[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Well, that didn't seem like two weeks, did it? If I didn't know better I'd say something was going on with space and time. As usual, my reccing stint has flown over and I didn't manage to post all of the fics I had on my list, which means I'll have to sign up again. I'd strongly recommend you to think about it too. I will leave you with this lovely bit of fluff, until next time:

Story: Time And Relatively Distracting Innuendo-related Scandals
Author: TheBigCat
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 1,144
Author's Summary: A CIA agent was sent to bring Clara and Ashildr back to Gallifrey. That was the Time Lords’ first mistake.
Characters/Pairings: Ace, Ashildr/Me, Clara
Warnings: None

Recced because: I don't know about you, but I really liked Series 9/Season 35, and its ultimate ending, with the mostly-dead Clara and immortal "Me" taking off Doctor-like in a stolen TARDIS was, assuming they don't get revisited at some point, practically incitement to commit fanfic. What I like about this fic is that it takes its lead from that finale episode, but does so in a way that is more or less completely at odds with the generally heavy tone of the Twelfth Doctor's last round of adventures. It's not trying to make any big points about mortality, fate or the state of the universe, it's just silly, frothy, somewhat slashy and extremely amusing indeed. I for one was cackling quite a bit while reading it. Well, to be honest, I cackle quite a lot, but this made me cackle even more.

And the stroke of genius is the inclusion of the surprise guest character. Of course the restored Time Lords wouldn't just take the existence of a pair of living space-time anomalies careering recklessly around the universe lying down, of course they'd send an agent to hunt them down. Making that agent Ace, however, wins this fic several billion bonus points from me, and even makes a kind of sense in light of the long-ago 90s novel canon and/or John Nathan-Turner's reported brainwave of sending her to the Time Lord academy as a way of writing her out of the series during the Season 27 that never happened. Ace, as it turns out, isn't actually terribly good at hunting fugitives for the Celestial Intervention Agency, but given her deep anti-authoritarian streak it makes sense that she wouldn't actually be trying that hard. Indeed, she mainly seems to be interested in exchanging rather charged banter with her would-be quarries, and very funny it is too.

So if you're looking for something light and enjoyable to round off the weekend, this could well be the fic for you. Go and have a look and if you like it (I think many of you will) be sure to let the author know. And if you're like me, you'll be beaming to yourself for some time afterwards just at the bit where we find out who Gallifrey's new President is. I hope Chris Chibnall is of the same mind as this author!

A Preview )

And that, for now, is that. See you around soonish, I hope!
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Good ol' Captain Smaarg
Author: Pab
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 4,164
Author's Summary: The Master is to be executed. His last wish: to see the Doctor. His plan: to change places. And so the Doctor finds himself being taken for execution while the Master has the key to the TARDIS. As for Captain Smaarg, he's too concerned with paperwork. And Peri? She suspects nothing.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (5th), Peri, the Master
Warnings: None

Recced because: As I was observing the other day, I find something very pleasing about Doctor Who stories told from the point of view of the hapless or oblivious characters who have fleeting contacts with the Doctor and his companions in the course of their activities, and this is in part one of those. It also reflects the way in which the best things about many official Who stories are their weird and wonderful supporting characters, even if the main supporting character in this case is one of the author's creation. As I've reflected before, there is a school of thought that frowns upon fanfic which focuses on OCs, but I personally have no problem with it, and when these characters are as engaging and well-drawn as they are here, they can actually be one of the real pleasures to be had in reading fic.

The author's summary above pretty much covers the plot of this fic, but the plot here is secondary to the aim of telling a very mid-80s Who story, for the most part from the perspective of the officious, bureaucracy-loving, mammalophobic alien official Captain Smaarg, who really can't be bothered with these Time Lords and humans messing up his paperwork with their adventures. When I say mid-80s, I mean the way in which this fic captures so well various features of that era, such as the Fifth Doctor's quiet exasperation with the universe, the Master's sheer dastardliness and Peri's attempts at diplomacy. You can vividly picture the wonky, overlit corridors the story almost certainly takes place within, and the characters' costumes recycled from old Baker-era stories, and I mean that as a heartfelt compliment to the author.

