldn't necessarily have been a happier ending. I felt so much for Grace, who wants so badly to be closer to Alex's family and who keeps getting stymied by Alex himself, who's still got all his canon ambivalence.

Another Goat
Alex, 600 words. A perfectly chilling character study of Alex, with a pleasingly elegant extended metaphor.

Original Work
The Lessons of the Tree
Gen, 1200 words. The cherry sapling was planted on a fresh spring morning, on top of an unmarked grave. This is from the POV of the impressionable young tree, being taught life lessons by ghosts. The progression feels so natural, and the ending is perfect.

Seeking
Tentacle monster/unfortunate male victim, 2400 words. And now for something completely different, lol. This is delightful: a second-person POV fic about a tentacle monster, desperate to find someone to lay its eggs in, who stumbles across a hapless human. Perfect! The voice and alien perspective in this is just really fun, and I especially enjoyed how careful and possessive our tentacle monster is of her fragile newfound human. Mind the tags, obviously.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

I am running a cosmic MCU exchange!!

Guys I am running an exchange through AO3, with its matching and everything, for the very first time!!! See the beautiful banner [personal profile] verity made me. :') Noms are open now. Wordcount minimum is 500, and "cosmic" includes Doctor Strange, because if you've got psychedelic fight scenes you're practicalyl cosmic, right? Come join us!!

MCU Space Ships
Come join us for a fanfic/fanart/fanvid exchange about rare cosmic MCU ships! Find all the information at [community profile] mcu_spaceships


Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Thursday Recs: Hockey

I only remembered this today because [personal profile] lucifuge5 posted theirs, so, in between my Trick or Treat Exchange reading, I am posting these! We have TWO recent rarepair hockey fics by favorite authors of mine. <3

Say When by [archiveofourown.org profile] dadvans
Mackinnon/Crosby/Andy O'Brien, 23k. In which 19-year-old Nate Mackinnon discovers that his idol is secretly gay married to their shared personal trainer, and has a lot of feelings about it, including a lot of pants feelings. Dadvans is always tops at writing sex that's really grounded in physical detail and grody reality, and this has that in spades. The slow burn sexual tension is delicious, and the undercurrent of repressed gay feelings is also great.

better want what you wish for by [archiveofourown.org profile] inlovewithnight
Jack Johnson/Erik Gudbranson, 12k. In which two journeyman defenseman on the wrong side of their peak find some pleasure in each other for a while. Oh look, more repressed gay feelings! This fic is great if you like those, but also great if you like stories about people oppressed by the sense of their own failure, without any way of changing it. Put that way, it sounds depressing, but this fic honestly feels very sweet and hopeful, without telling the story of any kind of grand romance.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

fic rec: Good Omens

It's Thursday! I'm not entirely sure what I've been up to in the past week, but it wasn't reading fic, so my offerings are limited today. With the caveat that I last read the book fifteen years ago and haven't seen the series at all, have a Good Omensfic rec:

Good Omens (TV)
Demonology and the Tri-Phasic Model of Trauma: An Integrative Approach by [archiveofourown.org profile] Nnm
99k, Crowley/Aziraphale, outsider POV. What Aubrey Thyme, a professional, thought, upon first seeing her new client was: you’re going to be a fun one, aren’t you? This is full of FEELINGS and also lots of therapy. So much therapy. I found it a fun, iddy read, and I enjoyed our POV character a lot.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

daydreaming

A key aspect of my writing process that I feel like I don't see mentioned that often is what I call daydreaming a story. It's kind of like brainstorming except much less... aggressive? active? It's just letting the story play out in my head, without directing it too much. Sometimes characters have whole conversations, or I'll start from some line of possible dialogue and spin out a bunch of possibilities from it.

Sometimes I have to do a lot of it before I start the story at all. Other times I get stuck in the fic in the middle and have to take some time off to let the story unspool in my head before I write any more down. I get most of my daydreaming in during those brainless but physical activities like driving, doing dishes, or of course taking a shower. (I do see a lot of mentions of people figuring story problems out in the shower.) Sometimes the time in bed before I fall asleep is a good time, too.

And sometimes stories require very little daydreaming! Especially if they're short, sometimes the whole story will present itself to me at once, and then I just have to write it.

I've been thinking about this because I'm trying to work out a Trick or Treat fic I want to write, and I have some elements that I think I want to go together, but I don't see how they fit yet. There's a bit too much going on. I'm hoping if I keep kind of gently worrying at it, the elements will settle into an actual plot and character arc, but we're not there yet.

(Random icon of the day: my gorgeous new watercolor Cap icon.)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

various links

On Iron Fist and As-Am Power Fantasies, by [personal profile] lazaefair - an essay about Iron Fist and Doctor Strange from the perspective of an Asian-American person. A worthwhile read.

[community profile] mcu_cosmic is hosting a discussion on the Thor & Loki relationship this week, and man I love them so much. ;___;

Guys, I inspired a vid! [personal profile] skygiants discovered Billie Eilish via my post from a while back and then made this delightful vid for The Handmaiden set to "bad guy." :')

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

things I've read

The House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones (2008). A girl with no magic training ends up caring for her uncle's magical house, and proceeds to have a bunch of magical adventures. This is late DWJ, and slight. I know she's not known for deeply satisfying endings, but this book even more than the others of hers I've read felt like she got bored of all the conflicts and decided to wrap them all up in a hurry. The uncomplicated evil of the lubbockins also felt out of character for her - I tend to think of her as unwilling to simplify her characters that way.

The Bone Key by Sarah Monette. A collection of short stories about a gay, socially-anxious museum archivist in the 1930s who keeps rubbing up against the occult, mostly through no fault of his own. I LOVED this. I read it in a day, and then I went and hunted down the further stories published online since the collection came out. I love Kyle in all his awkward loneliness and earnest heroics (not that he'd ever them that himself), and I love the tenor of the horror in these stories, a delicious mix of evil and melancholy. One of my favorite reads this year.

(And now I want a crossover where The Magnus Archives takes place in the 30s, and Jonathan Sims meets Booth during Jon's quest for information about The Stranger. They can bond over weird occult happenings and how awful other people are and then they can bang.)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

various exchange news

[community profile] buffyversetop5 is having their annual recstravaganza starting October 25. Looks like recs for both old and new fanworks are welcome! This event has literally been around fandom longer than I have, and I'm glad to see it still going. <3

[community profile] holly_poly noms are open. I had a brief, ridiculous impulse to sign up, before I remembered that I seem incapable of writing more than 150 words at a time rn, but there are some very tasty poly ships in there! I have a ton of MCU OT3s I keep requesting but not getting, and since I really don't think I can do this, I plan to request them all for Chocolate Box next year.

