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David Hines [userpic]

Yuletide 2009: recs, part 1

December 26th, 2009 (10:17 am)
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My final Yuletide count: four stories, 23,158 words. One of my stories fought me for an ending for days; I wound up cutting it from the last point I was satisfied with and writing something entirely new. That was the second story I started, and the last I finished.

If you want to guess what stories are mine (no fair if you betaed, or if I told you), guess in the screened comments below. You can win a drabble, or a poem, maybe, after the reveal.

Here are my first batch of recs from Yuletide 2009:

"A Mind Overborne," by Anonymous, written for joannesopercook. DRACULA (novel/1931 film), 5887 words. This is just really terrific: it's Dracula/Renfield slash, from Renfield's perspective, with skeptical notes in the margin from Renfield's psychiatrist. It's really quite good just as a straight horror story, and the author's selection of details to blend Stoker's novel and the film with Lugosi is excellent.

The interesting thing about this story, to me, is how its gimmick helps it transcend what I find to be the limitations of slash. I confess that a lot of slash really leaves me cold, in part because it's so ubiquitous; what is daring when it is revealed to explain the special relationship between Kirk and Spock can get pretty boring when it is revealed to explain the special relationship of every two-man dynamic ever. Too much slash -- and fanfic in general these days -- boils down to "the quality of this relationship can be explained by the fact that the characters are fucking." Which for me gets boring pretty fast, the more so because slash fans -- actually, it's true of fanfic-producing fandom as a whole these days, slash or het -- think *everyone* is fucking, and if they're not they oughtta be. Without the psychiatrist's commentary, this could run the risk of being a "Dracula and Renfield are fucking" story, albeit a very good one. With it, we're taken into an interesting position, and at one point in the story the relationship between Dracula and Renfield takes a really interesting turn that plays on the slash and vampiric overtones. And it's remarkably well-written; as a serious artistic effort, it could be the textual poach of the year.

"The True Death of Frank Gardiner," by Anonymous for Measured_Words. HP Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos, 4734 words.

This is a straight-up original Mythos story, and it's easily publishable quality. A Filipino immigrant who once worked as a pearl diver is shanghaied to work a particular stretch of sea bed, and this being a Lovecraftian story you can be certain that bad things will happen. (SPOILER: they do!) When they start to happen the author plays out the dread slowly, carefully, letting things get into position to get really bad and letting you see every detail before sending things south for good. Really terrific horror, well-characterized, with a beauty of an ending.

"Sentimental Reasons" by Anonymous for thefourthvine, 16570 words.

[personal profile] thefourthvine prodded people to write Casablanca fanfic this year. More than that: she wanted *Sam* fic. So she got a bunch of 'em, and I've read 'em all, and I have to say that this is *the* Casablanca fanfic story, not only of the year, but ever. It tells the story of Sam and Rick, and how they get together and form an unlikely partnership and how they wind up moving around the world together. It's looooong and feels longer, because it just covers so much time and so much ground. Sam is wonderfully realized, and Rick, who drops in and out of Sam's life before becoming a fixture in it, is everything you'd want a pre-movie (and post-movie) Rick to be. And its version of what happened immediately after Rick and Louis walk off into the fog to make their way to Brazzaville is officially my personal canon now.