Smaarg himself is a delight to behold, a sort of reptilian Gordon Brittas, but without the unconquerable optimism or, frankly, the essentially good intentions. Nevertheless, for all of his lack of imagination and petty-minded pedantry, he is portrayed as somebody who genuinely does love his job and think that it is vital to the perpetuation of the greater good, while remaining blithely unaware up to now of the unpopularity his pettifogging has given rise to among his colleagues and, indeed, everybody else he encounters. It's quite an achievement on the part of the author to make this character essentially sympathetic, helping the Doctor save the day at least as much as he hinders him. The fact that the story is also at several points genuinely laugh out loud funny certainly helps.

So go and check it out. I hope you'll like it as much as I did.

A Snippet )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Serendipity
Author: Thriaemis
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 2,315
Author's Summary: In which Theta Sigma doesn't just dig his own grave, but Braxiatel's as well. Braxiatel has roughly two micro-spans to think 'Rassilon's balls, a cliff,' before he crashes back onto the earth and loses all the air in his lungs in a single whump.
Characters/Pairings: Irving Braxiatel, The Doctor (1st)
Warnings: None

Recced because: There's a school of thought in Who fandom that the less we know about the Doctor's origins and his years on Gallifrey before he took the momentous decision to nick a TT capsule and go on the lam the better. Certainly that element of mystery about exactly who or what the Doctor was and what had led him to that abandoned scrap yard in 1963 has always been important part of the series' central premise (indeed it's right there in the title), not least because when it first began the production team themselves knew no more about the character's past than the audience did. And largely the series has continued in this vein ever since, with hints and snippets gradually revealed about that part of the Doctor's life or lives, but even in the modern era really no more than that.

And this is almost certainly the best way to go about things, because not only does it mostly leave room for the rich tradition of weird and wonderful Gallifrey-related lore developed in various Who spinoff media over the decades, it also leaves plenty of space for fan extrapolations upon that lore, such as in this very well done fic. Taking bits and pieces that have been suggested by various sources over the years and extrapolating upon them according to the whim of the author, this is a delightfully warm and whimsical bit of fannish speculation about the young Doctor's family life and friendships, as he goes on an early adventure and falls foul, characteristically, of his own curiosity and sense of adventure.

The portrayal of the Doctor's relationship with his brother is really top notch, capturing all of the petty antagonisms and frictions of that sort of relationship, while also showing that deep down they really do love and need each other. Of course, this is a Gallifreyan childhood, so there are also some good insights and speculations concerning how a budding Time Lord's experience of that time of life would differ from a human's, as well as lots of nice references and nods to different bits of Who's not-really-canon. Most of all, it is told with great humour and compassion, with an ending that will leave you smiling wistfully.

Highly recommended - go over to the Teaspoon and give it a whirl.

A Preview )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: The Previous Tenants
Author: PhoenixDragon
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1,776
Author's Summary: There is a townhouse with an attractive blue door that no one lives behind.
Characters/Pairings: Other Character(s), The Doctor (12th)
Warnings: None

Recced because: I think one of the things that I enjoy most about Doctor Who fiction, both official and fanmade, is when it takes a look at the trail the Doctor and his companions leave behind in the universe, the traces and hints and anomalies that arise from travel in space and time. I find myself quite partial to stories exploring the way in which the rest of the people who live in that universe can go through their lives blissfully unaware of the strange and wonderful and terrifying things that are going on all around them, all of the time. If they're very (un)lucky.

And this is a fic that explores some of that ground in what I hope you'll agree is really a rather wonderful way. It looks at some of the houses of Who, left behind when the adventures or adventurers who once called them home have long passed by. It deals with this subject matter in a nicely understated and oblique manner, dropping hints and suggestions rather than stating things outright, very much from the point of view of the ordinary people for whom the Doctor and his adventures remain nothing more than a ghost, a legend or a rumour. It also hints at the way the Doctor himself occasionally finds time and space passing him by, made if anything all the more painful for him by the way he can actually go back and experience the past, while at the same time being bound by laws and rules which prevent him from actually doing anything about his regrets or past mistakes.

Most of all, however, for all of the wistful hints and sense of sadness and loss that hangs over the story, it reminds us at the end that those strange and wonderful and terrifying things that follow in the Doctor's wake are quite often wonderful as well as the other things. There's meant to be no magic in the Whoniverse, but there is a bit of fairy-dust, glittering and hinting at fantastic things long gone, if you happen to know where and when to look for it.

Check this fic out. I really like it. I think you will too.