Speaking of exchanges, I had a period where I thought I was going to sign up for YT after insisting for months that I wasn't, and I nommed a bunch of things and made my list of possible requests, and now I'm back to thinking maybe I won't. The prospect of having an assignment is exhausting, and there's no one thing I want to request, much less three things, that is tempting me enough to sign up. I regularly change my mind on a dime about these things, though, so who knows.

ALSO I am running an MCU cosmic rare ships exchange, with noms opening in the beginning of November. More details forthcoming; I'll announce it here, but you can also subscribe to [community profile] mcu_spaceships if you're interested.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

MCU recs #16

Time for Thursday recs! We have another round of MCU recs this week.

ART: painting of Minn-Erva by [twitter.com profile] PapurrCat - gorgeous bust portrait, SFW.

and I've loved in shades of wrong by [archiveofourown.org profile] ginnyweasleys
Valkyrie/Loki, 6k. Sparring leads to fucking; after the first couple of times it happens, Loki's feelings start to get more complicated. I liked their dynamic here, and the sex is 🔥.

Young Buck by [archiveofourown.org profile] downjune
Bucky/Bucky, 3k. Steve sends a Bucky to the future who's fresh off the train, broken arm and all; somehow it's up to the Bucky of the present to settle him in. I LOVE seeing present!Bucky's perspective of his past self, and how he's figured some things out now that his younger self hasn't, while they're equally fucked up in other ways. And then instead of talking any of that out, they fuck. Delicious.

my orange space shuttle flyin' two seats by [archiveofourown.org profile] seinmit
Bucky/Loki, 4k. Bucky and Loki, misson parners, are trapped alone on an escape pod that then doses them with sex pollen in an attempt to be helpful. I love the dynamic between them, like how adept Bucky is at ~handling Loki, but how much genuine feeling there is between them, too. And also there's some grade-A xeno when they get around to taking their clothes off. I definitely need more "Asgardians' junk is WEIRD" in my life.

Scars Beneath the Skin by [archiveofourown.org profile] Sholio
Nebula + Tony gen, 8k. Nebula wants to show off her new space ship to Tony, except then he has a medical emergency, and they can't get back to civilization to help him. Some great h/c combined with more of this unlikely yet very sincere friendship. Nebula's perspective of the situation is a mix of delightful and sad, and Tony's occasional commentary on the "horrifying implications" of her off-hand revelations about her life are really great.

Flesh and Blood by [archiveofourown.org profile] Sholio
Peggy Carter + Nebula gen, 1k. A blue woman walks in out of the desert and becomes the SSR's problem – or, more specifically, Peggy's problem. This is just a really sweet, quiet series of encounters between characters I'd never pictured meeting each other. Peggy's pragmaticism and aggressive commitment to treating people well is so good for Nebula, I feel.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

things I've read/watched

Books
- Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (2019). There's been a murder at a fancy magic boarding school outside of LA, and the estranged, non-magical sister of the one of the teachers there is hired to investigate. I absolutely loved this. It is absolutely magic boarding-school noir, complete with the POV character's self-loathing and moderately justified bitterness. The characters are well-drawn, the worldbuilding is developed with a light but deft touch, and the plot unspools in a very satisfying way. This one is almost certainly going on my Hugo ballot.

Movies
- The Limehouse Murders (2016). Billy Nighy plays A Scotland Yard detective investigating a series of sensational murders in Victorian London while also trying to save a former music-hall star who is accused of poisoning her husband. This felt very low-budget to me; nothing in it looked very good. The movie's gender politics made me uncomfortable, what with spoilerCollapse ) OTOH, I very much enjoyed David Booth as the cross-dressing music hall comedian Dan Leno, and I enjoyed all the music hall stuff in general, of which there was quite a bit. Multiple canon queer characters, if you're looking for that.

- Society (1989). A high school kid feels progressively alienated from his family, to the point that he starts to suspect that something is really, really off about them. This is slow-burn social satire horror supposedly containing "extremely icky body horror" (paraphrased from a professional review). I readily admit that satire is not my preferred mode, but even so, I found the theme of "the rich literally eat people they consider beneath them" pretty incoherent within the movie.

Also, frankly, I thought the body horror was pretty mediocre. I can think of so many instances of body horror I found more interesting and effective than in this movie. And the famous "surprising climax" (also from a review) was only surprising in that I didn't understand why it happened.

On the plus side, the general late-80s cheesiness was fun. The movie stars Billy Warlock of later Baywatch fame (lol) and ends with a very shippable m/m/f possibility, helped along by the fact that Warlock's male BFF is clearly in love with him. It also features mutually enthusiastic parent-child incest, if you're into that!

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

fic: Like an Orange in Vanaheim

Another weekend, another flash exchange. [personal profile] writingrainbow is slowly working through the colors, and this time it was orange! The main conceit of this exchange is that every fic posted for a round has to have a title that includes the color for that round.

I matched on a request that wanted Heimdall/Valkyrie/Loki, which I really wanted to write but couldn't find an easy in for with the requested freeform tags, so instead I ended up writing this:

Like an Orange from Vanaheim, Thor/Loki, pre-canon stuffing + belly kink fic posted to my sock, which is where most of the weird belly kink PWPs live. I haven't gotten to write this particular kink in a while, so that was fun, and I like the mood I captured.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

fic recs: seasonal (hockey RPF and Scream)

(ICYMI, Reccing Thursday is a new initiative some other folks and I are trying out. Your mission, if you choose to accept it: today, here or elsewhere on your social media, rec a fanwork or two. A new discovery? An old favorite? Anything goes! And if you're up for it, maybe mention you're doing it for Reccing Thursday. We'd love to have more people join us!)

Thursday recs! This week's theme is "seasonal," lol. Fall and horror movies are seasonal!! Next week I will probably be back with more MCU fic.

Hockey RPF
Gourd Reckoning by [archiveofourown.org profile] sevenfists
Sid/Geno, 3k. This is the fic where Geno fucks himself with a decorative gourd, and somehow it's not only hot, but sevenfists managed to put FEELINGS in there, too. :D

Scream (Movies)
out of the blue and into the black by [archiveofourown.org profile] outruntheavalanche
Sidney Prescott/Gale Weathers, 1k. 25 years after Woodsboro, Sidney and Gale meet up again. I'd never thought of this ship before, but I LOVE them in this fic, this sense of shared trauma that no one else can understand, that they can't even really trust anyone else with.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Yuuuuuuletiiiiiide

Yuletide exchange promotional image using an image of a snow-covered house. Text says Yuletide - A rare fandoms gift exchange. Nominations 2-11 Oct. Sign-ups 27 Oct - 4 Nov. Works due 18 Dec.

