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I am back from the beach! :D I am full of sun and boardwalk food and there is sand in literally everything I own, including my hair, but I am very happy. We got lucky and had wonderful weather – it didn't rain once, and then a storm broke literally as we were on the train back to New York. Which, honestly, was nice; nothing eases the heartbreak of leaving the beach like being able to see the dark clouds rolling in.

A photo from Racheline, which makes me look far more like a mermaid than I actually am )

And now I will try to catch up on everything.

But first! While I was away, the gift fics for Seeing Color were revealed. It ended being a rather small exchange, with only sixty-something people participating, but it was a lot of fun. And hey, it's only the first year! Maybe we'll see more next year.

Here are my favorites of the fic I've read:
The Day After That. Underground, 1.5k, Teen.
This one was written for me, and so of course it is MY FAVORITE. A Rosalee character-study set after the end of Season One, which somehow manages to include both Rosalee/Noah and Rosalee/Cato and makes them both so beautiful and true. I really loved this lovely little piece, and highly encourage you all to check it out.

And speaking of Underground, it's now available on Hulu! So if I've ever made it sound appealing, it is now much easier to watch.

If We Go, We Go Together. Leverage, 2.1k, Teen. A wonderful OT3 werewolf AU, complete with H/C, cuddling in a hospital bed, and Eliot expressing tender feelings through threats.

The Earth Will Reach The Sky. Sorcerer to the Crown - Zen Cho, 1.6k, G. An absolutely excellent portrayal of the marriage between Prunella and Zacharias after the end of the book, with Zacharias being sweet and lost in his thoughts and Prunella being an unstoppable force, and also there are flower crowns. I adored this fic; the writing style is just gorgeous.

You're My Type. Psych, 4.8k, M. Shawn attempts to seduce Gus, but does a fairly terrible job of it. I'm not very familiar with Psych's canon – I've seen a few episodes but no more than that – but I still enjoyed this funny story of bad Halloween puns, pining, and stolen plants.

Dirty Jobs. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, 3.2k, G. An excellent character study of Finn, pre-movie, with lots of world-building and interesting new details and, of course, foreshadowing of the changes to come. Very well-written and engaging, with just a little bit of the chill of a brainwashed soldier working for space Nazis.

I would offer to let people guess which story I wrote, but I'm afraid it's far too obvious. Are there any others you particularly enjoyed, though? I haven't had time to go through the whole collection.

Hadestown

Jul. 15th, 2016 04:24 pm
brigdh: (Default)
Last weekend, I went to see the off-Broadway production of "Hadestown", a 1920s-esque folk opera retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice. That's a lot of elements for one show, but yes, really. And it works. It's based on a 2010 album by Anaïs Mitchell, which you can listen to here, but which is fairly different from the show as it exists now.

It is the best thing I have seen/heard/read in ages, and I want everyone I know to see it immediately so that I can talk about it with more people. Which I realize is a problem, because a) most of you don't live in NYC, and b) it's only running until the end of the month. So! Let me tell you about it.

The Orpheus/Eurydice plot plays out fairly close to how it does in the myth: we see them meet, fall in love through Orpheus's music, Eurydice descends to the Underworld, Orpheus chases after her, they convince Hades and Persephone to let them leave – with, of course, the caveat that they only escape if Orpheus doesn't look back – and then the tragic ending. The biggest change is in how important the Hades/Persephone relationship and myth is to this play; they become at least co-leads, if not the central figures.

The setting does a lot of work, though it's more in feel and symbolism than plot points. Orpheus is the great musician, still – but he's also a penniless romantic that is not particularly concerned with figuring out how to support himself and his new wife, which is a problem in the Depression-esque "Hard Times" of this story. His eventual look back that loses Eurydice – I don't want to spoil too much, but whew, the show has no sympathy for him. It's absolutely savage. In the first act, he's strongly paralleled to Persephone. She seems to be the same sort of feckless dreamer as Orpheus, and Amber Gray, her actress, plays Persephone as a drunken flapper girl who treats summer like an unending party with her as the star. Here's a photo.

Hades, on the other hand, is the god of work and railroads and industry and factories; "Who makes work for idle hands?" he sings at one point, and yes, he is also much more of a Devil figure here than in the original Greek myth. His underworld is a place where dead souls endlessly build a wall – there's no particular need for a wall, you see, it's work simply for the sake of work.

We build the wall to keep out of the enemy, Hades tells his followers, in a catechism-like song, and then asks, "What do we have that they should want?"

The response is:
"We have a wall to work upon!
We have work and they have none
And our work is never done
My children, my children
And the war is never won
The enemy is poverty
And the wall keeps out the enemy
And we build the wall to keep us free."

(YES I KNOW. But this song was written in 2010 and is not actually about the Trump campaign, despite any and all horrifying similarities.) Here's a link to the show's version of this song, which everyone should absolutely listen to.

In this version of the story, Eurydice does not so much die as sell her soul to escape hunger and cold – that's her belting out the final verse of Why We Build the Wall, zealous in her temporary seduction by the underworld's affluence. She and Persephone are both quite explicitly creatures kept in gilded cages, trading freedom for luxury. And they are both, in different ways, furious about the world that took away their choices. They both feel lied to by the men they're in a relationship with (this show really has no sympathy for men in general, it's amazing). The difference between them is that Eurydice still has hope for Orpheus, while Persephone hates Hades in the way that only comes from love that's died.

However, Persephone is after all a goddess and vastly more powerful, and when Eurydice and Orpheus's story has ended, hers still goes on, repeating its summer/winter cycle forever. It's ambiguous as to how complicit she is in the humans' fates; there's more than a tinge of A Midsummer Night's Dream here, the supernatural creatures playing out their own cold war through the proxy of hapless mortals. Persephone loudly announces her hatred for the underworld and Hades throughout the show, but her constant use and pushing of alcohol called to my mind the tempting forgetfulness of Styx. In one song she sings to a nameless soul, half-promising and half-mocking:

"Come here, brother, let me guess
It's the little things you miss
Spring flowers, autumn leaves
Ask me, brother, and you shall receive.
Or maybe these just ain't enough
Maybe you're looking for some stronger stuff
I got a sight for the sorest eye
When's the last time you saw the sky?"

