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    Archive for August, 2007


    August 14th, 2007

    FictonAlley Not So Open

    Just a quick note:

    It appears that FictionAlley is experiencing some technical difficulties, so be aware that those places I have linked to a story there are not really broken, but rather the site entire is experiencing problems.  It looks like it may take them a few days to get back on their feet.  Until that time, be patient with seemingly broken links to stories… hopefully they will all still be there when FictionAlley comes back on line, but I will do a full inventory at that time to check.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 14th, 2007

    Redeeming Time

    Redeeming Time by Minx (Thanks to gomita23 for the new link!)

    Summary: In the year after Sirius plays his trick on Snape, James and his friends confront changes in themselves, in their relationships, and in those around them. Novel Length, Oneshot, 45,725 Words.

    Why You Should Care: Another author tackles the impossible task of the Marauders during their last couple of years at school. What she does not do is give us every excruciating detail, but rather writes four stories that connect into one larger one. This is most assuredly a Remus/Sirius and a James/Lily, but it’s all told from James’ POV, which is an unusual choice for a slash fic. It makes the slash much more palatable for those of us who don’t usually read it, and what’s really well done is that James has to do some mental adjustments as he finds out the truth about Sirius, and later Remus, which is what any young man would have to do when confronted about this by two of his best friends. James has trouble adjusting, and while it might not be as much as real life, it is there where usual slash just sort of bypasses the awkwardness of the situation without a word. Also, I adore James’ parents in this fic, and for the rest of my life I will always believe that his mother was a painter and had just such a room full of paintings of James, canon be damned.

    Why You Might Not Care: The slash is all above board, and while it only just scrapes the delicate chastity of a kiss, it’s most definitely there and dominates the story. The boys seem a little too young throughout, like fourteen or fifteen year-old versions of themselves instead of sixteen and seventeen, and Peter is conspicuously and often absent, but in the end I enjoyed it despite all that, so good on Minx. Me and slash don’t typically get along so well.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 13th, 2007


    Visitors by Lyras

    Summary: At night, Alice dreams of a little boy who brings her tokens of his love when he comes home from school. Oneshot, 1,359 Words.

    Why You Should Care: How do you write a story about someone who’s insane? I have tried it before, and it is not easy, but Lyras does an excellent job of walking the line and lands on a level of crazy that’s just close enough to normal that it breaks your heart, just like the woman who handed Neville bubble-gum wrappers in Order of the Phoenix. She’s almost child-like; completely innocent and unmoved, and I can’t help thinking that this must be the hardest conversation Augusta Longbottom has ever had with her daughter-in-law, for too many reasons.

    Why You Might Not Care: Alice is detached, and so are we, so we don’t feel the hit as well as we should, but I guess at least part of that was intentional. Some people may think Alice isn’t crazy enough, and I say it’s just a matter of degrees, but to each their own.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 12th, 2007

    Christmas on the Dai Llewllyn Ward

    Christmas on the Dai Llewllyn Ward by Emily Anne

    Summary: “Lupin strolled away from the bed and over to the werewolf, who had no visitors and was looking rather wistfully at the crowd around Mr Weasley.” It’s the happiest day of the year, and the bleakest time of his life, until a complete stranger reaches out to him.  Oneshot, 3,911 Words.

    Why You Should Care: A missing scene from Order of the Phoenix.  Remus doesn’t mince words or sugar-coat the facts when he sits down next to a man so recently bitten he hasn’t even experienced the full moon yet, and perhaps a little brutal honesty is just what the doctor ordered.  Remus is quite close to canon here, and the author dares to dig a little deeper into what — exactly — being a werewolf entails.  Most authors tend to side-step the issue, but Emily Anne doesn’t shy away from it at all.