I can't believe noms are already open, which is ridiculous because they're actually later this year than the past several years, but in any case: Yuletide! Around the corner! Noms open now! I'm not 100% sure I'm signing up yet and I won't know for a while, but that hasn't stopped me from considering what I might like to request. At the top of the heap currently: Black Spot, The Innsmouth Legacy books, Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson, Blackkklansman, Frostbite (comic).

Anyway this post is like 90% because I like the nifty new/retro promo art they've got this year. :D Snoooooooooow.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

horror consumed

In theory I was trying to write these on Wednesdays, as a kind of expansion on Reading Wednesday, but Wednesday is just a terrible day for me to try and compose thoughts about things, and I'm officially giving up on that.

Books / Comics
Thornhill by Pamela Smy. This YA book is half diary entries from Mary Baines, bullied resident of a children's home in 1982, and half illustrations following the story of Ella, a girl who moves next to the abandoned children's home in 2017. Mary loved making puppets; Ella finds their remains scattered around the grown-over garden and sets herself to restoring them, which she has plenty of time for, since her mother is recently dead and her father works a lot and leaves her home on her own for sometimes whole days at a time. I was looking for a spooky vibe, and this does kind of have it, but even more than most ghost stories, this one was just so damned tragic, and the ending, which I think was meant to be spooky-yet-heartwarming, was even more tragic.

Harrow County by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crooks. At long last I got around to reading the eight and final volume of this gorgeous horror/dark fantasy comic, about a girl in rural New England circa the 1920s. The watercolor artwork was absolutely wonderful to look at all the way to the end. I had a little trouble following exactly what happened in the climax, or why, and I'm not sure it's quite a satisfying conclusion; I feel like I'd need to read the whole thing from the start to decide. But if you're looking for a gorgeous, spooky read with lots of complex female characters, you could do much worse than this.

Audio Dramas
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. Somehow I stumbled on the BBC audio drama adaption of this classic Lovecraft story, now set in the modern day, and I enjoyed it for the most part. The premise is that a pair of podcasters look into the mystery of a man disappearing from a locked room in a mental institution, and find a lot more than they bargained for.

It was properly scary, IMO, especially as I hadn't read the story and didn't know what was coming. However, I felt like it really didn't stick the landing, in the sense that by the end I wasn't sure what I was meant to understand had even happened, much less why various parties had been doing what they were doing. SpoilersCollapse )

On the whole, it was a fun listen until the end, and I would really like someone else to listen to it, too, so I could compare notes. Alternatively, maybe reading the original Lovecraft story would shed some light on what the adaptation intended.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

fic recs: Pacific Rim and Black Spot

This week doesn't really have a theme. They're both gen, I guess??

Black Spot
The Monster is Ourselves by [archiveofourown.org profile] Rivine
Laurène gen, 1k. Written for the incredible prompt "Character Comes Back A Little More Wrong Every Time They Return From The Dead." Laurène comes back a little bit wrong the first time, and things spiral downwards from there. Her progressively alarming choices over the course of the fic are deliciously chilling.

Pacific Rim
They Might Be Giants by [archiveofourown.org profile] PunkHazard
Wei Tang clan gen, 7k. This is pretty much the story of the triplets in an AU where they last longer. If you love long, loving development of minor characters, their backstories, and their relationships, this is for you.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Bucky fics by me

I've written a couple of fic recently with Bucky ships!

for a good time (2226 words) by Snickfic
Fandom: Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: James "Bucky" Barnes/Natasha Romanov
Characters: Natasha Romanov (Marvel), James "Bucky" Barnes
Additional Tags: Mating Cycles/In Heat, Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics, Alpha Natasha Romanov, Feelings, Post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Not Captain America: Civil War (Movie) Compliant, Futanari
Summary:

“Come on,” she said, her voice rough with arousal. She reached up and gripped the back of his neck, firm but not tight. Reassuring. Slowly he sagged, the tension in his shoulders loosening, his head drooping. “Come on, Barnes. You just have to ask.”


In which Bucky's just started having heats again after 70 years without, and Nat's the person he feels safe enough to have them with. This fic is actually more about Nat's issues with having had her sexuality weaponized than anything else. I really enjoyed the idea of sex being like one of Bucky's happy places that reminds him of before, whereas it means something totally different for Natasha. For all that, the sex is pretty cheerful and unangsty, I feel. Written for the Bucky flash exchange.

Today, In a Manner of Speaking (5375 words) by Snickfic
Fandom: Thor (Movies), Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: James "Bucky" Barnes/Loki
Characters: Loki (Marvel), James "Bucky" Barnes
Additional Tags: Time Loop, Mpreg, Post-Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Not Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Mid-Credits Scene Compliant, Wakanda (Marvel)
Summary:

“I’m pregnant,” Loki announced the next morning, when Bucky came out of his hut. “It’s yours, more or less. I don’t know how it happened. I already told you all this, because I’ve lived the same day one hundred and twenty-one times. Or perhaps one hundred and twenty-four; I’ve lost count. I don’t know why I’m telling you again. You can’t help, and you’ll have forgotten the next time I see you anyway.”


Loki is stuck in a time loop and also pregnant. Loki is enough of a drama queen already when his life isn't actively miserable, which it kind of is in this fic, which meant it trended a lot more dramatic and angsty than I meant when I started (but with a happy ending!). I was really happy with how the established fuckbuddies relationship developed into something more, considering one half of the relationship forgot everything new that happened every twenty-four hours. Written for AUex.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

things I have read

The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling (2019). On a poor mining planet, a self-taught caver goes on a dangerous caving mission and ends up in a fraught relationship with her topside handler (also a woman). This is clearly science fiction in the sense that our protagonist Gyre wears a futuristic caving suit and has to avoid cave monsters, but structurally it's very much a thriller, with a focus on survival and the caver-handler relationship. It was an extremely tense read, to the point that it took me a long time because I kept having to put it down.

