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December Meme: Favourite Pros Fics

For the month of December (actually, if I'm honest, any time, any place, anywhere) I am open to all comers:

Ask me a question and I'll tell you no lies (I reserve the right to say,"None of your beeswax!" but I probably won't);


Give me a fan-ish trope or topic and I'll witter on about it.

So far only heliophile_oxon has taken me up on it, asking me to elaborate on my 3 ("or any number really") favourite fics.

I can't think of a question I like less. (Which is one reason I still have not responded to byslantedlight's request in the book meme for my three favourite books.) It doesn't work like that, I want to say. I re-read different books and different fics for different reasons, and at different times and in different moods, without them being all-out favourites (all-out favourite *writers*, on the other hand...) and how do I choose *one* fic/book out of a favourite *series*? (And I like series fiction. I read a lot of historical sagas and fantasy epics and they are very rarely stand-alone.)

Also in fandom, especially, there's a danger in coming clean about your favourite fics, especially if you are relatively new to the fandom. Fandom is a clique, or a group of cliques. And in any clique you have the danger of saying or doing something which marks you as an outsider. There are standards and attitudes and you run the risk of, "God, you don't like *that*, do you?! You can't have any taste!" Shades of being bullied about your taste in music or TV in high school. (I remember the Brit-pop wars of Oasis vs Blur vs Pulp. My first fandom was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - I wrote fic and drew fanart from the first time time I saw the 1990 Movie - but I only discovered the online fandom in my *twenties*. And I liked Buffy, Star Trek (TNG for preference), and Stargate in my time, too. Still do. :D I've spent a lot of time as an outsider and been picked on a lot for it.)

I mean what does it say about me that I don't enjoy Sebastian's fics? I can tell they are well-written, just... they are not a place (or characterisations of the Lads, for that matter) where I want to spend my time. You know? Or what will you think, once you know that, in spite of what I can see in them as less-than-ideal, I all-out enjoy O Yardley's fics: they are just my idea of a good time?

An obvious place to start is with fics I've recommended to a friend who vaguely remembers watching Pros back in the day:

(1) Callisto's Chain of Command (mild d/S, PWP, rimming etc)

Liking this sort of thing in Sherlock-fandom inevitably meant at least one person saying, "But I thought you were Ace?" Yes, yes, I am. I have never, to this day, wanted sex with anyone. I'm of the Cosmo generation: reading magazines which told me I had to know how to pleasure myself before i could expect a man to do it and I set out to give myself an orgasm - and seriously? I have no idea what all the fuss is about. I would *much* rather make and then eat (warm from the oven) chocolate brownies as spend thirty minutes getting "there".  I've *dated* without thinking about kissing and cuddling being foreplay and/or a turn on for other people. I refuse to be labelled as "straight" but I'm also completely open to the idea that one day if I love someone enough I might be willing to have sex because it would be nice for *them*, be "they" a man or a woman. (I watch the Six Nations with my Dad, after all, even though Rugby means *nothing* to me.) If you've never experienced sexual desire how do you know you can't/won't feel it for the same sex?

But what we get out of fic isn't really limited to or by our sexuality, is it? Or why do so many women who define themselves as heterosexual, and some who define as lesbian, read and write m/m slash? M/M sex-scenes give me the opportunity to *experience* sex, sexual attraction and sexual-love, without being expected to put myself in a woman's head/body and experience the inevitable disconnect that, "It isn't like that for me". And the subsidiary: so there must be something *wrong* with me.

I tend to only be able to read d/S *one* way in any of the m/m pairings I read. (And not wider BDSM at all - I don't get pain and bondage as pleasurable on an even more fundamental level than I don't *get* sex.) In Pros I just can't *buy* a submissive Ray Doyle, but the idea that buttoned-up Bodie can and will and wants to let go with someone he trusts completely...

