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I tend to focus more on the quality than on genre, so you'll probably find samples of many different styles of story here. From the fluffy to the tragic, from the vignette to the epic. The stories I list may not all be the highest art, but they all made an impression on me somehow-- Moved me, fascinated me, grabbed me by the throat so that I couldn't look away or otherwise made themselves at home in my mind.
My tastes tend to be fairly eclectic. I'll at least try just about any story that's recommended to me by a source I know, even if I don't know the original movie/TV show/book(s) at all or have had only minor exposure to it. I also frequently follow authors from a fandom I know into one that's uncharted territory for me. I don't generally read stories because of any great passion for the source material in and of itself-- In fact, I'll read in fandoms with what I consider abyssmal canon. In my experience, deeply flawed source material is often fertile ground for really amazing fanfic, better in some cases than superlatively plotted and written sources.
All of this means that I will sometimes recommend stories that deviate wildly from canon (and may not know that they deviate). My main requirement in that regard is internal consistency. This does include consistency with the bits of canon that the story references, but for a good story, I'm generally willing to ignore the rest.
I do not read fics that center on pop stars or other people who are currently alive or who were alive in the memory of people still alive. I'm just not comfortable with what I perceive as the intrusion into a real person's space. That means I won't be rec'ing them, either.
I like AUs of the sort that deviate from canon at established points, after a specific episode or volume, at a specific event that could have gone differently, with limited specific tweaks to the backstory. I generally avoid AUs that give the characters different backstories in a completely new setting because I don't see the point. There are exceptions, but they're few and far between.
Crossovers appeal to me when they're clever and well written. I want every element to have a purpose in the story and tend to shy away from stories that exist merely as vehicles for the crossover.
I recommend some stories that are sexually explicit (R or NC-17)-- both slash, m/m (yaoi) and f/f (yuri), and het fics-- and many that have only light sexual content or even no particular sexual content at all. There are simply some fandoms in which sexual content just doesn't appeal to me. In general, I find I shy away from explicit fics based on live action sources that I have seen. Somehow, in my head, that strays too close to the actor's personal space. I only seem to be bothered by it, however, if I've seen the source material, and as with most of my preferences, a really good story can overcome the squick. I also can skim past brief sex scenes without being too bothered if I like the rest of the story.
I recommend stories with varying levels of violence. In general, gore doesn't appeal to me, but I'm often fascinated by the psychology of violence and by non-physical trauma and how characters deal with it. Again, a really excellent story can slip past my defenses, and I can overlook short bits of violence and gore that go beyond my usual tolerances if the rest of the story appeals to me strongly enough.
Because of all
this, please read the warnings that authors attach to their fics to be sure of
your own comfort level with the material and so that you can obey the laws of
whereever you happen to live about what you're allowed to read.
When I started this list, I included recs for several works in progress. I have mixed feelings now about directing people to stories that may never be finished or that may change into something that I might not have recommended after seeing the finished work. After consideration, I've decided that, rather than taking down those links and avoiding recommending works in progress in the future, I'll post a warning at the start of the summary: WIP or Work in progress. If you see that, please consider carefully before diving into the story. Some stories with that label update regularly; others have sat untouched so long I can only presume they're dead.
In the beginning, I limited myself to one story or story arc per author per fandom. I tried to pick the author's best (IMO) story to rec at to leave things at that, but I've since decided that that's too limiting, especially for authors whose works are scattered through several different archives or for authors who are still writing new stories which may end up better than the old ones I've rec'd. It helps that I'm breaking out some fandoms to their own pages, so I'm less concerned about conserving space.
I'm not, however, going back in any sort of organized fashion to add more recs by authors who I originally rec'ed under my old policy. That would be too much like work... The fact that I only rec one story by an author may mean that's the only one I've read or the only one I liked but it might equally mean that I was concerned about saving space on my page and thought readers would look at the rest of the author's works without needing to be prompted.
A little history...
The first fan fiction I ever read was due to my participation in a writers' group. Some of it was excellent, some of it was dreadful, and some of it just wasn't to my taste. That was in the days when fan fiction was really only available through paper fanzines, and I never pursued it. I read a little bit of ST: DS9 because a friend wrote it and a bit of Blake's 7 because the same friend lent me some zines.
Then, a few years ago, I became ill for an extended period and ended up bored out of my mind. I wasn't able to get out to the bookstores or the public library, so I turned to the internet for reading material. At the time, I was watching The Pretender daily on TNT, so that's what I looked for first. I read my way through a huge archive (which sadly no longer exists. Otherwise, I'd probably have more Pretender recs), trying at least one story by every author, and then started looking at other fandoms.
I'd seen four episodes of Weiss Kreuz, so I decided to try a few fics there. I found some good ones and got hooked (and then went and rented the DVDs and found them disappointing). From there, I've continued branching out, poking at whatever catches my eye at any given time. Since then, I've wandered through all of the recs pages listed at Recs Rainbow (and poked at its predecessors The Human Filtration System and We Read Shite in a sporadic fashion) and dabbled in stuff rec'ed in various LJ communities, primarily The Crack Van and Try This Fic. I'm sure I'll keep finding new things to draw my attention.
26 October 2004