Even if they hadn't been posted on the same day in my timezone, I would almost certainly be reccing both sassbandit
's and littlemousling
's bandom big bang stories. But they are a delightful and fascinating pair of stories to read together, an experience I recommend even more than I recommend reading them individually.
's Forget About the Dirty Looks
(18k words). It's a bandom story set in the world of Helenish's Take Clothes Off As Directed
, where D/s roles are as wide-sweeping and normative as gender roles. Helenish's story is about role-essentialism and prejudice in the military; sassbandit
's is about how the same dynamics work out in the context of the music industry.
The worldbuilding is brilliant (the newspaper excerpts throughout the story were, without fail, EXACTLY what the publications in question would be writing in that universe). And OH the characterizations. Gerard Way's quixotic quest to help lonely kids find themselves is one of the first things I fell in love with in Bandom, and to see him ranting about how collars are outdated expressions of role essentialism and telling kids to be what they are no matter what role they're assigned? Grew my heart a couple of sizes. The story's take on transrole and rolequeer identities was also great, and I just want to read five million words of it forever and ever.
's Follow My Lead
(30k words). This AU, set in something much closer to this universe, where Spencer is a pro dom and Brendon is the dancing instructor who teaches him to follow as well as to lead, is basically going to be a classic of the genre. (Both of these stories are going to be classics. I can't believe
that the quirks of BBB meant that they got posted on the same day).
It's a great take on role essentialism within the D/s community, and watching Spencer's earnest struggle between his identity and what he actually wants in bed was heart-rending and beautiful. I don't think I've ever read as realistic a story about how much *work* a satisfying sex life can be. Through failed sex scene after failed sex scene, the two characters are so obviously in love, which makes it all the more satisfying to see them work things out in the end. My *heart*!
(And watching Spencer's identity struggle in this story when your brain is still framing things in the DirectedVerse? FASCINATING.)
A third rec: I've been listening to the Abhorsen Trilogy
audiobooks, as read by Tim Curry. This series has been one of my favorites since I was a teenager, and TIM CURRY.
TIM CURRY PLAYING MOGGAT. Just picture that, will you? I... think? I've always had a minor crush on Moggat, but Tim Curry turns everything about him into walking, purring, growling sex.
Anyway, I'm now about halfway through Abhorsen
, and yesterday's combo of fic-reading and audiobook listening has just done some... uh, things, to the way I think about Moggat's collar. (If you have not read the series: Moggat is an elemental creature bound by a magical collar into the form of a cat. With the collar, he's the world's most sarcastic animal sidekick; without it he's almost single-mindedly bent on the death of the Abhorsens, to whom he's normally bound.)
It got me thinking about the degree to which everything in the Abhorsen trilogy is basically about exerting power over the universe, whether it be the weather, the Dead, elemental creatures, etc. And yet about the power that, in turn, the universe exerts over human beings ("does the walker choose the path or the path the walker?") (Side note: some day I want to write a massive essay about how the Destiny stuff in Lirael
makes me cry. In a good way.) And it's also, more particularly, about female characters exerting power over male ones--Sabriel over Touchstone and Moggat (and Kerrigor) and Lirael over Sameth, Nicolas, and Moggat, and never over the Disreputable Dog.
(Edited to add: on reflection, I'm not 100% sure that Sabriel
alone passes the Bechdel test, since all of the scenes with more than just Sabriel, Touchstone, and Moggat in them involve Sabriel instructing other women on how to fight Kerrigor. Lirael, though, is from a world where you don't even have to remember that the Bechdel test exists, because women talking to women about things other than men is as normal as it is in the real world.)
Um and now I want bell porn the end. >_<