After all, what stops you from escaping more than a little false relief?

The casting is diverse – both Eurydice and Persephone are mixed race black women, in another parallel – and all of the acting was amazing. Nabiyah Be (Eurydice) does so much with tiny facial expressions that felt like they shouldn't carry out to the whole theater, but she was absolutely magnetizing. And I haven't even had a chance to mention Hermes (Chris Sullivan)! He, along with the three Fates, works as narrator and storyteller and Greek (ha) chorus, and is also fantastic. The show is done as theater in the round, and all of the actors frequently wander up and through the audience, but Hermes in particular is a literally felt presence. He stomps on the boards, shaking all of the seats, to underline both the beat of the music and the thump-thump of a railroad.

Everyone was great! I desperately want more people to see this, mainly for selfish reasons including but not limited to: they will write interesting meta for me to read, they will produce a cast album, they will make this the next big theater fandom. I know it's a bit pointless for me to recommend this, since again most of you probably won't be able to see it, but I can't help but do so. It's just so good! If you have an chance, absolutely check it out.

Fic Recs

Jun. 18th, 2016 05:12 pm
brigdh: (Default)
Some things I've read recently that I enjoyed and want to pass on:

Small Kindnesses by ophelia_interrupted. Benjamin January, Hannibal/OFC, E, 1.6k. YES THERE IS A NEW BENJAMIN JANUARY FIC AND IT IS REALLY GOOD. :D Why has no one else read this? It's fantastic! EVERYONE CHECK THIS OUT AND SQUEE WITH ME BECAUSE I LOVE IT.

Singing the Lord's song in a strange land by Nary. Based on a song, but you can easily read it as original fic. M, 1.4k. An absolutely beautiful story about slavery and mermaids (or something darker!) and motherhood and just, this is so great. You should absolutely give it a chance.

Red Sky at Morning by thewalrus_said. A sequel to Shakespeare's 12th Night, written in script format. T, 14.5k. This is just excellent! I love the plot, I Iove the characterizations, and I love the romance. Really worth reading if you have any fondness for the original play at all.

Double Negative (Eliza/Jefferson, 4k) and its sequel, An Unconventional Relationship (Eliza/Jefferson/Hamilton, 10.7k), by holograms. Hamilton: a musical, E. This is not a pairing that would ever have occurred to me, but by God, this fic has converted me. It's so hot and well-characterized and sympathetic and funny and sad and did I mention hot? Because it is. Yes. Highly recommended.
brigdh: (Default)
What did you just finish?
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Yes, yes, I know: somehow I made it to adulthood having never actually read this before (I did see the Studio Ghibli movie? But they're different enough that I don't think that counts), or any other book by Jones. Feel free to rec one if you think there's any I should particularly read!

I hardly think I need to summarize this, but just in case: Sophie is the eldest of three children and therefore according to the rules of fairy tales, which she knows very well, nothing interesting or successful will ever happen to her. And so it seems at first: Sophie works in her family hat store, while her younger sisters are given interesting apprenticeships, one to a witch and the other to a baker. And then one day Sophie encounters the Witch of the Waste, who – for no reason Sophie can tell – puts a curse on her that turns her into an old woman and prevents her from telling anyone what happened.

Sophie takes this as an excuse to leave home, and ends up at the residence of the Wizard Howl, the titular moving castle. She has been always told that Howl is heartless and eats young women's souls, but that turns out to be an exaggeration. Sophie makes herself at home as a sort of maid/cleaning lady, and makes friends with the castle's other occupants, Calcifer the fire demon and Howl's apprentice Michael. They travel about, having assorted adventures, until Sophie realizes that Howl is also under a spell cast by the Witch of the Waste, which leads to a magical showdown and, of course, a happy ending for everyone.

(Well, not the Witch, I suppose. But everyone else!)

The real charm of the book is less the plot and more the characters and their interactions. I saw it called "fantasy slice of life" somewhere, and it is very much that; there's a great many pages spent on bacon sandwiches and cleaning supplies and tantrums over hair dying gone wrong, and yet it's all very nice to read and endlessly comfortable. I had been about to say that it was more "middle grade" than I usually read, but on thinking that over, it actually contains some fairly complex ideas. I think it's just that the writing style itself has a childlike quality. I did not see the ending romance coming until it was suddenly there, happening, but it's too sweet to dislike, so I'm on board.


Before We Visit the Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. A novel of three women from three generations of the same family. In 1950s rural Bengal, Sabitri is a poor but intelligent student, who lucks into a scholarship for college in Kolkata. In 1970s Kolkata, Sabitri's daughter Bela falls in love with a student leader of the Communist Party, and elopes with him to America when his life is threatened. In the late 1990s/early 2000s, Bela's daughter Tara drops out of college after her parents' divorce and goes through a string of years taken up with shitty boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and drugs.

The three timelines are interwoven, with events happening to one woman often reverberating down to have consequences in her daughter's life. In addition to the women themselves, secondary characters appear to occasionally take over the point of view: friends, husbands, employers, and so on. The ending, when revelations from all three generations crash together into one moment, felt a little too easy, but emotional nonetheless – like a Hallmark commercial that makes you cry even while you know it's cheesy.

I've read several other books by Divakaruni before, and I'm generally a fan of her writing, but this one seemed slighter than usual. It was pleasant enough while I was reading it, but now that it's done, I can't think of much to say about it. Ah, well. I suppose it's one of those books that has nothing exactly wrong with it, but doesn't do much good of note either.
I read this as an ARC via NetGalley.


Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett. The 14th book of the Discworld series, and we're back to the witches! This time, in the tiny rural kingdom of Lancre, Magrat Garlick is engaged to the king but not quite sure if the life of queen is really for her; Granny Weatherwax is distracted by signs that she's going to die soon (witches know these things, you see); and Nanny Ogg is just generally Nanny. However, the royal wedding plans are interrupted by arrival of elves – not grand Tolkien elves, not tiny flower fairies, but the elves of changelings and Tam Lin and fairy gold: nasty and brutal and utterly untrustworthy.

What particularly stood out to be this time (though it's hardly unique to this book) is the sheer number of themes and ideas Pratchett can weave into a single narrative. Here we have: a parody of Midsummer Night's Dream, thoughts about folklore and elves (of course), beekeeping, parallel universes, crop circles, stone circles, magnetism, the problems and power of romanticism, why humans like cats, the cost of being the very best at something, and probably several more that I missed.

I keep having to fight my first impression of Pratchett as an easy read – and he is very readable! But it's like Picasso reverting to line-drawings. You really have to know what you're doing before you can get back to basics.And on that note, words I had to look up in a book I must have already read a dozen times:
Castors: each of a set of small wheels, free to swivel in any direction, fixed to the legs or base of a heavy piece of furniture so that it can be moved easily. (So that's what those things are called!)
Chicane: an artificial narrowing or turn on a road or auto-racing course.
Ablation: the loss of surface material from a spacecraft or meteorite through evaporation or melting caused by friction with the atmosphere.

I love this book, from I ATE'NT DEAD and Only one queen in a hive! Slash! Stab! and The price for being the best is always…having to be the best and Nanny waving a bag of sweets to interrupt Granny and Diamanda's 'who's the best witch' competition, and the utterly horrifying nature of Pratchett's elves. He's the best at conveying terror through indirectness:
It was still alive. Elves were skilled at leaving things alive, often for weeks.

And just so you know, I am STRONGLY RESISTING quoting the entire final confrontation with the elf Queen. But it's tempting!


What are you currently reading?
Theoretically, I am reading This Divided Island: Stories from the Sri Lankan War by Samanth Subramanian, another NetGalley book.

Practically, I am reading World Ain't Ready, a Les Mis High School AU with fake-dating. It is 185k long. You guys, that is longer than The Fellowship of the Ring. It also holds the record for being the first fic I've bothered to load onto my ereader (I usually keep the fic on my computer and the books offline, but now I've broken the barrier). It seems nice so far! But I'm only on chapter 3.
brigdh: (Default)
A few more stories that I didn't manage to finish before reveals, but which are still very excellent and worth reading:

Split-tongued, Venom-survived (4646 words) by Ias
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Female Vampire/Female Vampire Hunter
Additional Tags: Blood Drinking, Enemies to Lovers, Tribadism, Banter
Summary: The time comes when Aida makes the journey again, to the house in the woods where hunger lives.
This is quite dark, but really lovely. I adore all the worldbuilding and complex relationships that have gone into this piece; it really feels more like a section from a novel than a short story. But in a good way!


In Dreams (4646 words) by thedevilchicken
Fandom: Labyrinth
Rating: Explicit
Warnings:
Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Jareth/Sarah Williams
Additional Tags: Explicit Sexual Content, Power Dynamics, Post-Canon, Aged-Up Character(s), Age Difference, Bondage, Masturbation, Frottage, Femdom, Riding, Woman on Top, Semi-Public Sex, Identity Issues, Porn With Plot
Summary: Sarah thinks she's moved on with her life. Jareth wants to prove she hasn't.
This is the Labyrinth sequel that I never knew I needed, but I really REALLY DID. Seriously, you guys, this fic is AMAZING. Jareth comes back to Sarah's dreams years later, when she's an adult, and this time she has all the power. (I guess she did the first time too, but now even MORE so.) It's incredibly well-written, exteremly hot, and even if you have never seen Labyrinth, you should totally read this. Fantastic story.
brigdh: (Default)
Title: Flesh of My Flesh
Ratings/Warnings: NC-17 for explicit f/f sex
Fandom: Strange Empire
Pairings: Kat Loving/Isabelle Slotter
Notes: This is the story I wrote for the Smut Swap exchange! Sanguinity asked for this pairing with "Accidental Soul Bonds", and I had a lot of fun writing it, though I've never written the fandoms or the trope before. I'd enjoyed watching the show so much that it was really nice to write for it, and the trope was a lot of fun to play with. Also many thank yous to within_a_dream and thewalrus_said for being excellent betas! This is an AU that takes off immediately from the point in canon of the marriage between Isabelle and Kat.


Summary: In a world with soulbonds, a marriage of convenience carries extra risks....

6413 words. Also available on AO3.

Flesh of My Flesh )
brigdh: (Default)
I participated in the Smut Swap exchange, which opened last week. And there are tons of great fic to read – you should all check it out!

Here are my favorites – so far! I haven't finished reading through the collection yet, but I wanted to put up some recs before the authors were revealed.

First off, here is the fic written for me:
Other Romantic Verbs (5051 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Leverage
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Alec Hardison/Parker/Eliot Spencer
Additional Tags: Established Relationship, Banter, Porn with Feelings, Dom/sub, Femdom, Begging, Handcuffs, Pegging, Obedience, Lipstick on Men, Trying to Stay Quiet, Roleplay, Praise Kink, Romance, 5+1 Things
Summary: “Love, kisses, snuggles, other romantic verbs.” Five unusual ways Parker, Hardison, and Eliot expressed their love for each other, and one way that was almost normal.
THIS FIC IS SO GOOD. It's incredibly hot, full of all my favorite kinks, and also is really well-written and has lots of nice characterization details. If you have ever seen Leverage, you should totally give this a chance.

[art] something useful (1 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Original Female Character/Original Female Character
Additional Tags: Pirates, Sex With Prisoner, light bondage with heavy chains, Extremely Dubious Consent, Art
Summary: Female Pirate/Female Stowaway - The Captain makes her earn her passage.
Very hot, very NSFW art. Pirate f/f is the best thing!