A Sample )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Self-Made Man
Author: vvj5
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1,012
Author's Summary: JOSEPH: "Close to the Kandyman, were you?" / GILBERT: "I made him." Gilbert M and the Kandyman.
Characters/Pairings: Other Character(s), The Kandy Man
Warnings: None

Recced because: I can't shake the feeling that there have been few stories in Doctor Who history more unfairly maligned over the years than The Happiness Patrol. It started almost as soon as it first aired, and continued, with what is in reality a deceptively smart, subversive and brutal story about how oppressive regimes work and ways they can be resisted becoming instead Exhibit A whenever any discussion turns to Doctor Who being "too silly." And no aspect of the story came in for more of this sort of thing than its most iconic figure, the infamous Kandyman. It didn't help that the character visually resembled a famous British advertising mascot of the day, but it does irritate me intensely that one of the more compellingly unpleasant villains in 80s Who became a poster child for its supposed decline and fall on a decade or more of "I love the 80s" type television programmes. The irony being that most of those leading the mockery either hadn't seen the story itself, or hadn't understood it, instead judging it purely on its dayglow sugar-coated visual façade, one of the things the story itself was arguing against.

Enough ranting from me. Instead allow me to recommend this fic which goes a long way towards redressing the injustices I outline above. Starting from the television story, and riffing on the extra backstory for the characters described in the really rather good Target novelisation, the author paints a vivid picture of the monstrousness of the Kandyman himself, who is at once a tragic and horrifying figure, and the strange, abusive co-dependency he has with his creator/sidekick/prisoner/husband Gilbert M. The story itself is told from the point of view of Gilbert himself, and really gets inside the head of this weak, fearful, morally malleable character, the sort of person tyrannies like the one on Terra Alpha cannot function without, simultaneously a victim and an enabler of its terror and repression. And like all of this author's stories, it is very well-written indeed.

This author is no stranger to this comm, and for a very good reason. If you are at all appreciative of the Seventh Doctor and his era, go and read this story now. You won't be disappointed.

An Excerpt )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Can't see the forest
Author: ClocketPatch
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1,396
Author's Summary: The trees have roots everywhere.
Characters/Pairings: the Doctor (9th), the Doctor (10th), Rose Tyler, Sarah Jane Smith, Jo Grant, Jabe, the TARDIS
Warnings: None

Recced because: This is exactly the sort of thing I like to see in fanfic. It takes a relatively minor character who appeared in a single, if somewhat pivotal, story and opens that character up to explore all sorts of unexpected facets and directions. It brings in bits of lore and characters from all over the universe of Doctor Who and mixes them seamlessly with the not-canon-but-ought-to-be speculations of the author's own imagination. And then it brings in a neat time paradox, yet another sideways look from this author (who has produced many such sideways looks) at the nature of the TARDIS and finishes on a killer image and concept that will stay with you long after you've finished reading. In other words, this is the good stuff.

Jabe was already a fascinating character to my way of thinking, but this fic succeeds in making her even more so by emphasising her non-human nature and suggesting some very interesting takes on the society she comes from and speculates on the possible motivations for the actions we see from her in the televised story. Most of all, however, this story has this particular author's stamp all over it. It's not just what it tells, but the way it's told with great use of evocative language, vivid imagery and nice prose stylings.

This is an author I've been following for several years now, and whose work I will always recommend for all of the reasons outlined here. You know you're onto a sure thing when you click on the link to one of her stories. Don't believe me? There's the link right there. You know what to do...

A Taster )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Well, it feels like returning to an internet home from home, being back here on [livejournal.com profile] calufrax for another reccing stint. Long may it continue, and I would urge any of you reading this who haven't already to sign up to have a go yourselves. It's pretty fun indeed, you know!

And we open with a consideration of this little gem:

Story: A Gentleman Can Have it All
Author: Sakura Tsukikage
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 4,182
Author's Summary: The Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria discover the perks and drawbacks of gentlemanly behavior in 19th century Cardiff. And there's some time-traveling shenanigans thrown in.
Characters/Pairings: Jamie McCrimmon, The Doctor (2nd), Victoria Waterfield
Warnings: None

Recced because: I think we can all agree that there isn't anything like enough top-notch Two fic. Even if every fan in fandom devoted the rest of their fanfictional careers to writing top-notch Two fic, there still wouldn't be enough. Like the era of Who that inspires it, when Two fic is good - as this most certainly is - it is a unique pleasure to behold. Just like all of the other eras in their different ways, I suppose. That's just what it's like living the dream in the greatest fandom of them all...

