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22 January 2008 @ 11:53 pm
buffyversetop5 recs roundup and a manip!  
Why yes, I have had time to make some recommendations!  So check out the following if you're looking for yummy fandom fun.  I didn't get to do as many lists as I thought I was going to this year, but I love what I picked!

Top 5 Favorite Meta Fics of 2007

I think (and someday this may actually turn into an essay) that some of the most interesting fanfic can be metafiction, self-reflexively commenting on it's own genre while at the same time telling compelling, fun, beautiful stories.  Not heavy handed, not weird, just lovely. So, here are 5 fics that illustrated some aspect of metafiction for me this year....

1. Minutes of the Watchers' Council, Cleveland Branch (Selected Highlights) (Gunn/Xander, FRT)
by mireille719
Summary: Report from holiday committee: There will be absolutely no mistletoe included in the holiday decorations. Anyone found hanging mistletoe in an attempt to embarrass the Watchers will be summarily executed reprimanded.
How does it fit? Mir plays with style here, turning meeting minutes into something kind of adorable, definitely hugely funny, and establishes narrative without traditional narrative techniques.

2.Eternal Soup Kitchen of the Soul (Spike/Xander, mature) by reremouse
Summary: tabaqui called it a 'weird little slice of life' - and I'm gonna go with that. Warnings: Post-apoc, brevity, peripheral kumbayas, s'mores
How does it fit? Reremouse is one of those authors has created fics within the spike/xander genre that are foundational (at least for me). But lately she's been writing works that are more about what she (and spike and xander) don't say. This is one where you have to listen to what's falling into the cracks.

3. Small Imperfections (Spike/Xander, mature) by reremouse
Summary: 'Talk like a pirate day'? Yeah I got nothin'. But there's no 'write about Spike and Xander in Savannah a few years after Sunnydale caved in day' and there totally should be. Warnings: Drinking before noon, Coca Cola, boring sedans, crumbling architecture, cold showers.
How does it fit? I think a lot of the post-everything fics are discourses on life after sunnydale in such an intelligent way, and this one is no different, but for me a huge part of why this feels meta is not only the space between the silences, and what doesn't get said, but also things like the warnings for each chapter (make sure you read them too!). True warning - this one's a WIP

4. This is not a trilogy (Spike/Xander, mature) by savoytruffle and apreludetoanend
fic a) This is not a story
fic b) These are not enchiladas
fic c) This is not my beautiful wife
Summary: This is a series of three different stories that do not follow upon each other, but rather share the same beginning, each veering off in a different direction. They are fun to read together, but any single story can stand alone.
How does it fit? It's an exploration of beginnings (much in the same way all fanfic is an exploration of how we get from there to here). AND beautiful writing to boot.

5. Little Risk Involved (Spike/Xander, mature) by savoytruffle, electricalgwen, laisserais, apreludetoanend, cordelianne, reremouse
Summary: Alternative reality in which Jessica Harris left Tony and Sunnydale, taking her son with her before Xander ever started high school. After graduation - in the time of early Season 4 - Xander returns. Warnings: Exploration of new frontiers, awkward reunions, talking to bleached blond strangers
How does it fit? How can it not, when it's written by six different authors with six different perspectives on Spike/Xander that sometimes blend and sometimes don't.

Top 5 Adorable fics from maleslashminis

They made me go "awwwww".  Even if it was a, "that's sexy, awww."

1. What's That, Boy? (You Say Timmy's Down the Well?) (Xander/Riley, PG) by electricalgwen
Sumary:  Written for obsessedmuch who requested a future setting, happy couple, and a puppy. This is set rather vaguely in a future where evil is still being fought by our heroes; Riley heads up a demon-hunting/Slayer-supporting military-type unit under the control of the Council rather than the government.
Why should you read it?  PUPPY!!  Besides, Xander/Riley, in my reading experience, is an awfully cute pairing anyway ;)

2. Trapping the Wild Xander in Eight Easy Steps (Xander/Larry, FRT) by mireille719
Summary: Larry has a plan. He didn't say it's a good one. (Set in a slightly AU version of S3.)
Why should you read it?  OMG.  This is an adorable masterpiece.  Seriously.  I...words can't express.  Seriously.

3. The Library Thing (Wesley/Xander, PG13) by entrenous88
Summary: It's all Buffy's fault. And Cordelia's and Willow's. And Oz's and Giles's and Angel's. But especially Wes's.
Why should you read it?  Well, I find it adorable when Xander's so cute about Libraries and Wes.

4. Six Hundred Fifty Full Moons or So (Oz/Xander, FRT) by mireille719
Summary: Every month, Xander tells himself he's too old for this.
Why should you read it? It's a story about Oz & Xander growing old together.  I want to wrap it up in my arms and hug it.  That's how cute it is.

5. Ring Around the Toesies (Giles/Spike, FRM) by elementalv
Summary: Written for altyronsmaker, who requested showers, cotton sheets and bare feet. She also requested a lack of schmoop and D/s.
Why should you read it?  Not only is it cute, it's hot and cute at the same time! 