I love fics in which Ray *gives* to Bodie, partly because the only way I can see them working long-term is if it isn't all "Ray sounds off at Bodie when he's worked up" and "Bodie takes care of his Ray", but if it is more equal. Canon notwithstanding (and one of the things which puts "Wild Justice" way down my list of eps in favourite order), as a couple, if not as a partnership, I cannot see a future for them if Bodie closes off and Ray fails to go after him and push. In my experience, even in heterosexual marriages which appear "Doll's House" on the surface, "Little Wifie" takes care of, nurtures and supports the "Big Strong Man" behind the scenes.

And this is just... so good. They are so *them*, and so *right*, even while Ray takes Bodie down and takes control and all the rest. And lines like: “Prick,” he says fondly, slapping Bodie’s backside on the way past. Just because he can, and because Bodie losing his balance and tipping face first into the pillows will never get old.

(2) halotolerant's "Like Gravity (True Before We Knew About It)" (flat-sharing, Bodie POV, first-time)

God, I love this fic. I cannot count the ways in which I love this fic.

I love all of halotolerant's fic, if I'm honest.

But here, I love the *voice* and tone and mood; and her incomparable Bodie POV and how she uses the close-third-person *so* well. My temptation with close-third is always to *tell* too much, to spend too much time just in the character's thoughts and to give them internal monologues and conversations like those I have with myself, but which are probably OOC. (See the over-a-thousand-words I posted previously which are *just* Bodie getting up and ready for work.)

Just how functionally broken her Bodie is but how it's okay because Ray can take everything he has and is. The not *too much* hints and revelations of Bodie's past.

The utter perfection of lines like: "All my lies are true". And this exchange:

"I saved her." Bodie remarked after a while. They'd been waiting almost half an hour in silence, exhausted by expression, their body heat flowing into the wall behind.

Ray shifted a little -- Bodie had almost begun to wonder if he was asleep. "Saved who?"

"A woman in Angola who was going to run across a mine field. I stopped her. I saved her and this kid she had."

"And then what happened?"

It was because Ray knew to ask questions like that. That was half a reason, right there.

"Two weeks later I had to shoot her."

"And did you?"

There was the other half.

(3) Asymphototropic's "Contrary Virtue" (AU; TW: attempted rape; forced drug use; mental health issues)

Like wordstrings' Sherlock fic (which I ADORE), this gives us the Lads a little left of canon. And a little left of sane.

Some writers in their AUs and their versions of canon characters just grab you by the short-and-curlies and drag you along for the ride. The voice, the mood/tone, the style, everything about their fics defies any attempt at logical analysis and comparisons with canon. I am perfectly capable of suspending my disbelief for the duration of an AU fic and then after I shut the page, thinking, "Well, other than names and physical appearance, in what way, shape or form were they the canon characters?" But with this fic I can't even do *that*. It is what it is and this Bodie and Doyle are as they were written and there's an end of it.

And by God do I love this ride - Bodie (SAS, undercover as a merc) and Doyle in Africa. Pre-CI5. There is love of nature and beauty and Africa here; and gritty, less than nice, elements of Real Life; and suffering... but most of all there are two lost souls (lost in rather different ways) finding each other and finding their path.

And oh - that's three. I could do more. Many more. But I'll leave it here for now.


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 10th, 2014 11:36 pm (UTC)
I agree with you about fic. I don't often ascribe to the popular fic in any fandom. When I agree that I don't find Sebastian on my list of fav authors, it's not because of her lack of talent. She writes a good story. I just don't find myself ever wanting to reread and I'm not finished a few. I've hated some stories that are well written, i.e., Consequences. Well written but a horrible story. Not my lads, not in a million years.

Now my fav story I've read a dozen times: Hunted by Devils, which isn't even Pros! But it's the lads in other roles. :)

I've read stories that other people warned me off of and loved them: Redemption.

Stories are so subjective! I say read what you like and enjoy. Life is short.