Here, the Doctor and his companions Jamie and Victoria go undercover, more or less, in order to interact with a Victorian gentleman and get to the bottom of some space/time-related shenanigans involving the sinister interloper Mr. Johns. Well, at least the Doctor and Victoria go undercover; Jamie can't be persuaded, understandably, to part with his very fetching kilt. Much teasing, naturally, ensues at the very idea of the cosmic hobo attempting to smarten up his appearance. And then the action starts.

The thing I really like about this fic is the way it captures the main characters and their deceptively subtle and distinctive interpersonal relationships. All of the little interactions, the rhythms of the dialogue and the characters' attitudes towards each other are absolutely spot-on, not in the slightly heightened way common in a lot of fanfic, but the way they actually are on screen together. There's an argument to be made that most of us, as fans, only think we know Two and his character, based on the somewhat exaggerated versions portrayed in the multi-Doctor stories Troughton guest-starred in so magnificently during the 70s and 80s, and I think those latter-day performances certainly inform a lot of fic. Not this one, though; this is the real deal. Old school Two and two of his most memorable companions on fine form. Bask in it.

This is one of only two fics by this author on the Teaspoon, both of them lovely pitch-perfect Two fics, and I am glad to have recced both now on the comm. As I usually do, I urge you - go over there and read this and leave some nice words for the author.

A Snippet... )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Well, these two weeks have gone by just as quickly as they usually do, which is to say in a flash, and my reccing stint is nearly over. I didn't get the chance to post as many recs as I would have liked, but I hope there'll be a next time to remedy that. In the meantime, allow me to leave you with this excellent fic:

Story: Nor Grave Nor Bed Denied
Author: LizBee and Branwyn
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 2,343
Author's Summary: In the wake of the destruction of Skaro, Romana receives a visitor.
Characters/Pairings: Romana II, The Doctor (7th)
Warnings: None

Recced because: As you may have noticed only the other day, I remain as obsessed by Doctor/Romana as I ever have been, and by that murky period between Survival and Rose which presumably led up to the Time War and which may or may not have been accurately depicted in the 90s novels. This ticks all of those boxes, as well as hinting strongly at Seven/Romana, which as far as I'm concerned is second only to Four/Romana in terms of being right up my fannish alley. ...so to speak.

This fic also takes its lead from the audio story The Apocalypse Element, with which you may or may not be familiar (it's very good, btw, if you ever get the chance to listen). I don't think you need to be to work out very quickly what the backstory is. In some ways not knowing and going only on the hints provided in the fic makes Seven and Romana's somewhat difficult conversation here even more strained and effective. And what a conversation it is; I love the way the two characters are portrayed here, both older and wiser and more damaged than they were in their heyday together, still with that connection but with so much pain and baggage by now to go with it. I think there's an understandable tendency in fanfic to idealise the character relationships that appeal to us and to disregard the fact that real relationships, however idyllic, invariably have their ups and downs and messy patches. This treatment of the Doctor and Romana is all the more commendable for not falling into the trap while also clearly having a lot of affection for both characters and their shared history.

There may be a hint of the far more difficult relationship the Doctor and Romana had in the EDA novels, which isn't one of my favourite choices that those novels made, but even that shows and honesty and willingness to face up to the less comfortable part of Who "canon" that adds to the strength of the story. Most of all, they are portrayed as two characters who are at the point in their association where they cannot fool each other at all, however much they might want to, and who are both well aware of that fact.

All this and numerous little nods to various bits of Who lore established in several different versions of continuity. You may know by now that I'm a sucker for that sort of thing and prepared to award all the bonus points to anything that acknowledges the weirdness that is LOOOMS!

So once again I urge to you head over to the Teaspoon post haste and read this rather spiffing fic, and then to be sure to leave words of appreciation for the author. And that, for now, is my work here done.

An Excerpt )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: You Know Me Better
Author: hangingfire
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 1,011
Author's Summary: As the Master's prisoner, the Doctor gets to know the connection between pop music and world domination.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (10th), The Master (Simm)
Warnings: None...apart from mass murder on an apocalyptic scale.

