Shalott, Behind Blue Eyes (vid)
The only reason I haven't recced this before is that she used to discourage linking to it, but apparently the coast is clear now. The only Ethan/Giles vid I know, moody and effective with amazing technical polish.
Lara Dean-Brierly, Naming the Demons
An imaginative, empathetic look at the life of the Korean Slayer mentioned in "The Puppet Show." It's always fascinating to see the different conflicts slayerdom poses for girls of different cultures, and Lara D-B presents this case vividly and touchingly. This doesn't quite fit into canon if the person she's with at the end is supposed to be the future puppet, but that's a minor concern.
Christina Kamnikar, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Mazatlan.
I really haven't been reading much Buffy fic lately, since I stopped watching the show altogether after the S6 finale. However, this is a riff off that finale. Christina shows how it's the small choices, the day-to-day, mundane things, that really determine your moral direction, or lack of it (as opposed to, say, hanging on a cross and raving). I also really liked the sense of Jonathan's history with the other characters, and the observations about Sunnydale karma.
To celebrate the opening of Remember Us?, the characters of color fanfic archive, we have this retrorec, Te's hilarious answer to the Mary Sue challenge. What would happen if the Sunnydale crew called on the power of souuuuuuuuuul?
Christina Kamnikar, Chinese Butterfly.
Look! It's a non-retro Buffy rec! I like watching Buffy think things through; I find Christina's presentation of the way her mind works convincing. (Often, these kinds of stories trip writers up; they make the character too intelligent, too insightful, too ready with the references they wouldn't have to hand.) The episode the story is mostly about annoys the hell out of me, but I suspect it would annoy me a lot less (like most Buffy "high-stakes" episodes in the past two years) if the characters actually seemed to consider the implications the way they do here. And, unlike most people, I never hated Buffy--certainly not this season--so I can enjoy the little bit of peace she finds here.
Yahtzee, Acid Trip
Latest in the retro-rec series, "Acid Trip" is a celebration of Xanderifficness, as well as a very fun, well-put-together time-travel story. I normally don't even bother with time travel stories because I don't trust the author to play fair, but this is a good one.
Rowan, Tomorrow We Die
The latest retro-rec. Good look at a minor character and an interesting insight into the Slayer. Some might accuse of it being a PCR, but the lack of change, the impossibility of development, the horrifying sameness, are part of the point of this one; if form follows content, I have no objections.
A. C. Chapin, Alternative Lifestyle
I think I might do a series of these retro-recs, hitting Buffy fics published well before I started reading in the fandom. "Alternative Lifestyle" is the only great Buffy/Giles fic out there. The alterna-Buffy voice is fabulous, and the way she eventually connects with real-Giles is weirdly sweet. Ethan and John Constantine references, as always, a bonus.
A retro-rec; I mentioned it in my blog, so I thought I'd better give it a permanent place here. What sells this story for me is not just the cleverness of the premise (because you can work it out before the end with a little effort) but the subtle characterization work. A fic to remember fondly.
Prophecy Girl, Freakish
Off-kilter tale of the strangest/coolest people in Sunnydale (Giles, Oz, Tara, and Dawn) wandering through a dreamscape. This is a "Dawn is secretly a lesbian" story, a characterization I've never seen much basis for in canon--hence the reservation--but I like the vibe anyway.
A rare believable Giles/Oz. Oz tries to learn something from Giles to help him deal with the wolf. I have to admit I have a special fondness for couch makeout scenes, and this is one of the best. Quietly imaginative, terribly hot.
Awww. This is sweet, Ethan/Giles-style, which is to say, it's got hearts and flowers and blood and drugs and 70s music and hate and obsessiveness. A piece that neatly steers away from the twin E/G pitfalls of ludicrously unrealistic mushiness or equally unrealistic faux darkness. If you need another reason to click on the link, Debchan's Smallville caps (same site) kick ass.
Ann E. Berry, C is for Cordy
Let no one say I'm not open-minded. Giles/Cordelia is a pairing in which I have less than no interest, but this is a slow, sexy, messy story of considerable charm. The narrative voice is sometimes a little shaky and there are occasional small characterization lapses (Giles calling anyone "my lady?" I think not), but, oh rarity of rarity in these sorts of stories, Giles comes across as a mature adult and Cordelia as something intriguingly not quite there yet, but still attractive.
The Spike, Paean
The quiet despair of Giles after Buffy's death is perfect...just how I envision it. Unlike many drabble writers, the Spike actually makes the form work for her; the terseness is most appropriate.
Jessica Harris and Te, Miss Finchley Bent Over
Just good old-fashioned dirty fun. Xander is not, to me, the most slashable of characters, but the comic value of his having a big gay wiggins never fades, and these writers are experts at it.
V. Hayrabedian, Grass
OK, I've got pacing issues, I've got characterization issues...heck, I've probably got issues issues with this story. But it still has a quality that distinguishes it from the masses of stories--a genuine sorrow and regret at its heart that I believe in even though I don't quite believe in the broader construction of Giles. Furthermore, this is one of those rare post-"Gift" stories in which Giles is not absent, an ineffectual semi-drunk, or a cheerful Dawn-raising shopkeeper. Someone else noticed what ME was trying to do with the character in the S5 denoument! Being the unrepentant Giles-adorer that I am, I'd probably rec this story for that alone.
Jennifer-Oksana, All Things Cold
Again, Jennifer's ability to bring the creep impresses. The best resurrected-Buffy story I've read yet, though it's just a quiet psychological study of persistence in the face of alienation. I still don't quite get why Giles didn't even merit a brief mention, though.
Mrs. Poet, Teeth
A vicious little drabble. Are the changes Spike's going through redemption or mutilation? Or both?
Janete, Border Men
I honestly can't speak with complete confidence about the Constantine characterization, seeing as I've only read two of the graphic novels, but it seems good enough to me. What I can talk about here, and love, is the appreciation of the raw sensuality of the old and the damaged. This is also a rare story in which a past history of sexual abuse for a villain and for a masochist works rather than serving as a cheap, hackneyed justification. I do feel obliged to warn readers, though, that this is a very graphic story; even I had one moment of out-and-out squick.
V. Hayrabedian, Pub Crawl
A lovely, sad piece chronicling a broken Ethan's slow circle round the drain. The Giles characterization strikes me as a bit undersupported, but Ethan's musings on his own mortality have a dreamy, bittersweet rightness to them, and his deterioration is handled with a very light touch. Any reservations I had about his behavior melted away under the ending, so read the whole thing before judging.