Dec. 11th, 2014 10:59 am (UTC)
Oh, I *do* read what I enjoy and skip what I don't! Trust me. It's coming out and *saying* what I enjoy that made me nervous. :D

And thanks for the support!
Dec. 11th, 2014 10:07 am (UTC)
That helio, she doesn't start with the easy ones, does she? I have been thinking about questions, but have not come up with any yet.

And in any clique you have the danger of saying or doing something which marks you as an outsider.
I think you must have been so badly burned by Sherlock and Turtles and Britpop (in my day it was Duran Duran vs Spandau Ballet. Oh dear.)

Everything you relate about your previous fandoms makes me think 'I am glad I am in Pros'! It's a small fandom, and new arrivals and new opinions are good things and to be welcomed.

Sherlock fandom seems to consider asexuality more often and more seriously than Pros fandom. As in: we don't, at all! Perhaps because Sherlock is a younger fandom and because you could (still can?) make a case for Sherlock being ace? So perhaps that even attracts people who are, or are somewhere on that spectrum? Or perhaps it's because our guys, quite clearly, are very very far from asexual.

I can see the lads being into some fairly non-standard things, and BDSMy things, yeah, except that I don't see them getting into the whole formalised element and the scene in general. I can see why Chain of Command would do it for you, though, yes, because it works for me, and the reason for that is that they are supremely them all the way through. Or I think so, anyway.

By contrast, Contrary Virtue really doesn't work for me. I think partly because I do not like silent Doyle. There are a couple of others where he doesn't speak (ooh, what a weird storylist that would be) and I don't think I like any of them!

But the joy of it is that you do like it, and that for every story, there is someone who really enjoys that story, and so it is all good!
Dec. 11th, 2014 10:39 am (UTC)
Oh, hello! You posted while I was cogitating *g*

Good points re Sherlock and also re the "non-standard" lads! *g* (FSM but I can hear them talking when Callisto gives them dialogue. She's got their speech rhythms and idiolect down pat, so she has).
Dec. 11th, 2014 11:03 am (UTC)
What does FSM mean when you use it, please? I thought it was Female Seeking Male... but now an Accronym and Abbreviation site tells me it has 47 meanings. :(
Dec. 11th, 2014 11:13 am (UTC)
In helio's case, I strongly suspect 'Flying Spaghetti Monster'. First dreamed up in an argument about the teaching of creationism in American schools, I realised some years ago that it had escaped into the wider world when I saw it drawn onto the side of a tent at a folk festival...

...a tent which turned out to contain people I knew :/
Dec. 11th, 2014 11:18 am (UTC)
... and, yes. Absolutely right *g*
Dec. 11th, 2014 11:17 am (UTC)
Oh, sorry, I never stopped to think about that! I didn't mean to be cryptic. This is a bit of a spill-over from some other (non-fandom) places I hang out on line, I suppose - it stands for Flying Spaghetti Monster *g* So where I might have written/said/thought e.g. "god I hope so!" "god it's freezing cold today - wish I'd put a scarf on" or "oh my god I wish I hadn't eaten that" I tend to type "FSM I hope so" or "FSM but I wish I hadn't eaten that" :-)
Dec. 11th, 2014 11:19 am (UTC)
Ah. Fair enough. I haven't encountered that one before! You live and learn! *G*
Dec. 11th, 2014 10:57 am (UTC)
I think you must have been so badly burned by Sherlock and Turtles and Britpop (in my day it was Duran Duran vs Spandau Ballet. Oh dear.)

I've been verbally/attitudinally/emotionally bullied at school, at university, in my first job, to a certain extent regarding my disability and mental health problems by my Department Director (who wasn't my line manager, but two grades above him) in my last job when I was trying to stay employed; and most recently - only by a couple of people, but I find those sorts of comments stick - in Sherlock fandom.