Recced because: I find that even all this time and a number of re-watches later, I still have an ambivalent relationship with The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords. Sure, it's a deeply flawed two-parter (I won't have a word said against its prologue, Utopia, mind you - one of the very best Ten episodes, imho), and Magic!Fairy!Doctor and John Simm's more self-indulgent moments as the Master aren't to everyone's taste (or to mine, really)...but there's still something deeply compelling about it. I think in part it's that dark, pessimistic streak Russell T Davies shows in many of his better stories. When RTD allows himself to imagine horrible things in the context of Who (or Torchwood), he doesn't half imagine them.

Simm!Master has arguably been eclipsed by Missy in the NuWho Master stakes, and in the hearts of many fans, but there's something about him, something unhinged and disturbing. He's the Master with all of the brakes off, every pretension to being a gentleman-villain or cackling supervillain stripped away so that the pure evil and madness can bubble through. He actually does what the Master has spent a lot of time threatening to do, and on an almost unimaginably vast scale. Of course, at the same time he remains very much cackling a supervillain, but there are moments when the camp actually complements rather than detracts from the chilling murderousness of his actions, probably none more so than the all-singing all-dancing mid-story cliffhanger where he unleashes the Toclafane upon the Earth.

And this fic takes its lead from that moment and others in its consideration of Simm!Master in relation to his appreciation of popular music. In doing so, it absolutely nails his character and his relationship with Ten in that story, the traditional Doctor-Master "thing" stretched to its breaking point and taking on a new level of dysfunction. The conceit that as the Master gets more violent his taste in music grows more flamboyant is at once amusing and telling in what it tells us about the motivations behind him being the way he is (I think, ultimately, it's all about acting out for the Doctor's benefit). Ten's pain at being the captive audience for this show is also captured very well indeed, rising above run of the mill Ten!angst to evoke a genuine sense of sadness, horror and despair.

So if you like your Master fic dark and horrifying, you ought to like this one a great deal, as do I. Please go and have a read and if you agree, be sure to leave some words for the author.

A Preview )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: World's End
Author: Doctor Tam
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1,327
Author's Summary: The end of the Time War.
Characters/Pairings: Romana II, The Doctor (8th)
Warnings: Some violent war/disaster imagery.

Recced because: This fic takes me back. It speaks very clearly to my inner fanboy, who remains obsessed with Doctor/Romana and unhealthily interested in just what the heck went down in the Last Great Time War.

It's a bit shocking to think that it's almost a whole two years since the 50th Anniversary, and now more than ten years since the revival of Who in 2005. And for most of the time in between those two milestones, those of us who were interested in the Time War, arguably the main innovation introduced by RTD in terms of shaking up the Whoniverse, didn't really know much about it. There were hints, vague suggestions of things like the fall of Arcadia or the Nightmare Child, that intrigued more than they explained. So we thought about it, and extrapolated, and made things up, and wrote a great many fics about it that were pretty much comprehensively Jossed by The Day of the Doctor. Which was not a bad thing because if you ask me The Day of the Doctor was absolutely fantastic. Being Jossed was a price well worth paying for that.

And I'll bet Steven Moffat didn't ask himself whether he had that right before he did it either...

So in that sense this fic is a blast from the past (indeed it dates from 2009). In another sense, if you squint a bit, the Doctor portrayed here taking his leave from Romana in Gallifrey's last moments could just as easily be the War Doctor as Eight. I think a lot of us always thought though that the idea of Eight of all Doctors being placed in that terrible position just seemed right, in some poetic sense, just as the notion that it would have been the Lady President Romana sending him on that fatal mission seemed too terribly perfect not to be true. The End of Time Jossed that one, of course, and while I personally don't hold that story in the same regard as The Day of the Doctor, that too was a price worth paying for the possibility of a still-living Romana, out there, somewhere...

Enough about my fannish predilections anyway. This is a very nice fic indeed, and extremely well written. It puts you the reader right in that hellish moment before the End and manages to explore the characters of the Doctor and Romana, their thoughts about and differing relationships with regard to their homeworld and their duties to it within a very economical word count. It explores the Doctor's role in and responsibility for the War and associated events, and how his association with Romana has affected both of them and led directly to the position in which they currently find themselves. As a fan with a lot of affection for that particular relationship, I find this story and its portrayal of what is almost certainly their final parting very touching indeed.