Not Found in the Official Record (2344 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Martian - All Media Types
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Chris Beck/Mark Watney
Summary: Beck is a slob. Watney is grateful.
A very funny, hot (I feel dumb describing all these recs as "hot", but it's smut swap, of course they are!) first-person story. This does a great job of capturing Watney's voice, and is completely plausible.

Genuflection (4442 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Jesus Christ Superstar - All Media Types
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Jesus Christ/Judas Iscariot
Summary: Judas worships on his knees.
Incredibly hot Jesus/Judas modern AU porn. This is very sexy, but also has interesting things to say about religion and belief and the difference between man and god. I really liked how Judas was characterized, and the ending was heartbreaking – but, of course, exactly what had to happen. Note: archive-locked.

A House Of Nettles (6430 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings - All Media Types, The Silmarillion and other histories of Middle-Earth - J. R. R. Tolkien
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Tar-Míriel/Éowyn
Additional Tags: Cunnilingus, Vaginal Fingering, Slap Slap Kiss, Power Dynamics, Psychological Horror
Summary: Éowyn is not healed. Inside of her, something hungry lives on.
This one is more sad and scary than hot, but it's incredibly well-written and absolutely worth reading. I found this to be an excellent twist on the canon ending. It's just a fantastic slow-build of creepiness and plausibility.

Running on empty (4078 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Mad Max Series (Movies)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Nux/Max Rockatansky

Additional Tags: Necrophilia, Magical Healing Cock, Dream Sex
Summary: Max likes the kind of company Nux provides; such a light presence on the mind.
Necrophilia is not a kink that I'm particularly into, but I just adored how this fic used it to give the movie a happy ending. I mean, I guess the ending is already kind of happy, but this one is much happier! Really nice writing, and both Max and Nux are excellently characterized.

Prenuptials (4530 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Goblin Emperor - Katherine Addison
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Cala Athmaza/Deret Beshelar/Maia Drazhar
Additional Tags: First Time, First Kiss, Intercrural Sex, Threesome - M/M/M, Threesome, Blow Jobs, Hand Jobs
Summary: Rumors are forever swirling in the Untheileneise Court. On this night, Maia's nohecharei intervene to dispel a particularly vicious one.
HOT. Hot! That's all I have to say about this, really. It's a premise that I've read before, but this author does a particularly good job with it, with lovely, detailed descriptions and a good handle on the action.

The Art of Apologies (6797 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Hamilton - Miranda
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Alexander Hamilton/Thomas Jefferson
Additional Tags: Hate Sex, Asshole Spanking, Dirty Talk, Power Play, Size Kink, Spanking, Face Slapping, Riding Crops
Summary: The truth about their meetings, Hamilton thought, wasn't that he was desperate for the votes Jefferson had provided.
It was the fact that Jefferson was so desperate for him that made Hamilton seek this out again and again. After all, why demand such a personal payment for what had been a simple political transaction?
OH MY GOD. If you enjoy hate-sex at all, you have to read this fic. It is so well-written, funny and hot and perfectly in-character and just yes. YES. Don't miss this one.

New Normal (1830 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Phryne Fisher/Dorothy "Dot" Williams/Jack Robinson/Hugh Collins, Phryne Fisher/Jack Robinson, Hugh Collins/Dorothy "Dot" Williams
Additional Tags: Pegging, Praise Kink, Begging
Summary: Jack tries not to think too hard about why he can't sit down at work. Surely it's because he's been knocked down repeatedly by bank robbers.
This story is, once again, hot, but what I really like about it is how perfectly characterized everyone is. Phryne and Dot particularly are perfectly captured, and it made me laugh out loud to read.

Recommended by Galen and Avicenna (7345 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Elizabeth MacMillan/Original Female Character
Additional Tags: Orgasm Delay/Denial, Praise Kink, Overstimulation, Vibrators

This one is pretty much pure PWP, but hey: sometimes that's what you want! :D It's very readable even if you don't know the canon (and in fact half of the pairing is an OC), so if you have any interest in historical f/f porn, this is a great story. I loved how it encorporated some of the awkward details of real-world sex while still being incredibly hot.

With every waking breath (3480 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Les Misérables - All Media Types
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Javert/Jean Valjean
Additional Tags: Somnophilia
Summary: Javert has always been good at resisting temptation. Until he started sharing a bed with Valjean.
A very sweet story. I really loved the build of emotions here, and how the sex reflected the depth of the relationship.

Shake it off (2273 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Star Wars Original Trilogy
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Lando Calrissian/Han Solo
Additional Tags: Deepthroating, Semi-Public Sex, Hand Jobs, Male Homosociality, treat
Summary: Han is very predictable, something Lando's already come to depend on.
This story is hilarious, and had spot-on characterization. I loved the Lando voice, and the sudden sharp break into deeper emotions at the end.

i'll cut your little heart out (1667 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Female Private Eye/Femme Fatale
Summary: She doesn’t want to feel loved, and you don’t want to love her.
The nice thing about the original fic is that you can just focus on the porn! :D This story has a great noir detective voice, very hot sex, and really made me want more of the characters and the world.

Beneath Three Moons (2933 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Rape/Non-Con
Relationships: Male Hero/Male Villain
Additional Tags: Sex With Prisoner, Interracial Relationship, Science Fiction
Summary: Abandoned for dead on a desolate moon by his people, Jevai 316 discovers an unexpected attraction to his captor, a notorious mercenary and assassin.
Another story that I would happily read a whole novel of! The writing here is fantastic, and I really enjoyed the world-building and interaction of the characters. It's more mild dub-con than rape (Jevai is definitely attracted), if you're worried.

A Question of Time (2402 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: Original Work
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence, Major Character Death
Relationships: Female Sacrifice/Goddess
Additional Tags: Death Fetish, Knifeplay, Blood Kink, Religious Icons, Explicit Sexual Content, Blood and Violence, Horror
Summary: Tai lives and dies to serve her goddess.
I'd describe this as less porn and more simply a horror story, but it's really good. The writing is beautiful and creepy and awful, and it gave me shivers. I loved the resolution.