I've been housebound most of this year so not really mixing with people except online, so I worry that my social skills (never good) are now rusty. And just... I feel vulnerable and a bit scared of people. I'm especially scared of people I *like* because I worry I'll do/say something to make them stop liking me (I've had RL and net friends drop me like a hot potato - often without any explanation.) It feels stupid and immature and I thought I got past all this 15 years ago... but the nerves (terrors) are very much *there*.

Maybe it helps with Pros that we seem to be a (chronologically) mature fandom, compared with many? (That said, my worst bully in Sherlock-dom was 47.)

Sherlock fandom seems to consider asexuality more often and more seriously than Pros fandom. As in: we don't, at all!

There are a lot of fics exploring Sherlock on the A-spectrum and quite a few fans who openly identify as Ace, grey-A and Demi. I only discovered AVEN and that there was an identity for me when I was in my late twenties. Before that, the only label I had was "hypoactive sexual desire disorder" which was (and I believe still is on DSM-V) a diagnosis under "Sexual Dysfunctions & Paraphilias" - which I discovered when studying sexual psychology under my degree, when I was 18.

I'm open about being Asexual here and in discussions, partly for the same reason I'm open about my mental health problems - there is still prejudice, negative assumptions and inaccurate stereotypings (see: the assumption that an asexual can't enjoy PWP fic!)

Also, I've had problems about my asexuality with a psychiatrist, who randomly diagnosed me with PTSD which he decided "caused" my physical disability (PTSD *can* lead to physical pain and mobility problems) and set about trying to find my "trauma". He also wrote a medical report TO MY EMPLOYERS in which he stated that I am a virgin and talked about my "problems" with sex being a contributing factor to all my other probelms. I had to take action to block the report before it was circulated to my (aside from anything else, male) line manager, Senior Manager and Department Director - which then counted as a black mark against my case because I was not being "as co-operative and open" as they wanted.

This makes it, as far as I'm concerned, An Issue. You know?

Yes, Our Guys are not asexual. So very not asexual. :D But I do wonder if I can extrapolate from people's assumptions about what it means (you must be frigid, neuter, "nothing", or "have something wrong with you") and attitudes towards LGBT people and issues in the less open and informed '70s?

Thanks for the support about the fics and fandom! I hope there's *someone* to like every story because I have written 4 A4 pages (so far) of fic inspired by that "Doyle, Smoking" pic Alison posted! (And I really want to find a beta, this time, because I think I've overdone the "thinking" again, like I did with that post-nightmare Bodie...)
Dec. 11th, 2014 10:34 am (UTC)
I'd certainly agree that there aren't (and should not be) any "rules" in a fandom about what/who we like and how we like it! And while it's always nice to find one shares a love of a particular fic or a particular writer, part of the fun is also seeing what fics, writers and characters look like through other people's eyes. Possibly (at least, in part) because of the age of the fandom and the demographic it seems to attract, Pros doesn't seem to do too badly in this respect I think (I mean, for example there is of course one overwhelmingly popular OTP - but I've never seen anyone looked at askance for preferring a different one).

Like sc_fossil, we can probably all come up with at least one fandom "classic" that we don't go for at all and will never re-read! *g*

Anyway, I coincidentally happen to love a couple of your authorial picks beyond measure - Callisto and halo are massively hugely enormously among my all-time favourites, marrying dialogue I can hear with characters and relationships so nuanced and alive I just want to watch them all the time - and all expressed with a wit and fine mastery of language I can only take my hat off to. Like Gravity especially has a place of honour on my kindle *g*

I'm sorry I gave you a horrible question - but hank you for sharing some favourites all the same!
Dec. 11th, 2014 11:16 am (UTC)
I also absolutely adore Callisto's "Into the Fire" and "Five Times Bodie Stayed In Bed...". As you say, she has their voices *spot on* and really does take the *canon* relationship - the attitudes, the snark and bickering, the *partnership* - and extend it into the sexual/romantic relationship of her fics.