I found it pretty disappointing, in the end? The relationship between Gyre and Em is the heart of the book, and I just was never sold on Em as a character. The two strands of "broken but caring person" and "grief-stricken monster" never came together into someone that felt like a real person to me. The book was also way too long; it could have last a quarter of its four-hundred-page length easily. But I was okay with that while reading, because I was waiting for all this tension to come to a head and hopefully for us to find the answers to a bunch of important mysteries.

But the answers were boring! :(Collapse ) In general, a disappointment.

Alfie. Okay, this is a porn comic in a fantasy world about... a hot middle-aged hobbit trying to start her life over, learn how to form relationships with other people, and reconnect with her daughter?? The daughter is actually Alfie, the mainest of main characters in the comic, but her mother Vera gets second billing, and I LOVE her. She's kind of an awful person a lot of the time for reasons that are really understandable and yet don't get her off the hook at all, but also she's so miserable and has been for so long, through no fault of her own. And she's trying to be better! She's just fascinating, and she also makes THE BEST grumpy faces.

The faces in this comic are great. The character designs in general are great, especially most of the women - Vera, Alfie, a hot guard woman named Lydia, and the gray-toned Na'avi-alike Ozge are my favorites. The porn is mostly not my thing - boobs like water balloons, too much emphasis on dicks, lololol internal come shots - but I do very much appreciate how much the comic appreciates vulvas.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Thursday recs: classic SF

Today's theme is Stuff Relating to Classic Science Fiction. Woo!

Instrumentality of Mankind - Cordwainer Smith
To Take Arms Against the Purple Sea by [archiveofourown.org profile] weakinteraction
OC gen, 3.5k. One of the Instramentality's most trusted Subchiefs goes undercover as an Underperson on a water world to investigate research misdeeds there. This is a delightful original tale that fits seamlessly into Smith's universe and really captures his grandiose sense of scale and the remote, long-range, horrific logic his Instramentality operates on. Very satisfying.

Star Trek: The Original Series
Matchmaker of Mars by [archiveofourown.org profile] Edonohana
T'Pring/Nyota Uhura, 3k. John W. Campbell accidentally matchmakes T'Pring and Uhura. This is a 30s SF author AU, and I am so utterly charmed by the specificity of that AU. It features excerpts of the two would-be authors' prose, a sweet low-key romance a number of run-ins with RL editor John W. Campbell, amply illustrating why the award that has borne his name for years no longer does so. Very cute.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

media consumed

Movies
Eerie (2018). Filipino horror movie in which a school counselor tries to solve the mystery of a student's suicide decades ago, while being haunted (helped?) by the student's ghost. This had entirely too many jump scares for me, but if you're looking for a spooky ghost story, this might be a great choice for you! I really liked the counselor as a POV character who is motivated so strongly by kindness throughout the film - I feel like that's not a motivation I see in horror very often. spoilers for endingCollapse )

Books
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (2019). Were magic books with personality original to Pratchett? I thought of him a lot in the early stages of this book, in which an orphaned girl who was raised by badass librarians teams up with a young magician and his demon familiar to save her 18th-century faux-European world from a senior sorcerer's plans for the demon apocalypse. As with Rogerson's last book, I found the much older side character the most interesting of the bunch - Silas the demon is fascinating, and so is his longtime bond with Nathaniel the magician and Elisabeth's developing acquaintance with him. I absolutely came out wanting OT3 fic for them.

I think on the whole this is a much stronger book than An Enchantment of Ravens - most importantly it's much better structurally, since it doesn't have Enchantment's interminable road trip in the middle of it. I was also somewhat more interested in the central romance this time.

My other comment is spoileryCollapse )

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie (2019). I was so dubious about the book for at least the first three-quarters of it. Why was it in this bizarre hybrid first/second POV? Why did we keep pausing to relay literally ancient history? What were any of these writing choices?? And then all the threads came together and retroactively made the whole book worth it, and now I kind of want to read the whole thing again before I take it back to the library. Maybe if I do I'll write a more in-depth post. My first for-sure Hugo nom of the year. (In fairness, I haven't read much from this year yet.)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

AO3 vs the Hugo Award Defense Squad

Apparently some people are really, really upset about AO3 members saying they won a Hugo (and also about profiting off the Hugo Award name on Etsy, but that seems to be a relatively minor concern). From what I can tell, these people are very unhappy that AO3 won the Best Related Work award at Worldcon this year and even unhappier that most of AO3 doesn't know who they are or give a damn what they think. In fairness, I count myself somewhat more dialed-in to the old-school SFF fandom than a lot of folks in fic fandom, and until last week I had no idea who any of these specific people were. Honestly, it blows my mind that this conversation is still going on and that the people involved are so wildly lacking in self-awareness as to think random internet strangers on the street are going to take them seriously.

I can tell there are a lot of hurt feelings on the fic fandom side of things as a result of this, which is totally understandable. However, to me, the most important thing is that AO3 did win that award, which means that the people yelling right now are in the minority. I've seen people point out that when the Sad Puppies Hugo slate happened in 2015, a lot of previously-disengaged SF fans joined the Worldcon community specifically to fight back, and that a lot of those people stuck around, which may be causing a sea change for the Hugo Awards. Arguably it already has - look at the proportion of female and minority winners in the years since then.

I guess I'm just contrary, because my takeaway from all this is that I want to buy a voting membership so I can nominate for the Hugos next year. If you can't join 'em, beat 'em.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

MCU recs post #15

Thursday recs! There's somehow way more Tony here than normal. Don't forget that you can always browse all my previous recs at my pinboard, here

Art/Vids
ART: Tony/Strange kiss by [tumblr.com profile] badjura - SFW. I love the expressions.

ART: Valkyrie on the battlefield, haunted by ghosts by [tumblr.com profile] poxei - SFW. Great concept, gorgeous execution.

ART: Loki welcomes Thor into Valhalla by [tumblr.com profile] duyeqing. SFW. Beautiful digital painting. (Hover over with cursor to see in color.)

VID: In the Bullpen by [personal profile] caramarie
Natasha in Avengers 1. Nifty editing, great song choice.

Fic
Purple BMWs and Other Failed Sugar Daddy Attempts by [archiveofourown.org profile] tuesday
Tony/Rhodey, 2k. Tony keeps trying to buy his way into Rhodey's affections. This is very sweet, and I was as unprepared for the final reveal as Tony was.

In a Name by [archiveofourown.org profile] tuesday
Ho Yinsen + Tony gen, 3k. Yinsen survives the cave, too, and Tony survives in worse shape than in canon, which sends both of them on a brand-new trajectory. I am a huge sucker for high-concept canon divergence AUs, and this is great, while also being mostly about Yinsen's own grief and trauma. Great stuff.