Top 5 Fantastic Stories with Unusual Pairings from maleslashminis

1. A Little Bit Louder and a Little Bit Worse (Xander/Connor, PG13) by allyndra
Summary: Mysterious stranger with a warning to deliver? Haven’t we heard this one before?
Why you should read it:  Because it's really lovely!  No, seriously.  Xander's definitely the world weary one here, and Connor's filled with feline grace and... there's snarking.  It's yum.

2. "Multinational Faggot Parade" (Xander/Oz, NC17) by wisdomeagle
Summary:  Years later Xander sees a funny haired guy playing in a band.
Why you should read it:  Cuz not only does it have the best title ever, it's got a really interesting prose style that I don't often associate with Xander's POV but that I thought worked really well here establishing both mood and a bit of the drama. Beautiful!!

3. Stillness Between Moments (Wesley/Connor, NC17) by obsessedmuch
Summary: Nothing is as it seems, nothing is as you'd expect.
Why you should read it:  Not only is it one of the most unlikely pairings I've ever read, it *works* and has such a beautiful quiet moment at the end that I just want to ... set it in glass and save it forever or something.

4. No Place Like It (Oz/Ethan, PG13) by bookishwench
Summary: After Oz leaves Sunnydale for the second time, his path crosses with an unlikely traveler.
Why you should read it:  Again, who would have *ever* thought about these two?  Bookishwench does it with this fantastic grace.  And it works.  For a brief, fleeting, beautiful moment.

5. Iowa (Lindsey/Xander, FRAO) by soft_princess
Summary: The first time Xander had sex with a guy was on their way to Cleveland.
Why you should read it:  Sofy is one of my all time fav writers, and she does wonderful things with this pairing - it's perfectly posed on a knife blade, and really balances a grieving Xander with a Lindsey who's ... searching for something.  Don't take my word for it though, read. ;)

Top 5 Favorite Giles Icons

It's incredibly hard to choose just one icon from the thousands that are made and shared every day ... much less figure out my favs from the year.  But I'll give it a try!

If you do like the look of the individual icons I've also included links to the posts they appeared so you can see how fab these icon makers are for their other work too.

by lunglock from  fallbirds here

by literati from her post to summer_of_giles here

by __overthemoon from acrobatica here

by etilia76 from maiconography here

  by me.  (i know, self pimping, but i love the icon).  found here

Top 5 Buffy Icons that made me go "wow!"

I'm on an icon spree.  I think Buffy is singularly iconic, and it seems to me that everybody who icons in the buffy-verse loves making icons of her.  These are some of the most unusual ones I've seen this year:

by mouthfullofdust from thirdhex  here
Why this icon?  I love the new way mouthfullofdust transforms these haunting images of Buffy - transforms and magnifies the freaky nature.  Also because of the use of space the focus changes and suggests multiple Buffy faces as opposed to one.

by misstress_tink from mykindofcrack here
Why this icon?  Mistress tink is the mistress of icons, and this is just one example of the fantastic things she does with color and layering. I absolutely adore the punch of red and the sexy pose that SMG takes here, but also because mistress tink has reversed the colors it's almost as if the icon pops even more.

by etilia76 from maiconography here
Why this icon?  I think etilia76 captures the hope and the fear from the later seasons with this icon - the light colors are eyecatching but still rich, and Buffy's expression is only underscored by the sprawling text that can't be read.

by born_butterfly from violet_clouds  here
Why this icon?  Born butterfly grabs and magnifies one of my other favorite Buffy expressions - the whimsical, adorable, and totally unrepentant roll of the eyes.  The way born butterfly has done the coloring here only compliments that, and the very light texturing softens the whole thing so that it's springy and sweet.

by marshmallow at yummy_sushi_pjs  here
Why this icon?  I love the cropping, the coloring, the almost grainy but not quite texture of the photo and the use of the spray of light.  It all comes together in this really beautiful way here.

Top 5 Super Sexy Faith icons

The sultry slayer!  I can't help but devote an entire post to the brown haired girl!

by misstress_tink from mykindofcrack here
Why this icon?  This is quintessential Faith-gone-bad (hence the quote).  I love this scene, I love the expressions Faith makes in this scene, and mistress tink captures one of the best of them here.  Plus the coloring is beautiful and the text is completely perfect.

also by misstress_tink from mykindofcrack here
Why this icon?  Mistress tink takes a pretty conventional but beautiful shot of ED and lends it mystery and texture, and still makes sure the beautiful darnkess of her hair and eyes are emphasized.

by mouthfullofdust from thirdhex here
Why this icon?  I absolutely love the cropping, because it doesn't allow you to look away from the scared expression on Faith's face.

by etilia76 from maiconography here
Why this icon?  I actually think Faith's lips are a one of her most expressive features, and the cropping and coloring here don't let you forget that for a second.

by cool_rush from cool_graphix here
Why this icon?  Not only is the cropping and the use of space lovely, but cool rush, I think, achieves a sense of movement with the blurring and the red color in this icon that captures the nervous and tense energy of this moment.  And the coloring is beautiful to boot.