    Why You Might Not Care: It’s a little exposition-y.  And Remus is perhaps a little too willing to talk about his own experiences, and I can never decide if he’s the kind of person who would be open about being a werewolf or if he’s generally closed-mouth about it.  Certainly Harry learns some things, but I wonder if the ease at which Harry puts Remus on those issues doesn’t have a lot to do with Harry looking so much like James.  I wonder at how open JKR’s Remus would actually be in this situation: clearly, he went over there in the first place, but what would the conversation actually have been like?  Emily Anne gives it a try and does quite a good job.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 11th, 2007

    Harry Potter and the Polka Dot Plague

    Harry Potter and the Polka Dot Plague by Marina Frants

    Summary: Harry Potter discovers why polka dots are evil. Severus Snape discovers why it’s a bad idea to forge your medical records. Lucius Malfoy discovers why you shouldn’t give surprise gifts to your boss. Oneshot, 18,966 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is the last of Marina Frants’ Harry Potter fics, and it’s one of those that manages to be entirely too funny while at the same time being almost — but not quite — entirely in character. This takes place sometime after Goblet of Fire and has been made AU by virtue of Order of the Phoenix being published, but it’s still a thoroughly entertaining read. Frants creates the only wizarding illness I’ve ever come across, and manages to make it sound completely canon, which is quite a feat. The interplay between Snape and Harry is some version of canon, though I suspect both — and Snape in particular — have been slightly exaggerated and stretched so as to keep this piece humorous to the end. And it is. Quite funny.

    Why You Might Not Care: As I said, Snape’s character is just slightly off, but I feel it’s an acceptable failing since it has been done to serve the funny. Imagine if the Harry Potter series had been written as a sitcom instead of a drama, and this is what Snape would have been. It’s all a little contrived, but Frants thinks it through and writes it all so convincingly that you end up forgetting it by the end. I wish JKR would make the Skittles canon, so that we can all use it.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 10th, 2007

    The Black Cold

    The Black Cold by Falling Damps

    Summary: In the heat of the summer, Regulus Black relives his past, avoids the present, and looks forward into a future that may not be as unchangeable as it seems. Oneshot, 4,733 Words.

    Why You Should Care: Regulus Black is surrounded by mystery, even through to the end of the books. We only know a few things for sure, and it paints a very vague picture of the boy who was left to be heir of the Black Family by Sirius. Here, Falling Damps gives us a little peak inside Regulus Black and the events just before and just after Sirius ran away and turned his back on his family for good, and Regulus is on the very cusp of regretting his own choice of allegiance.

    Why You Might Not Care: Regulus here is resoundingly normal, and for some people perhaps too much so. Regulus has several incarnations — most recently his canon one — and Falling Damps creates another. This Black Family (Walburga especially) is not as severe and militant as I am used to seeing them, and I found myself wishing for a little stronger characterizations in places to better accent the piece. Everyone just seems a little duller than they should be.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 9th, 2007

    For the Good of Wizard-Kind

    For the Good of Wizard-Kind by Gunderpants

    Summary: Remus Lupin submits a letter to the editor. Most don’t get the point. Humour, 1,358 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is a brilliant little piece of commentary on two things we are all familiar with: letters to the editor of a newspaper, and stupid people. This fic has both in droves, and I’m sure every one of you who ever reads a local paper has seen something like this; an innocent political statement drenched in sarcasm is published, and hundreds of people just don’t get it, take it seriously, and thus erupts insanity. Funny, because it’s so very true.

    Why You Might Not Care: This is less about the characters or Harry Potter, and more an open shot at stupid people everywhere who don’t get sarcasm but who love to write letters anyway. If that’s you, you might be offended, but I’d say read it anyway. You might figure out why everyone is always rolling their eyes and laughing at you.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 8th, 2007


    Disenchanted by Arabella

    Summary: Dumbledore speaks to Ginny about her experience with Tom Riddle.  Oneshot, 3,472 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is a missing scene from Chamber of Secrets, and Arabella does an excellent job of wrapping up all Ginny’s loose ends without really wrapping them up at all, because she knows (and Dumbledore even says) that healing of that sort can only be done alone, and over time.  Yet this provides some closure, and some insight into Ginny’s experiences over the course of her first year that we were not allowed through Harry’s POV in the books.  We are stuck at how young Ginny is to have experienced this, and at the same time how much older she is because of it.  Ginny’s childhood ended in her first year, and we are allowed glimpses of how it came about, and are impressed by her courage, will, and determination to heal the hard way.