Imprint by [archiveofourown.org profile] downjune
Tony + Nebula gen, 2k. Tony and Nebula take the long way home to Earth, and meanwhile Tony is pregnant, somehow. I love the Tony+Nebula relationship in this, I love Tony's perspective on all Nebula's trauma, and of course I love the weird, weird infinity gem pregnancy, which comes with glowing and dreamsharing and who knows what else.

All Fucked Up and No Place to Go by [archiveofourown.org profile] scioscribe
Peter/Drax/Gamora, 3k. Peter Quill is the only omega in all of space. It sucks. YAY this is fic for my "humans are a/b/o and other species are not, and this sucks for Quill" prompt. This was all just great, with such a great combo of h/c and sexiness and shippy feelings and team feels.

A Zailor in the Making by [archiveofourown.org profile] sholio
GotG gen, 2k. All Peter wanted was a way out of disgraced exile in the Tomb-Colonies. This is the GotG crew in a Fallen London/Sunless Sea setting, and it's delightful. The main fun for me is just seeing what part of this new world each of them belongs to. My very favorite might be the last bit, when they're in Polythreme.

The Blue Planet by [archiveofourown.org profile] aurilly
Bucky/Loki, 6k. Bucky gets hit with sex pollen during a mission fighting space monsters with Loki. Unfortunately, Loki doesn't immediately realize that's what's happening. Pining and misunderstandings and uncomfortable sex-pollen sex, oh my! Sex pollen that comes with FEEEEELINGS, my favorite. :D

A Function of Time by [archiveofourown.org profile] scioscribe
Thor/Heimdall, 4k. Heimdall is Asgard's ancient AI, but his place in Asgard is changing as Asgard flees its home. I love the worldbulding in this—Heimdall's limited memory, the ways external memory was stored in Asgard—and I love what that worldbuilding means for Heimdall personally, and how he views the world. Also Thor here is wonderful. <3

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Dear Trick or Treat Creator

Hi, friend! Thank you so much for creating something for me! I’m putting the focus on general prompts this year that you can apply to any of my requested fandoms. :) I've talked more about some fandoms than others, but that's just because I've been requesting them for a while and have accumulated lots of thoughts. I promise I will be equally excited about gifts for any of these!

General likes/dislikesCollapse )

Horror/dark likes and promptsCollapse )

The Perfection (2019)Collapse )

An Enchantment of Ravens – Margaret RogersonCollapse )

Black SpotCollapse )

MCUCollapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

FIC: Spelunking (Valkyrie/Loki)

At long last I get to post the Val/Loki fic that I've been working on since last summer. I had most of a rough draft a year ago, and it's taken me since then to finally get it into posting shape.

This is a very iddy fic for me. It was inspired by an ffa discussion about how all the Jotun!Loki fic out there seemed to be m/m, and wouldn't it be neat if it was Val eating out Loki's Jotun pussy. This fic started there but then added a bunch of Val's existential angst, a crash on an ice planet, huddling for warmth, a LOT of inadvisable sex in a variety of locales, including, at long last, Loki's Jotun pussy getting all the attention it rightly deserves.

I got to really dig into the characters and also the incidental worldbuilding of their great spaceship road trip, and I'm really proud of the result. I hope y'all like it.

Spelunking (15896 words) by Snickfic
Fandom: Thor (Movies)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Brunnhilde | Valkyrie/Loki (Marvel), Brunnhilde | Valkyrie & Thor (Marvel)
Characters: Brunnhilde | Valkyrie (Marvel), Loki (Marvel)
Additional Tags: Brunnhilde | Valkyrie-centric (Marvel), Post-Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Jotunn Loki (Marvel), Intersex Jotunn (Marvel), Dual Genitalia, Cunnilingus, Vaginal Sex, Friends With Benefits, Feelings, Snow and Ice, Huddling For Warmth, Sexual Experimentation, Shame/Comfort, Minor En Dwi Gast | Grandmaster/Loki, Nonnies Made Me Do It
Summary:

In which the last Valkyrie sits through council meetings, endures a lot of existential angst, crashes a space ship, slays a giant snake, and explores Loki's ice cave.



Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

fic recs: BtVS and Doctor Who gen

Here are your Thursday recs!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
urgent as airmail, animal red by [archiveofourown.org profile] seinmit
Buffy gen, 500-word drabble series. Buffy + makeup vs the world. A great window into the character, and man these are quality drabbles, incisive and efficient and precise.

Doctor Who
Cracked by [archiveofourown.org profile] Mad_Maudlin
Amy Pond gen, outside POV, 5k. In which the Doctor takes young Amelia on his adventures, instead of coming back for her later. I'm going to confess here that I've only osmosed the canon developments that this fic diverges from, but this fic from Amy's guardian's POV is the best kind of slow-burn horror.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

media consumed

I've spent most of my time in the past week either poking at fic for deadlines or uhhhh going on YouTube music binges, as evidenced by my Billie Eilish post. But I've consumed a few other things as well.

Music
Todd in the Shadows (YouTube reviewer). Speaking of YouTube binges, I spent the weekend catching up on about a decade of notable top 40 hits via this guy's "Best/Worst Hits of the Year" lists. I can absolutely tell which years I was listening to pop radio some (2012, 2015) and which years I really wasn't (most of the rest of the 2010s, honestly). He also has reviews on individual current hits pop songs; One-Hit Wonder series with history and follow-up to groups that got one hit; and Trainwreckords, about albums that basically ended their artists' career. His persona is a bit obnoxious at times, but he genuinely loves pop music and gets excited about people like Ariana Grande and Katy Perry, which I respect, especially in a nerdbro in a hoodie. He also tries hard to be fair to genres he's not familiar with, when he's occasionally faced with those; see his review of that time Loreena McKennit was in the top 40. He also manages to clear the low bar of not being terrible about gender and race issues.

In conclusion, a pretty fun way to spend a weekend; I have no regrets.

Movies
Ready or Not (2019). A girl marries into a weird, rich family who invites her to play a deadly game of hide and seek with them on her wedding night. From the trailer I thought this was going to be pretty silly, and it was, but it was silly in a smart way. Definitely on the comedy-horror end of horror. The cast is great (Andie McDowell! Melanie Scrofano! Allison's husband from Orphan Black!) and Samara Weaving was fantastic as the lead. A good mix of humor and suspense and gore, and I felt the ending was very satisfying, which IMO is the hardest part for most horror movies. Do recommend.