Misery Acquaints (10660 words) by Anonymous
Fandom: The Hateful Eight (2015)

Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Chris Mannix/Marquis Warren
Additional Tags: Post-Canon, Explicit Sexual Content, Racist Language, Period-Typical Racism, Homophobic Language, Internalized Homophobia, Explicit Language, Canon-Typical Violence, Blood, Blow Jobs, Dubiously Consensual Blow Jobs, Intercrural Sex, Gunplay, Anal Sex, Spit As Lube, First Time, Scars, Sharing a Bed, Consent Play, Humiliation, Verbal Humiliation, Enemies to Lovers, Intentionally Bad Spelling & Grammar
Summary: It wasn't the start of a beautiful friendship.
This fic is SO GOOD. SO GOOD. It's probably my favorite of the collection – other than my own gift, of course! :D – which is surprising because I never, never would have seen myself shipping this pairing. But this story makes their coming together so completely believable: the voices and the description and the kinks are all perfectly well-suited to the canon, the writing is amazingly good, it's a nice long slow-build, and just I love it love it love it. It's a fantastically well-done story.
brigdh: (Default)
Title: Once Upon a Time in India
Ratings/Warnings: G
Fandom: Fairy tales. Specifically, the story of The 12 Dancing Princesses.
Notes: I wrote this story months ago, but it just occured to me that I forgot to make a post about it, and so here we are!

Written as a treat in Yuletide 2015 for lalalalalawhy, because her letter asked for a Bhangra AU, and that was too cool to pass up. I wrote this at the very last minute – in a few hours on Christmas Eve – and made it into the archive with only minutes to spare, but it was a lot of fun nonetheless.

Summary: The twelve dancing princesses aren't going to a castle with princes. They have an entirely different destination.

3515 words. Also available on AO3.



Once Upon a Time in India )

Fic recs!

Oct. 1st, 2015 05:31 pm
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
A few stories I've enjoyed lately:

Accomplished Women by Celandine. Mansfield Park, music, and Fanny. This is a lovely drabble that was written to my prompt, and I want you all to appreciate it as much as I do.

What's Not Televised, also by Celandine. Hunger Games, Haymitch/Katniss, G, 400 words. This is a pairing that I'm secretly totally into, and this story captures the appeal so very well.

The Bed We Loved In was a Spinning World by amo-amas-amat. Mansfield Park, Fanny/Mary, E rated, 2.6k. Because everyone needs more Jane Austen femslash in their lives! This is sweet and delightful and a lot of fun.

I’ll Squeeze You a Cup Full of Diamond Juice by Edonohana. Narnia, gen, 4.8k. A beautiful exploration of a part of the Narnia series that I, personally, had completely forgotten. This story really captures the style and wonder of the original books.

oh don't you dare look back, just keep your eyes on me by suzukiblu. MCU, Darcy/Bucky, E rated, 37.4k (so far). This story is made up of so many things that I normally don't like: it's MCU fandom, for one, plus it's A/B/O, mpreg, and a seemingly-abandoned WIP. And yet it's so compellingly readable that I devoured the whole thing in a day or two and now I wish I had more of it. Come and join me!

(sometimes) the knife cannot be seen by anonymous. Mack the Knife, Mack/Tiger, E rated, 1k. (Also, note the tags before reading! It comes with warnings.) This is a dark and disturbing story but, I'm not gonna lie, also totally hot. I considered not reccing it for that reason, but whatever, let's all own our weird kinks: it's what fandom is for. If breathplay without healthy boundaries sounds like your kind of thing, this is the story for you.

Fic Recs!

Aug. 7th, 2015 02:47 pm
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Here are some stories I've been enjoying recently, and that you should read as well:

Passage by bigsunglasses. The Goblin Emperor, gen, 14.8k.
Released from his role as Prince by the birth of a son to the Emperor and Empress, Idra is allowed to attend university. But he can't escape his past so easily, or perhaps at all, particularly not when he meets someone who walks under a similar shadow ...
Three years post-canon.

A really wonderful extrapolation of world-building and character. It's thoughtful and kind and full of excellent H/C.

you dared not look. a human voice, / you thought by inkandcayenne. True Detective (Season 1), Rust-focused gen, 28.8k.
At North Shore they called it repetition compulsion: the desire to throw himself into a ravine because at least he recognized the landscape. They warned him that he would do this again, and again, and again if he wasn’t careful. “It’s like you’re always bracing for a fight,” Laurie said once, “and if it doesn’t happen, you create one.” Sophia’s blood on the driveway, Marty’s blood in the parking lot, Psyche with her goddamn lamp, poking at a good thing until it’s scorched and screaming. There’s only one story, the oldest: “You climb a tree too high for you,” his pop said, as he passed Rust a bottle of whiskey and began to splint his arm, “you best be prepared to fall and get hurt.”
I haven't even watched True Detective, I just follow the gifs on tumblr. And occasionally read the fic. That said, this is a gorgeous, moving story, interweaving myth and poetry with the grit and violence of Rust's life, and an eventual sort of peace. I always love inkandcayenne's writing, and this is a great example of it.

Romeo and Ethel the Pirate's Daughter: Draft 2 (With Comments) by ryfkah. Shakespeare in Love, gen, 0.9k.
What has occurred to bring me to this pass?
For on my life, I cannot make it out.
[PERHAPS BECAUSE THE RELEVANT SCENES ARE MISSING FROM THIS PLAY, WILL]

And now for something totally different! A short, hilarious piece that I just loved.

Kill Not the Moth nor Butterfly by within_a_dream. Benjamin January mysteries, gen, 1.2k.
It is fall 1832, and New Orleans has long since fallen to hordes of the undead. Rose Vitrac has built herself a home in a wreck of a city, and after an encounter in a bookstore, this home gains one more resident.
This is my "if you read only one" fic of this post! FINALLY THERE IS A ZOMBIE AU FOR THIS FANDOM. (Although, uh, zombies have not actually appeared yet.) Instead this is a lovely quiet piece about survival and friendship, and I just love the interactions between Rose and Hannibal. Also it has Cora in it! Who doesn't love Cora?
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
I got a wonderful, lovely fic as part of the Night on Fic Mountain exchange, and I want to rec it to all of you:

On the Other Side of the Jungle: The Road to El Dorado, Tulio/Chel/Miguel, G rated, 3k.
Our trio of explorers finds a hidden village! They think their days of wandering in the jungle are over, but their hostess is not all she seems.