    Why You Might Not Care: Dumbledore is very, very close to his canon counterpart, but some of his whimsy is conspicuously vacant, probably due to a concern that it would be inappropriate.  The trick to writing Dumbledore dead on is to find ways of making it not be inappropriate, but it is quite a trick to master indeed, and the Albus Dumbledore here is still very canon and very well-written.  This story was written prior to the release of Ginny’s full, canon name, so it is “Virgina” in here, but it’s a small and unimportant detail.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 7th, 2007

    Black and White

    Black and White by GenFicSanta

    Summary: “What’s the point, if you can’t make things better? He asked me that, and I didn’t know, I didn’t have an answer for him.” Someone is leaving unusual things on the Potter’s front step. Oneshot, 1,825 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is in many ways not really a Harry Potter fanfiction at all. James and Lily are there, along with baby Harry, but you’ll discover that’s not really what this is about. This is about life and death, and in the very spirit of JKR the author treats death honestly and in an almost brutally ordinary day-to-day fashion. The boy in this fic is every boy and girl who encountered this thing called death for the first time, and has to try and deal with the finality of it, and through him James is forced to consider the concept anew. A beautifully simple way to deal with such a complicated concept. Especially poignant when you consider this takes place only a short time from the Potters’ own death.

    Why You Might Not Care: I can’t think of one, really. This is just so simple and lovely.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 6th, 2007

    A Test of Wills, or Flirting for the Socially Inept

    A Test Of Wills, or Flirting for the Socially Inept by HRH Bunbury

    Summary: She was bored. He was reading. Armed only with her wit, Tonks sets on a one woman mission to catch the attention of a sullen werewolf.  Fluffy, Oneshot, 1,861 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is cute and fluffy and sweet and just a little funny.  Tonks takes the approach of many forward-thinking young women everywhere, and attempts to annoy Remus into paying attention to her.  Remus, it seems, is the sort of man who takes the bait.  I can’t decide whether or not this ever had the chance of happening in canon, but I don’t think it really matters to be honest.  This will make you smile just a little.

    Why You Might Not Care: It’s Remus/Tonks for those who haven’t figured it out yet, and herein lies no advanced character development, deep thinking, or reflective truths in cunningly crafted statements.  Tonks annoys Remus; Remus, it turns out, doesn’t mind.  Some things are better left fluffy.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 5th, 2007

    Cold Water

    Cold Water by R.J. Anderson

    Summary: Remus Lupin’s private interview with an old schoolmate results in some painful but necessary soul-searching, and some surprising discoveries for both parties. Set after the events of OotP.  3,231 Words.

    Why You Should Care: Somehow, this manages to deal with several things all in one conversation between Remus and Snape.  The prank is highlighted, but what’s interesting to see at work here is the dynamic between these two people.  Remus is the ever-forgiving, ever-regretful, last-standing Marauder looking to ease his guilt, and Snape would have him believe he takes none of it.  The development of these two characters is surprising for a fiction so short, but the sense that they manage to at least come to some sort of vague understanding is potent.  The storytelling and writing itself is, as always with R.J. Anderson, well worth the price of admission.  It’s nice to see her slice into Remus, and it give us a fantastically caustic yet telling second perspective of Severus Snape.  Snape is apt and observant — somewhat to Remus’s surprise — and he appears in this story as a man who has found his strength and left aside old insecurities.

    Why You Might Not Care: This piece almost — but not quite — stands alone from R.J. Anderson’s Darkness and Light Trilogy.  There is a call-back, though slight, and someone not versed in her world will not quite understand the last section entirely, but the sentiment does make it through unscathed.  Snape is a sort of interesting fanon version of himself that is in some ways so close to canon as to be indistinguishable, but here and there are the hints of the Snape Anderson has created on JKR’s base in Darkness and Light.  I loved it, but recognize it’s a very tiny piece of a much larger puzzle.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 4th, 2007

    A Beetle Gets Its Wings

    A Beetle Gets Its Wings by Stubefied

    Summary: “Rita Skeeter, intrepid reporter, flies forward into the most foolhardy folly of her career.”  Oneshot, 1,500 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This is the only fic I’ve ever found about Rita Skeeter, but damn if it isn’t one of the most excellent little oneshots I’ve ever read.  It’s the really talented people who take on these small, strange, often overlooked characters — the Petunias, Hagrids, and Ritas — so perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised to discover that what little fiction about these people do exist is always excellent, and this is a prime example.  Rita’s ability to spin is in full force here, and at one point she even starts to compose her own, flowering obituary.  Who’d have ever thought Rita’s inner dialogue could be so intriguing?