The Wicker Man, (1973). A classic horror(ish) film that I finally got a chance to see! A Scottish policeman comes to a small island looking for information about a girl who's been reported missing and gets ever more suspicious as the local residents keep stonewalling him. He also happens to be an extremely devout and devoutly-practicing Christian who is appalled and infuriated that the entire island has abandoned Christianity for paganism. I don't know enough about the Scottish cultural environment in the 1970s to know how this landed then, although from context I think it's clear our protagonist's religiosity is a bit of an outlier even among his peers, but as a citizen of today's world I have a really hard time finding nearly as much horror as he does in the embrace of paganism and abandonment of Christianity. He's pretty unbearable, honestly.

OTOH, I found it extremely interesting that the paganism of this island was reintroduced to it in the mid 1800s by the local lord at the time, who was educated and a scientist. I had a good convo with someone last night about whether the lord really believed what he was saying or whether it was solely a form of social control. Either way, that angle and Lord Summerisle himself was by far the most interesting part of the movie for me. (On a related note: young Christopher Lee! So young! So tall! I'm honestly not sure if I've seen him in any other role besides Saruman.)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

FIC: bruised with purple grief (Black Spot)

A couple of people recced Black Spot to me, and friends it is so exactly up my alley. It's a French-Belgian show about the gendarmerie (police staff) in a small town in the middle of the big woods, lead by emotionally repressed police chief Laurène Weiss. Friends, Laurène Weiss is EXACTLY MY TYPE OF CHARACTER. I love her with all her dysfunction and old trauma, I love her relationships with her daughter and her patrol partner (a big sweetheart beardy gay dude whom we love) and the forest, I love everything about her. I also love the town of Villefranche and the surrounding woods, which are menacing and possibly sentient and certainly supernatural.

It's actually a police procedural, so there is a murder to solve almost every ep. There are also a lot of local politics going on, as this is a one-company town, and surprise surprise, that one company is indifferent to both its employees and the local environment. And yet every so often into these prosaic concerns comes a whiff of the supernatural, real and unambiguous.

It's on US Netflix, and the two seasons only have eight episodes a piece, so if any of this sounds appealing, you should definitely check it out. There's also a very tiny fledgling fandom, with I think three fics now, once of which I wrote! What I actually want to write about is the nature of the forest itself, but I feel like maybe I need a rewatch for that. In the meantime, here is a fic about Laurène and her BFF on the show, who also serves as the coroner, the local GP, the head of the ER... she maybe wears an implausible number of hats in a town of Villefranche's apparent size, but also she's great.

bruised with purple grief (1431 words) by Snickfic
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Zone Blanche | Black Spot, Undisclosed Fandom
Rating: Mature
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Leila Barami/Laurène Weiss
Characters: Leila Barami, Laurène Weiss
Additional Tags: Comfort Sex, Friends With Benefits, Slow Burn
Summary:

Sometimes, when things are fucked, they fuck.



Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
I get really self-conscious talking about music, because for whatever reason, musical taste is one of the rare things that even we in fandom seem to have no trouble judging other people for. I don't even know what Nickleback sounds like and I am automatically defensive of Nickleback fans at this point. (You can't tell me they don't have fans, because somebody's funding their ongoing career. Wikipedia tells me they're coming out with their tenth studio album this year.) My tastes are in no way sophisticated or informed; they are literally just a descriptor of "stuff I like." Usually I can't even describe what I like, however useful that would be; I operate on a strict "I know it when I hear it" basis.

That aside, it's not that often that I really fall in love with a body of musical work, so that I actually have something to say about it. A single song, yes, but an entire album, or multiple songs by one artist, that I am absolutely head over heels for as opposed to just listening to for a week or two? Very, very rarely.

However! I think people talking about stuff they like, even if they don't know very much about it, is generally a good thing in the world, and also I have so many feelings about Billie Eilish's first full-length (? is that even what we call it?) studio album right now that they have to go somewhere, so here we are.

So: if you don't pay much attention to popular music, Billie Eilish is a 17-year-old (!) girl from LA who built up some buzz over the past couple of years and then, about five months ago, released the album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (link to YouTube playlist). The songs were co-written with her older brother Finneas O'Connell, who also produced them. Among other things, Eilish has become known for a breathy/whispery singing style, edgy/emo lyrics, dark and disturbing imagery in her music videos, and an almost aggressively non-sexualized personal image. She also recently revealed that she suffers from Tourette's syndrome, after someone released a video compilation of a bunch of her physical tics, because that is the world we live in.

this got really long. lots of links! there's embedded video!Collapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

MCU recs #14

It's Thursday! Note that you can also browse all my recs via my Pinboard, which is filterable.

Earth/SHIELD-focused stuff
Within You and Without You by [archiveofourown.org profile] StormyDaze
Steve/Bucky, 1.5k. When Bucky falls from the train, Steve goes after him, which means the Russians get two assets; eventually they decide to knock one of them up. I love the details of this canon divergence, from how Steve gets altered to how Bucky and Steve still cling to each other when neither even remembers the other's name, and of course I love the mpreg. This fic packs a lot of punch in not very many words.

Merry Russian Christmas by [archiveofourown.org profile] scribblemyname
Maria + Nat gen, 1k. When the Black Widow comes in from the cold, Maria takes a bet that she can convince her to stay. I love Maria trying to figure out how to navigate a professional relationship and a friendship with this dangerous new recruit. Low-key and fun.

the push and pull, the balanced edge by [archiveofourown.org profile] Visardist
Bucky/Shuri, 2k. This is femdom where Bucky is a happy and obliging member of Shuri's literal harem, which is a concept I would read MANY MORE WORDS OF. I love the implied worldbuilding here, and the porn is also pretty great.

it'll take a better war by [archiveofourown.org profile] napricot
Tony/Pepper + ensemble gen, 27k. In the midst of the Accords conflict, Tony blurts out a lie to Steve for no good reason whatsoever, and in the process of buying himself time to dig out of that hole, he accidentally cuts off most of the external Civil War conflict at the knees—which leaves him dealing with all his own personal and internal conflict, of course. Civil War fic that looks at all the characters with compassion is pretty hard to find, and this is just SO satisfying. The Tony/Pepper, Tony+Steve, and Tony+Bucky relationships are all great. Highly, highly recommended. If you only read one fic related to Civil War, I'd suggest this one.

ART: Steve Rogers Says "Fuck" monthly comic panel, by [twitter.com profile] little_wolf82. Here's August and September. I am delighted.