Fic Recs!

May. 15th, 2015 05:32 pm
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
A few fics that I've enjoyed recently:

Investigation Report of Sergeant E Rilz by NightsMistress. Guardians of the Galaxy, gen, 4.2k.
I beta'd this, so I am obviously not objective, but this is an absolutely delightful fic that everyone should read. The Guardians cause trouble wherever they go; this might be a minor escapade, but it's still hilarious to read about. A wonderful story.

the revelations in your skin by afterism. Frozen, Elsa/Hans, 105.8k.
Okay, look, if someone had told me I would become obsessed with a novel-length Frozen fanfic, I would not have believed them either. But you guys. This fic. IT'S SO GOOD. It's hot, it's emotional, it's got a plot and a slow-burn relationship and beautiful writing, the characterization is note-perfect, it's absolutely everything I didn't know I wanted. It's got a D/s relationship (with femdom!) which personally I've gotten kind of tired of reading about, because so much fic these days is about D/s, but this is by far the best depiction of that sort of relationship I've read. It's believable, it's not just a cookie-cutter pattern but actually tied to these specific characters and the development of their specific relationship, it's well-done, and of course, it's totally hot. I loved this fic so much and I just want to recommend it to everyone.

Wing and a Prayer by Sholio. MCU, Bucky and Sam, 32.2k. I feel like it's relatively rare to read a good fic all about the development of a friendship, but this story does just that, and a wonderful job of it too. I really enjoyed seeing these guys slowly work into knowing and trusting one another.

Fic Recs!

Apr. 3rd, 2015 10:19 am
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
A things I've enjoyed recently:

The Committee to Prepare the Ground by [livejournal.com profile] loneraven. 8500w, gen, Vorkosigan series, Alys, Simon, Gregor, Ekaterin, Helen Vorthys, & ensemble. They were there all along: a secret history of women in Imperial Security. YOU GUYS THIS IS AMAZING READ IT.

A Harp of Bones by within_a_dream. 3k, gen, Benjamin January mysteries. Hannibal, a travelling minstrel, comes across a corpse and finds himself drawn into a conflict by forces far beyond anything he could have imagined. Fairy tale AU! :D

In, and Out. by abbichicken. 1.8k, Jupiter Ascending, Balem/Seraphi, Balem/Jupiter Jones. Read the warnings! A dark but so well-done story.
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
I have read through the all the stories for Ship Swap (well, not all of them. The ones where I know the canon) and here are my favorites! You should read and enjoy them too.

First, of course, the story written for me: unfold the passion of my love: Twelfth Night - Shakespeare, Viola/Orsino, 1.5k. She had intended to sit the masque out. She had not counted on Orsino.
IT IS SO GOOD AND BEAUTIFUL I LOVE IT.

I wanna see you be brave: The Hunger Games, Gen (with slight hints of Prim/Rue), 26.2k. Katniss is fast, and brave, and she never ever thinks more than she has to. It's like she has a whole conversation in her head in a second and acts while Prim is still deciding what to do. On Reaping Day, Prim's brain hadn't even finished screaming no no no no before Katniss' voice overpowered her. Now, Rue's frozen in place but Katniss shoves her, sends her sprawling backwards into the long grass, and the spear drives itself into Katniss' chest. Katniss dies, and Rue wins the 74th Hunger Games. Prim will never forgive the girl who took her sister ... except maybe she will. Maybe Rue isn't the one to blame after all. The genesis of a revolution in four notes.
This is an incredibly wonderful AU, where Prim gets called a second time to the Hunger Games. It's all about grief and anger, slow-growing trust, the choices between violence and cooperation. I love the characterization of everyone here– Prim in particular, but Haymitch and Prim's mother are also just fantastic. Beautifully written, and an amazing story.

Envy of Angels: The Hunger Games, Prim/Rue, 3.4k. When Prim is eighteen, her name is called again.
Another AU with Prim in the Games, I also really love this story, even though it's a very different take on the idea from the previous. Rue and Prim are hard and angry here, but it's still so good and believable.

sing us a song to keep us warm (there's such a chill): The Hunger Games, Haymitch/Katniss, 5.5k. The truth is that, no matter what Haymitch had said to the sponsors and the other mentors, he had no fucking clue how the 74th Hunger Games would end, or what would become of his tributes. He knew that Katniss stood a better chance than anyone 12 had ever seen. What he really didn’t know, what he never could have guessed, was how the tale of the Baker’s Boy and the Poor Seam Girl on Fire would end. Haymitch and Katniss: how things might have been, and how things are.
Another really wonderful Hunger Games AU (which mixes with canon), and a fantastic portrayal of the world and the characters, all angry and desperate and self-loathing. I've only recently gotten into this pairing, but I really love it just as it is in this story.

All Along, I Believed: Tolkien, Galadriel/Gandalf, 7.8k. All of their odd bits fit together in complicated ways. Galadriel loves Lórien, and she loves Celeborn, and in every age of the world she loves the Grey Pilgrim.
An epic story, moving along from the earliest parts of The Silmarillion to post-Lord of the Rings (and doing a wonderful job of mixing book-canon and movie-canon), this is a wonderful look at Galadriel. And her relationship to Gandalf, and to Celeborn, but mostly just Galadriel. Really beautifully written, and with a lovely quiet sense of humor.

Heaven and Earth: Tolkien, Arwen/Tauriel, 1.5k. A princess, an archer and a night under the stars.
A beautiful story that does a great job of evoking Tolkien's language (even if he would never have actually written, you know, a f/f one night stand). I'd never thought of this pairing before, but this story really makes me believe in it.