    Why You Might Not Care: This is such a horrible question, because obviously there are so few stories about Rita because no one wants to read them, but it’s really, really good and you should read it anyway.  Would I lead you wrong?

    Awards: “Phoenix Rising” A Phoenix Moment Fan Fiction Contest, First Runner Up.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 3rd, 2007

    Learning Curve

    Learning Curve by Nomad1

    Summary:  “He needs an adversary, someone to pit his strengths against… because strengths, one way or another, must be pitted – and where no enemy is found, one must be made.”  Snape muses.  Drabble, 897 Words.

    Why You Should Care: This has got to be one of the most interesting and unique takes on Snape I have ever read.  It’s fascinating, and I’ve read it several times over and found it more brilliant every time.  On a more general level, this fic makes some fantastically apt observations about Harry and James, and about the sad truth of what it ultimately takes to build strength and character.  I just… I love this.  Completely love it.

    Why You Might Not Care: There are no reasons not to experience this revelation, even if it turns out not to be canon.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 2nd, 2007

    Untidy Black Hair

    Untidy Black Hair by RubyTuesday

    Summary: Because, really, that’s what it always comes down to, isn’t it? Falling in love in 13 steps. Romance, Drabble Collection, 1,881 Words.

    Why You Should Care: There are hundreds of thousands of millions of words collectively written by hundreds of fanfiction writers on James and Lily; who they were, how they came together, and what their short life was like. Most of them take the form of long, multi-chaptered stories that cover every excruciating detail, but RubyTuesday takes a gentler approach. We already know the story — it’s old hat by now — and she instead takes us into the small moments that highlight the journey, the easy, simple, sometimes random moments that couldn’t possibly be relevant, and yet are. This is a series of thirteen wonderful drabbles about the Jacob’s Ladder fall into love, and it’s splendid.

    Why You Might Not Care: This will not satisfy the reader who longs for Marauder adventures and the protracted, slow romantic tension of novel-length stories. It’s almost like a series of still-life portraits, like flipping back through a photo-album of James and Lily’s life. You see the pictures, and the rest you have to fill in for yourself.

    posted by afterthree
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    August 1st, 2007

    Misanthropy, Lycanthropy, And The Pursuit of Knowledge

    Misanthropy, Lycanthropy, And The Pursuit of Knowledge by Halrloprillalar

    Summary: Snape is making progress with the Wolfsbane potion, but to continue working on it he must have 24/7 access to Lupin to observe and record subtle changes. Slash, 6,437 Words.

    Why You Should Care: It’s all in the dialogue, this rec. There are precious few authors who can slip so easily into Snape’s voice, then slip just as easily out of it to find Remus’. The verbal exchanges between these two characters have just the right quality. Also?  Props for a fantastic title.  This is a Remus/Snape with some undertones of Remus/Sirius.

    Why You Might Not Care: I should not like this piece. Did you see that pairing up there– Remus/Snape? Everything in me rails at it: the slash tones that are unashamedly uncanon and completely, impossibly fantasy, the motivations of the characters, the strained, often awkward narration all make this fic slightly frustrating. If I were to be completely honest, this fic needs a good twice over from a couple of critical Betas. But, in the end, the dialogue is just that good and I can’t help myself from liking it anyway, despite all of the things that don’t work for me. I seriously debated whether or not to add it here, but the truth is other fic writers could learn something from this about how to write fantastic dialogue — which tends to be the area most people have trouble with — and so I’ve included it primarily for that reason. Sometimes I surprise myself.

    posted by afterthree
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