Cosmic/Mystic
Craving Me Like a Honey Plum by [archiveofourown.org profile] madeinessos
Carol/Minn-Erva, 3k. Pre-movie, Vers and Minn-Erva encounter each other over a midnight snack. This is a slightly gentler interpretation of Minn-Erva than I think the norm is, with an intriguing backstory for her and lots of neat worldbuilding detail.

Want by [archiveofourown.org profile] LearnedFoot
Gamora/Nebula, 1.5k. This is half about their fraught relationship through the years, half Nebula character study. I really love this interpretation of their youthful sexual relationship, and there are some killer lines throughout. Nebula. ;_;

100 words of undercover as slave and master by anon
One-shot, Gamora/Nebula. If they're going to convince the mark that Gamora's for sale, Nebula is going to have to show off the goods. One of my favorite types of Gamora/Nebula fic is "situation calls for weird dubconny sex that smacks them in the face with all their issues," and this absolutely delivers. Hot as hell and full of delicious chewy character stuff.

Gestalt by [archiveofourown.org profile] seinmit
Strange/Christine, 4k. Christine drops by with goodies and gossip; Stephen takes her on a little tour of the universe. This is such a neat journey through what Strange's day-to-day might look like. I love all the psychedelia and the metaphorical way Strange thinks about the universe. And then there's weird kinky magical sex! A delight all around.

pluck the vibrating strings of fate by [archiveofourown.org profile] labocat
Strange + Tony gen, 800 words. After Endgame, Stephen has a ghost. Short but delightful, as Tony commentates on magic, Stephen grumps at him for it, and they maybe make some progress towards making Tony not a ghost anymore.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
I thought maybe I was going to write horror for a fic exchange, which didn't end up happening, and but in the meantime I read this for inspiration. As with most short story collections, it was a mix of stuff I enjoyed, stuff that was not for me, and "wtf even happened in this story." Disclaimer: I am nearly always going to enjoy horror with a supernatural element more than horror without.

Stories I especially enjoyed:
"Our Turn Too Will One Day Come," Brian Hodge. Creepy supernatural story about trauma and family and heritage, set in the Colorado mountains. I loved the slow reveal in this, the writing, the relationship between the adult brother and sister - everything, pretty much.

"Spectral Evidence," Gemma Files. A medium/possession murder mystery that unfolds via documents transcribed by some academic's grad assistant. I am always a sucker for documents fic.

"Lonegan's Luck," Stephen Graham Jones. A weird, weird zombie story set perhaps in the American wild west, if anywhere. Great creepy POV, deliciously and satisfyingly horrible ending.

"Omphalos," Livia Llewellyn. Probably my favorite in the collection, this is multi-generational, literally incestuous codependence at its most dysfunctional, set against a backdrop of a family camping trip into the Olympic peninsula. I'm not 100% sure what happens in it, but I don't care. Content warning for graphic on-screen rape, among other things.

"Shay Corsham Worsted," Garth Nix. The little old man down the street has altered his routine, and now all of Britain may die. Who is Shay? Was it created or discovered? How was it programmed? I love the tension in this between the very clear sequence of events and source of the horror combined with the worldbuilding and backstory questions that the story leaves completely unaddressed. Also this is ultimately a story about the horror of bureaucracy and organizational entropy, so that's fun.

Stories I did not finish:
"The Shallows," John Langan. Surrealist, reminded me a bit of the Southern Reach books, narrative voice I didn't care for. Also nobody talked like people.

"Strappado," Laird Barron. Overwritten, and then I got to this line and gave up: In the seam between the electric shock of their reunion and the resultant delirium fugue of violent coupling, Kenshi had an instant to doubt the old magic before the question was utterly obliterated.

"Interstate Love Song (Murder Ballad No. 8)" by Caitlin R Kiernan. Nothing against this one, actually - it's about lesbian serial killers in love, aka definitely up my alley - except that it's stream of consciousness with no paragraph breaks except for scenes, and I never found the time to give it the sustained attention it needed.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
Disclaimer: I thought Doctor Strange the movie was kind of boring, and all these feelings came from his appearances in other movies (and especially Infinity War and Ragnarok) and then get applied retroactively to his solo movie.

Stuff that fascinates me about Stephen Strange and his corner of the MCU:

1. He's got that Weight of the World trope more than probably any other single character in the MCU, IMO. Tony Stark likes to make the entire world's problems his responsibility, but for Strange, against certain threats, the entire world (and occasionally the whole universe) is his responsibility. How do you even begin to handle that, psychologically? On one hand Strange has his experience as a surgeon with individual people’s lives in his hands, but I would like to think he's grown a lot as a person since his surgeon days, and also this is on a whole other scale of responsibility.

2. He's really isolated from his former life. It's not clear he had friends even when back then, but now even his old acquaintances won't be able to relate to the life he leads or the experiences he has. By the end of Dr Strange, he's back in New York, but even though he's in his old world, kind of, he's not of it anymore.

Despite the superficial similarities, I think being master of the NY sanctum is a really different kind of isolation from being a star surgeon. And one of the--weaknesses? neutral aspects?? of the solo movie is we don't really see him have or develop any intimate relationships. There's Wong, but that relationship is still pretty superficial by the end; there's Mordo, but that relationship is definitely over now; and there's Christine, which is a friendship I would like to see more of. (Fic about Stephen Strange Makes a Friend would be extremely rtmi.)

What makes it more interesting to me is that yearning for connection is probably going to feel pretty foreign to Strange, I'd think? He's always had pretensions of being too good for everyone, but now that he really is mostly alone, maybe he finds he doesn't like it but also doesn't even recognize that what he wants is people, occasionally.

3. So by the end of Doctor Strange, he's saved his own planet and maybe his entire plane of existence, but he still doesn't know that much about the day-to-day life of being master of the sanctum (and neither do I!). I really enjoy quiet, low-key fic that just has him finding his way around this new existence. I like the idea that being master of the sanctum is partly/largely about maintenance. Checking the borders of reality, patching up existential holes, smoothing out metaphysical tangles. [personal profile] seinmit suggested the idea of the sanctum master being a rancher who spends most of his time mending magical fences, which I LOVE.

stephen strange the lone western rancher of magic -- on his own with his thoughts and his friendly wordless companion (the cloak) and constant pacing the length of a fence to keep creatures who barely care about his existence safe

4. TIMEY WIMEY SHENANIGANS. There are so many possibilities for weird metafictional stuff with Strange, and stuff playing around multiverses and canon divergence, and so much potential for really fucking weird cosmic horror. And I LOVE all of those things.