And halo... If I could write half as well, I'd die happy.

There are other writers and fics I love massively, but I thought that these three are very different from each other and, as I said, I sent them as a selection box to a friend who knows Pros to try to tempt her into the fandom.

I may - if you liked the idea - do a few more posts on this theme before New Year, since no one else has asked me anything yet. What do you think?
Dec. 11th, 2014 11:37 am (UTC)
If I could write half as well, I'd die happy.
Oh, snap - I am so in awe of some of her stuff!

I sent them as a selection box to a friend who knows Pros to try to tempt her into the fandom.
What a good idea! Hope it works; everyone who enjoys the lads should just see some of the lovely shiny fics and fun we can have in this fandom *g*

And why not indeed - also, maybe post (or cross-post, which I don't really even know how to do, as I am a total technosaur) to one of the comms so more people will maybe dip a toe in. Argh, now which comm would be the more appropriate for discussions of fics ... seriously, I am a Bear of Very Little Brain when it comes to remembering which discussions go where. I really ought to go and remind myself e.g. which is which of the safehouse and ci5hq (I still get them mixed up in my mind) but if you check the descriptions on the ljs of the different comms I'm sure at least one of them would be a possible place for just such a chat.

I find it next to impossible to pick favourite fics myself! It depends on what I'm in the mood to read; there are some I love but can't always cope with, some I love but have re-read too often or too recently and have to leave for a while to come back to later, some I love but which are too short to satisfy right now or too long for the amount of time I've got free ... but mainly because there are just too many fics that I love! *g*
Dec. 11th, 2014 05:55 pm (UTC)
And why not indeed - also, maybe post (or cross-post, which I don't really even know how to do, as I am a total technosaur) to one of the comms so more people will maybe dip a toe in.

I had a freak-out about discussing these fics *here*. I have not yet posted to any Pros comm (though I have commented on other people's posts) and to be honest, I have no plans ever to do so. I'm on the Newsletter watch-list, but even that makes me nervous enough I've been thinking of f'locking all posts.

I assume that people who want to hear what I have to say are here - and other people are welcome to come here. I'm just not read to take a soapbox to Hyde Park Corner and start talking there. (Again, I can intellectually accept that Pros-fandom is not Sherlock, but when you've been told in so-many words that no one wants to hear what you have to say and it's patronising to post Brit-pick and info posts because people are capable of researching these things and if they don't research them they don't matter, and you only want to make these posts because you are arrogant, know-it-all and the written equivalent of in love with your own voice... I've managed to accidentally horribly offended some people in Pros with my posts and comments *here*, too. I'm not scared to hold my opinions, but I am worried about voicing them anywhere I might get the internet equivalent of a black eye!)
Dec. 11th, 2014 06:25 pm (UTC)
Ow! Bloody hell, what an awful way for people to respond to offers to Brit-pick (especially considering that Sherlock is entirely set here and based on Conan Doyle, for goodness sake). Right, I get that - once severely chomped, twice wary! I hope I didn't sound pressuring (I didn't mean to, but sometimes things don't "sound" the same on the screen as in my head).
Dec. 11th, 2014 06:35 pm (UTC)
Heh, no, I didn't feel pressured. :)

Oh and they had an answer for this, too: considering that Sherlock is entirely set here and based on Conan Doyle, for goodness sake)

"The *show* may be English, but the fandom is American." (So why should they worry about vocabulary or how the NHS works, or what a GP does at work, or how many years it took at Oxbridge (in the 90s/00s) to get a Bachelor's degree ("Sherlock was in his fourth year at Cambridge"), or that "Detective" isn't actually a *rank* in the Met, or that it's Met not MET, or that DOCTOR Watson wouldn't be a *surgeon* etc???)

And it wasn't just me offering to Brit-pick, it was me posting meta and waffle (e.g along the lines of our chat in your LJ about ads and pop culture) too. Even doing it here, not on the comms.

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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