Dead Wolves Still Have Teeth: Game of Thrones, Sansa Stark/Margaery Tyrell, 6.4k. Margaery Tyrell comes to Sansa Stark after her wedding day for sanctuary. Soon, she and Sansa are closer than ever, but Petyr Baelish is not pleased with this development. If Sansa is to retake Winterfell as Queen of the North, she must become a wolf again, though her direwolf died years ago. But dead wolves still have teeth.
An excellent guess at how the future might turn out, for Sansa, Margaery, Littlefinger, and Daenerys. I really like the characterization of everyone, and find this a totally believable extrapolation.

The First Cut Is the Deepest: Assassin's Creed, Kadar Al-Sayf/Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad, 2.8k. When Altaïr is gravely injured, Kadar eases his recovery most effectively.
Okay, I don't know this canon at all, but I still really enjoyed this story. The writing is gorgeous, particularly in its descriptions of landscape and food, and I like the slow build of the relationship.

come unstrap your broken wings: The Benjamin January mysteries, Rose Vitrac January/Cora Chouteau, 1k. "Rose, please." The call was low and panicked, and it startled her. Her skin prickled with an eerie half-recognition. But the voice was a woman's, and Rose had sworn long ago that her door would always be open for women who needed a place to be safe.
OMG YOU GUYS IT'S BEN JANUARY FIC. ABOUT ROSE. AND CORA. And it's beautiful and tense and all about their connection and SO GOOD.

Links

Mar. 1st, 2014 04:39 pm
brigdh: (I need things on a grander scale)
Some random unrelated links I've collected and want share:

Final Hour - really lovely BtvS vid.

A wonderful rec list of SFF books by female authors.

An interesting post about sex in Colonial America.

An incredibly sad but true comic. It's hila-terrible!

The Uncharted Sea by Mahoni. Bandom (though I totally just read it as original fic), M (for violence/non-con), mostly gen (with subtext), 118k. Absolutely fantastic story. I love the worldbuilding in this- it's a mix of steampunk, sci-fi, and fantasy elements, which seems like it shouldn't work, but which really, really does, and is constructed and revealed in such an well-done way. The backstories and central mystery are given a slow-burn tension that's rare to see so well-done in fanfiction (like, I love fanfiction, but it does tend to specialize in shorter formats). It has many of my favorite tropes- found family, honorable criminals, desperate rescues. There's action and fight scenes and travel and it's just basically a fantastic novel.

Three Days (or The One Where Javert and Valjean Take a Road Trip Through France and Raise a Child) by zamwessell. Les Miserables, E, Javert/Valjean, 36k. Well, the subtitle really says it all, doesn't it? I haven't read much on the JVJ side of Les Mis fandom, but I'm so glad I read this one. It does a wonderful gradual build of affection and love between the two main characters, and the writing is lovely and in-character.
brigdh: (SQUEE!!)
I didn't get around to writing anything for Porn Battle XV myself, but I did skim through most of the entries. Here are my favorites:

Fragments by purple_cube. Hunger Games, Effie Trinket/Haymitch Abernathy, post-canon. Not very porny, but excellent look at both characters and the bond between them.

We Were Born to Die by roisindubh. Hunger Games, Haymitch Abernathy/Katniss Everdeen, Catching Fire-era. Fucked-up and twisted and really, really good.

Pretty in Mink by [livejournal.com profile] browngirl. The Princess and the Frog, Charlotte La Bouff/Tiana. Really sensual and lovely little snippet.

Sinners Have Soul by bring_me_sugar. American Horror Story: Coven, Fiona Goode/Marie Laveau. I wish this was longer, but it's a wonderful, so in-character piece.

With None But Thee by The Librarina. Coriolanus, Tullus Aufidius/Caius Martius. IT IS PORN IN BLANK VERSE. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE. SO HOT.

A Beautiful Fork In The Road by ingridmatthews. Historical RPF, Calamity Jane/Dora Dufran. Oh, this is fantastic. Lovely and gritty and sad and so believable.

Psychology of Erotic Electronic Miscommunication by goldenrod. Community, Britta Perry/Ian Duncan. A hilarious, sweet little story, even if you're not familiar with the canon.

I'm sure I missed some great stories in all the ones posted, so feel free to tell me which ones you liked the best!
brigdh: (Default)
I have actually written a drabble and/or ficlet for every prompt in that fic request meme! This is the first time I've managed to actually respond to all the requests in years, so I feel very accomplished.

Drabbles
For [livejournal.com profile] just_ann_now: Jessica Campion, A dangerous daughter in a leopard print skirt / A Polaroid camera recording the dirt (Suede: Attitude) )
Also on AO3

For [livejournal.com profile] just_ann_now: Richard/Alec, Ever since you left I've thought of nothing else / Been a man possessed by the way your touch felt (Simone White: What the Devil Brings) )
Also on AO3

For [livejournal.com profile] egelantier: Jude/Kit (Untamed - Anna Cowan), Down the stairs the lady came thinking no harm / Lankin he stood ready to catch her in his arm (Steeleye Span: Long Lankin) )
Also on AO3

For [livejournal.com profile] ranalore: Hisoka/Tatsumi/Tsuzuki, Does it matter that our anchors / Couldn't even reach the bottom / Of a bath tub? (Regina Spektor: Sailor Song) )
Also on AO3

For [livejournal.com profile] lady_ganesh: Welcome to Night Vale, I love you, I swear it, I would never lie / But I fear for our lives and I fear your closed eyes (Wakey!Wakey!: War Sweater) )
Also on AO3

For [livejournal.com profile] veleda_k: Hakkai/Gojyo, Now the hard times are behind us / So let's not be alone (Cherry Poppin' Daddies: Hi & Lo) )
Also on AO3


Longer fic-bits
For [livejournal.com profile] somebraveapollo: Gabriel Corbier (Benjamin January mysteries), Momma once told me / You're already home where you feel loved (The Head and the Heart: Lost in My Mind) )
Also on AO3

For [livejournal.com profile] egelantier: Hannibal/Ben/Rose, And even if the morning never comes / My hands are blessed to have touched the sun (Local Natives: Sun Hands) )
Also on AO3

For [livejournal.com profile] lynndyre: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug/Benjamin January mysteries crossover, Wind out of Oklahoma this morning smelled like blood and smoke (The Mountain Goats: Pink and Blue) )
Also on AO3
brigdh: (Default)
Title: All the Daughters of My Father's House
Author: Brigdh
Ratings/Warnings: R, for non-graphic m/f sex scene.
Summary: After their marriage, Kit and Jude find they need to bring Lady Rose back. Kit/Jude.
Notes: Written for Yuletide 2013, for [livejournal.com profile] somebraveapollo. I am very grateful to my beta, Cyphomandra, for working on such short notice!