There is one line (no, not the one about Ace; as much as it pains me, thinking up horrible fates for Ace is pretty much a standard feature in all fiction, official and fan, set in the Survival-Rose gap) that I can imagine many fans would find contentious. Don't let that turn you off what it by any other measure a great fic. I hope you will all go and read it right now and leave some words of appreciation for the author.

A Moment )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: The Darkness of Mere Being
Author: Sakura Tsukikage
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1,833
Author's Summary: Set during the Season 4 Serial "The Moonbase." The Doctor and Jamie discuss the nature of the Cybermen.
Characters/Pairings: Ben Jackson, Jamie McCrimmon, Polly Wright, The Cybermen, The Doctor (2nd)
Warnings: None

Recced because: I like to think of myself as a tolerant Who fan, all in all. Indulgent of the foibles of my fellow Who fans where others might be moved to irritation and internet rage. Well, unless it's about The Angels Take Manhattan...or angst about viewing figures. Then I get...animated.

Anyway, apart from the above hot-button topics, one of the things that is guaranteed to make me frown slightly when I encounter it in Who fandom is somebody claiming that (insert name of bigtime Who monster/villain - usually but not always the Daleks) is "overused". I maintain that while such icons of the show's lore are quite often used badly, or even worse blandly, there's always the chance that this time (e.g. in both the Capaldi-tastic Series 8 and 9 imho) they won't be, and that these hoary old concepts might even throw up a few surprises. They are classic monsters for a reason, at the end of the day; Daleks, Cybermen and their select few peers are, by and large, concepts that keep on giving. And that's just as true of fanfictional treatments of them as it is of official stories.

And this piece, by an author who unfortunately only has two stories archived on the Teaspoon, is an excellent meditation upon the denizens of Mondas, on what they have done to themselves and continue to do to others. It is even better for being filtered via a conversation between the Second Doctor and Jamie. The author really captures the traits of both characters; this Doctor's combination of compassion and a deep morality with a steely and at times vaguely worrying certainty that some things "must be fought", set against Jamie's relative innocence, especially when it comes to adventuring in time and space, but also genuine, for want of a better word, canniness and sense of right and wrong. At the same time, the examination of the Cybermen in all of their folly and tragedy (they are both monstrous and pathetic, the author reminds us) contains more than one sly parallel to human history and politics, and to another society that we have seen much of in Who canon.

What really makes this fic worthwhile, however, is the aforementioned characterisation. It used to be a truism that the Second Doctor was hard to write properly in (fan)fiction, but I think that was mainly down to the fact that not enough people tried it. Two leaps off the page here, as does Jamie (some will have an aversion to phonetic spelling of Jamie's dialect, but it's practically traditional in Who fanfic - I for one would be rather hypocritical if I complained about it!), and when Ben and Polly show up for a brief appearance at the end, it serves as yet another reminder of just what a good Doctor-companions team this one was, albeit one with far too few stories.

So as you may be able to tell, this is another one I like very much. I hope you will too when you read it, and if so I also hope that you will leave some words of appreciation for the author.

An Excerpt )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: If Found, Please Return
Author: Llywela
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 31,474
Author's Summary: Crossover between Classic Who and The Professionals. UNIT and CI5 would have been around at about the same time in the late 1970s. CI5 weren't keen on other agencies treading over their perceived jurisdiction and UNIT were learning to cope without the Doctor after his departure from Earth. So what happened when they found their investigations overlapping?
Characters/Pairings: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Harry Sullivan, Sergeant Benton, UNIT, plus crossover characters
Warnings: Some violence

Recced because: I don't know about you, but I love a really well-done crossover.

For the uninitiated, The Professionals was a British crime/action series that first aired on the ITV network between 1977 and 1983. Martin Shaw played Doyle, a "sensitive" (by the admittedly low standards of the average late 70s British male) former cop with an astonishing perm; Lewis Collins was Bodie, an ex-military hardman with a murky past and huge shirt collars. Together, they worked as agents for "CI5", a fictional crime-fighting department headed by the tough, no-nonsense George Cowley (Gordon Jackson out of Upstairs, Downstairs and The Great Escape). They regularly cut pesky legal corners and "fought fire with fire" in order to settle the hash of various gangsters, terrorists and anybody else foolish enough to tangle with them. They always drove cars with reckless abandon and frequently got into fisticuffs and shootouts with that week's villains before invariably "getting" the girl. They were even more reprehensibly macho (and unintentionally slashy in their relationship) than you might imagine, but the involvement of Brian Clemens, of The Avengers fame, meant that the self-consciously gritty proceedings were often lent a certain wry humour and sense of quirkiness.