(How excited am I that supposedly Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness is going to be the “first scary MCU movie”? REALLY FUCKING EXCITED. Even though the title is lol.)

Also, one of the great things about the MCU (and spec fic generally) is how it puts characters into situations that have no real-life analogue. For Strange, he's got this grasp of time and events that no one else except other maybe some other sorcerers have (although of course they don't have the time stone). How does that affect him psychologically? Metaphysically? And I love fic that plays more with all those tropes and possibilities.

5. Look, Stephen Strange is easily the most attractive Benedict Cumberbatch has ever been. (This is not a high bar.) Is cheesy-hot a thing? Because the goatee and graying temples and high-collared cloak are all really working for him.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

hockey recs #28

Do these even deserve the tag "proper recs post" when there are only two fics? Well, that's the pace at which I'm reading hockey these days, so here we are. There was going to be an MCU post this week, but it's going to be long, and I already missed the "Thursday" part of Thursday recs, so the MCU post waiting for next week.

Hip Mobility by [archiveofourown.org profile] pinetreelady
Sid/Geno, 7k. Sid invites Geno up to Cole Harbour to train--apparently only to train, despite their previous tentative steps towards a relationship. I loved the feelings in this, the fact that they're both feeling uncertain about the status of their relationship and unsure how to proceed. I can get frustrated with miscommunication plots sometimes, but this communication struggle feels so organic and human.

Blue Flowers Blooming by [archiveofourown.org profile] AetherSeer
Parayko + Blues gen, 1.5k. NHL players have flowers where their dicks used to be, and sometimes they flower. Sometimes that means a player gets knocked up, if he's not careful. This was recced to me as "weird but cute," and tbh that is one of my favorite combos, so this fic worked GREAT for me. I am fascinated by Colton's floral genitalia, and I love his miserable declaration that he is "blooming."

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

reading/watching Wednesday

I've been procrastinating HARD on an exchange fic that's due soon, and I've been dealing by reading a lot of things and watching a lot of TV.

Movies
Widows (2018). This was the most tense and intense heist movie I have ever seen. Even calling it a heist movie is kind unfair; it's mostly a drama about some women in Chicago making the best of what life has handed them, set against a backdrop of violence and general political corruption. It was great to see Michelle Rodriguez in something again. Elizabeth Debicki was absolutely fantastic. It was neat to see Cynthia Erivo again, although her role was pretty small and she was the least developed of the troupe. Overall I think I liked it? After all the tension, the ending felt a little anti-climactic. I did enjoy that after all the back-and-forth between the two alderman candidates, the election was decided off-screen. It kind of reaffirmed that this was not their story, even though they took up some space in it now and again.

Scream (1996). This was so much more meta and so much less bloody than I was expecting. There's still some blood and gruesome death, but I was basically expecting the whole movie to be what we got in the first ten minutes, and it really wasn't. By aggressively ignoring all horror for the first 25 years or so of my life, I also was completely unspoiled for the plot. I enjoyed Neve Campbell a lot, and it was fun to see Skeet Ulrich in another of his teen heartthrob roles, since I encountered him in Riverdale first. And hi there, Henry Winkler! I feel like Principal Flutie in Buffy had to be at least partly inspired by Principal Himbry in this.

Books
The Girl in the Well (2014) by Rin Chupeco. YA dark fantasy about a 300-year-old Japanese avenging spirit who gets interested in a modern boy's curse, from the perspective of the spirit. If you like semi-friendly ghosts who still have an edge to them, this is for you. I'm interested to read the sequel.

A House Possessed (1961) by Charity Blackstock. The owner of a Scottish inn decides an exorcism is necessary to rid the house of its ghosts, and this has repercussions for a disparate group of travelers staying there. I nabbed this from the Gothic romance shelf at a local used bookstore I just discovered. I'm a sucker for stories about groups of strangers thrown together, and I really enjoy following the different threads of their backstories and how they intertwine in the present. (No surprise that I also love murder mysteries set at English house parties.) So I enjoyed this a lot on that level, it also reminded me a lot of all those genteel murder mysteries from this era that I read in my teens - lots of Agatha Christie and Patricia Wentworth, in particular.

spoilersCollapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)
I have recently realized just how useful Marvel's art books, released along with the movies, are for me as a fic writer. For one, sometimes they have layouts of locations and close-ups of details. For another, the text is usually chock-full of worldbuilding information from the design team. The Captain Marvel art book was an absolute gold mine. I got so much out cool info out of it that I made a post series about it.

Since then I've referred to several other art books in the process of working on fic, and it occurred to me other people might like info on what books are out there and how to find copies. This post is focused on the cosmic MCU, but as far as I know, every single MCU movie has had an accompanying art book, and all but the very earliest have been subtitled "The Art of the Movie."

The thing is, art books are a) expensive and b) limited runs, so accessing them can be difficult! Here are some various angles to take as you look for a copy of the book you're interested in:

- Buy a hard copy. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, eBay are the obvious places to begin, but smaller online bookstores sometimes have them as well, so check your favorite. Powells and TFAW (my one-stop online comics shop) are two that come to mind. Cost: $35-50 USD when the run is still available; $$$ for books only available from secondary sellers.

- Buy a digital copy. Amazon has Kindle versions for most of the art books, and Barnes & Noble has Nook versions for most of them. Sometimes there will be a Kindle edition but not a Nook edition; you just have to check around. Both Nook and Kindle have apps for viewing. I like the Nook app on my laptop moderately well and haven't tried Kindle yet. (Incidentally, Nook is having a sale on most of these right now.) Cost: $12-15 USD.

- Borrow a hard copy from your library. Definitely worth checking, especially if your library system is a large one!

- Borrow a digital copy from Hoopla, accessed with your library card (if your library system subscribes). Hoopla titles are viewed through your browser. I checked out the GotG vol. 1 art book this way, and Hoopla had me reading it through their comics view, which was okayish, although the "magnify text near cursor" gimmick was obnoxious. Hoopla has a lot of the books but not all of them.

Below the cut, I made a list of titles and links for all the cosmic MCU art books so far (Thor, GotG, IW/Endgame, Captain Marvel), with links to Amazon, B&N, Hoopla, and other sellers I happened to check. Obviously these listings are ephemeral, so in a year the usefulness of this list might be pretty low, but for now here they are.

A list with bunches of linksCollapse )

Crossposted from Dreamwidth. Comments welcome over there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

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