Untamed by Anna Cowan is an AMAZING Regency romance featuring a cross-dressing duke and a tough, masculine country girl, and you should all read it.

3,103 words. Also available on AO3.



All the Daughters of My Father's House )
brigdh: (Default)
Title: Ain't Gonna Waste My Pleasures
Author: Brigdh
Ratings/Warnings: PG-13, non-graphic violence, references to murder
Summary: Cora and Polly and Willie, and how stories turn in to songs.

Cora was tough as nails and could shoot with a dead-eyed accuracy that put down whatever she aimed at. He’d seen her shoot a man with the same coolness she used to shoot squirrels, and she could handle any sort of gun, from a pistol to that ancient shotgun she kept behind the cabin’s door, long and narrow as Cora herself. It seemed easier to believe she might have acquaintance with ghosts than that she was some sort of secret poet.

Notes: Written for Yuletide 2013, for Lady Anne Boleyn. So much love and gratitude to my betas, [livejournal.com profile] threewalls and [livejournal.com profile] somebraveapollo! And thank you to Silver Queen for a very inspiring prompt.

This story is a crossover between the songs "Pretty Polly" and "Darling Cora" (though you can also read it without canon knowledge!). As with all folk songs, there are approximately a million versions of each. Here are some of my favorites, if you'd like a soundtrack for this story:
Pretty Polly: Ralph Stanley & Patty Loveless | Bert Jansch | Hillbilly Gypsies
Darling Cora: Appaloosas | The Church Sisters | Ed Hicks and Aaron Jonah Lewis

4401 words. Also available on AO3



Ain't Gonna Waste My Pleasures )
brigdh: (Default)
Traditionally one posts Yuletide recs before the reveal. Or at least before it's almost February. Better late than never, I guess.

First off, the stories written for me. Because these are always the best, of course:
The Long Way 'Round by pathstotread. Pitch Perfect, Beca/Chloe, PG-13. Funny and sweet and just the perfect coda to the movie.
Where We're At Is an Act by Snow. Swordspoint, Alec/OMC, PG-13. Bitter and sharp and OMG I LOVE IT.

And now for something different:
No such thing by Vnutrenni. Conan the Barbarian, gen, PG. God, this is a beautiful story. If you think of Conan the Barbarian as the canon of Arnold Schwarzenegger and women in fur bikinis, you need to read this.
Of all the places he had gone in his life, he loved the sea best. As a child of those dark evergreen forests and rolling hills in the hard north, this felt like a small betrayal of his heritage; but violence was his joy, and he shared it with the sea. When storms came, it opened its black throat with howling and threw the beasts that rode its back. Such passions and tumults were Conan's own. Currents were cunning. Waves were hungry tongues lapping the blood from pirates' swords. He could think of no creature more beautiful or ruthless in all the world.

Escapades Out on the D Train by spoilers. Babysitters Club, Claudia/Ashley, PG-13. This is hilarious and nostalgic and perfect and so, so good. There are descriptions of Claudia's outfits! There are absolutely correct NYC details! How can you not love this story?

Alan Grant and Indiana Jones Walk Into a Bar by longwhitecoats. Jurassic Park/Indiana Jones crossover, gen, G. This is so funny and so right and also is exactly like being at an archaeology conference.

Years Gone By by Themistoklis. Candle Cove, gen, R. All of the Candle Cove stories this year were creepy and perfect. But it seems redundant to rec all of them, so I'll choose this one, for being as terrifying as the original and yet taking the idea in a compelling new direction. (By the way, if you like horror at all and do not know about Candle Cove, you can read the original in its entirety here. It's only about 500 words long and yet is absolutely one of the scariest stories I know.)

Le Rouge et le Blanc et le Noir by Quillori. This is not a fairytale, but god, it feels like it should be. The language and the strangeness and amorality of it make it seem exactly like something you should find in an old copy of Grimms' stories.

Run Red by dizzy_fire. I do love fairytale retellings. Little Red Riding Hood + Baba Yaga + horror = amazingness.

Harriet the Spy Has Nothing on Me by psychomachia. Suri's Burn Book, gen, G. The narrative voice here is spot on to the original, with all its snarkiness and allusions and bizarre erudite-ness. Plus crazy plot. What more could you want?
There is a knack to looking nonchalant in New York. A tourist cranes her neck, looking to see what street she's on, a businessman walks briskly, making no eye contract whatsoever, but a person out for a lovely stroll in Manhattan must vacillate between gazing at the wondrous Christmas displays in the window in some sort of drugged awe and dodging the well-meaning passers-by who keep asking her where her mother is. Honestly, if anyone needed someone looking out for their well-being, it was Katie Holmes.

Shipmates by zlot. Hark! A Vagrant, gen, G. This is as hilarious and bizarre and, sadly, hard to explain as the original canon. Which, if you are not familiar with, you should read immediately. It's two comic strips! It won't take you long.

Five Times Tommie Lied to Margo (And One Time She Told the Truth) by oulfis. Apartment 3-G, Tommie/Lu Ann, G. I imagine the venn diagram of people who read Apartment 3-G, people who read fanfiction, and people who read The Comics Curmudgeon is a small one. But, if you find yourself in that intersection, you should not miss this story.

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