Top 5 Other Icons that Blew Me Away

I've done Faith, Buffy & Giles.  These were the icons of other characters that made me sit up and take notice.

by mouthfullofdust from thirdhex here
Why this icon?  it's a fantastic crop, a beautiful texture job, lovely text, and pretty much all around perfect (and heartbreaking)

by etilia76 from maiconography here
Why this icon?  It pares down everything to it's essentials - just the features illuminated in flame.  Yet you know *exactly* who that is - Spike, at his smoky best.

by cool_rush from cool_graphix here
Why this icon?  The same thing applies to this as to the icon above - beautiful, tiny and yet Willow is essentialized here.

also by mouthfullofdust from thirdhex here
Why this icon?  it takes my breath away what can be done with skill - taking a beautiful shot and magnifiying the brush of magic from Tara's fingertips into long star shapes.  Just perfect.

by quietlyobsessed from tapered_faith here
Why this icon?  Because it captures some of that quirky energy from the first seasons via both texture and color.  And because it's a little silly, too.

And finally, a little manip I'm trying to enter at still_grrr  (behind a cut in case I'm not supposed to be posting until after I'm up on the comm... )

Buffy & Giles: The Training of a Slayer

EB: Queen of the Social Lepers: buffy warrior buffyelizabuffy on January 23rd, 2008 03:03 am (UTC)
Ooh! Thanks for the recs. :)

I love the manip! It's so very classical. I can so see giles railing on to buffy like that, lol. It's a great background and you weave in B&G nearly seamlessly.


my monkied brain: EB Rockskatekat1010 on January 23rd, 2008 03:09 am (UTC)
thank you pumpkin girl!!!! and Three? FINALLY DONE! SO YOU CAN READ IT IN IT'S ENTIRETY!

I hope you find some other things you like in the lists!

(and yeah, the buffy giles manip is not one of my best, but it was fun! ;) i'm working on another that i hope will come out better soon)
M: Buffy look up pale (still_grrr)spankulert on January 23rd, 2008 07:03 am (UTC)
Great manip. No worries on still_grrr, they accept stuff you've posted elsewhere previously ;)
my monkied brain: You Rockkatekat1010 on January 23rd, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
thank you! and thank you for the reassurance too - i totally forgot about the whole "you can post up to a year old" thingy!
Marymary5958 on January 23rd, 2008 08:07 am (UTC)
Great manip! Fantastic base choice which ends up being classy and fun at the same time. Made me snicker a little while thinking how beautiful it was! :-) Thanks for sharing.
my monkied brain: giles - laughkatekat1010 on January 23rd, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much lady! I really like how Giles ended up coming out in this one. Most of the time I try to steer clear of artwork because it's so hard to do :D
Marymary5958 on January 24th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
I agree. It can be quite a challenge to try to make a photo look like it belongs in a painting. But it's fun to try! :-)
your royal pie-ness: buffyverse: xander readingentrenous88 on January 23rd, 2008 10:02 am (UTC)
You are such an awesome reccer -- great categories and fics/graphics!

Oh, and thank you for the Wes/Xander rec as well. :)
my monkied brain: wes - movie star bluekatekat1010 on January 23rd, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
AWWW! thanks sweetest! I feel like I could have done half a dozen more lists, but ... there just wasn't enough time! (well, that and i got lost in the msm archives for like three days rereading stuff)

And it's a super adorable (and hot) fic! how could it not be on there!
Professor Fancypants von Deth, Esq: Cheese-Fishdwg on January 23rd, 2008 11:08 am (UTC)
Gorgeous manip! And super sexy top 5s. I'll probably hit the fics later, but for now I'm just staring at the icon pretties. I think I need to spend more time getting to know Photoshop.
my monkied brain: giles - secret smilekatekat1010 on January 23rd, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
Heee!! Thanks darling! now that i've posted it, i'm of course seeing all these little niggly things, but I'm really glad you like!

and fic recs! read! (well, ok, not that you aren't reading, but ... *temps* i lure you back over to the buffyversedarkside!)
Lostgirllostgirlslair on January 23rd, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
Oooh! Look at all the lovelies!! *G* Great recs, sweetie, and I love the manip, especially the expressions on their faces!! ::laughs::

(Also? Fantastic job on the banner for buffyversetop5!!!)
my monkied brain: willow - grrkatekat1010 on January 25th, 2008 05:22 pm (UTC)
thanks lady!! it was fun to put everything together!

(and yay!!! i'm glad you like the banner! and trust me, so much of a relief on my eyes, even if the colors are kind of bright ;) i should seriously change my motto to "designing livejournal... one journal at a time" ....)
Lostgirllostgirlslair on January 28th, 2008 03:04 am (UTC)
::laughs:: You so should, but at least it'll be pretty!! *G*