In other words, crossing The Professionals over with Doctor Who, and even better teaming Bodie and Doyle up with the post-Terror of the Zygons UNIT lineup of the Brigadier, "Mr" Benton and Harry Sullivan, is as far as I'm concerned a stroke of fanfictional genius. Not only is it fun to see how the latter-day UNIT go about trying to deal with an alien threat without the Doctor's assistance, and to see how the agents whose day job involves dealing with human crimes react to one of their investigations suddenly colliding with otherworldly happenings, but all of the characters are portrayed deftly and true to themselves. You don't need to be familiar with the crossover to appreciate how well Bodie and Doyle are delineated from each other very economically via dialogue and the ways they respond to events, while at the same time the Brigadier and Cowley, on the face of it quite similar authority figures, are revealed to be very different in outlook and approach. One of the real strengths of this story, though, is that as well as everything else it is an excellent portrayal of a post-Doctor Harry Sullivan, who gets plenty of opportunities to do stuff and to shine while he's doing it, as well as the author taking time to think about some of the obvious and not so obvious ways that his time aboard the TARDIS may have left its mark upon him.

On top of the characterisations, there is also a genuinely complex and well thought out plot to be going on with, beginning with a pair of linked mysteries and gradually coming together to resolve itself neatly in the end. There are very well-written action sequences and some neat detective work by our teamed-up heroes, and the author-created aliens around which the plot revolves manage to be menacing and sympathetic at the same time. Throughout, the author demonstrates a keen eye and ear for the various tropes and distinguishing characteristics of British TV shows of the era in which the fic is set, and not just the obvious, endlessly-parodied ones either. I will say only this; there is one moment involving a car seat which had me shaking my head in admiration at the vivid period feel of this piece.

So, as you can see, I liked this one very much and I hope you will too. Take some time to read and absorb this fic, and then (I hope) tell the author what a fine piece of work it is.

A Taste )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Ahoy there, Who fanfictioneers! As always when I begin a new stint reccing here on [livejournal.com profile] calufrax, I am struck by how little time at all it seems since last time I did this, and how long it in fact was. Tempus fugit and all that. Well, without further ado, allow me to kick off this round of recommendation with something of a rare gem:

Story: Bounce
Author: Nancy Brown
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 5,470
Author's Summary: A mysterious device affects the lives of the Doctor and his friends.
Characters/Pairings: Amy Pond, Canton Everett Delaware III, Jenny Flint, Madame Vastra, Rory Williams, Strax, The Doctor (11th)
Warnings: None, apart from some references to Victorian-era murders

Recced because: Well, full disclosure, this was written in response to one of my prompts in the EleventyFest ficathon, way back in 2013. When I gave the prompt, though, I don't think I was expecting it to elicit anything as seriously good as this bit of prime Eleven-era fic. This is the fic I was going to rec last time around before being distracted, magpie-like, by another story by the same author, but this time I'm making very sure indeed to put this one front and centre.

The story follows the trail of a strange, and possibly deadly, presumably alien device across three time periods, and with three groups of investigators. In the Victorian era, Madame Vastra, her wife Jenny and the inimitable Strax are called in by Scotland Yard to consult in a case of multiple murders. Meanwhile in the late 1960s, G-Man Canton Everett Delaware III looks into a slew of missing persons against the backdrop of the countercultural anti-war movement and the Nixon administration. And finally in futuristic Scotland, the Doctor and the Ponds are drawn to a museum of extraterrestrial curiosities. The skill with which the author weaves these various strands together to tell a single story, using time travel pleasingly to tie the plot together, is only one of the several great things about this piece.

I especially enjoy the way the different eras each have their own distinctive style, from the Sherlockian stylings of Vastra and Jenny's nineteenth century adventures to the hardboiled inner monologue that drives Canton's sections (and I don't think you have to find him as cool a character as I do to really dig those parts). As with those of this author's other works that I have read, it is the characterisation and the voices that I find most compelling about this. Canton's private-eye-esque patter aside, the Doctor-Amy-Rory team TARDIS (one of my favourite of all time) really shine here, and even Strax gets one excellent, and very Strax-like, exchange.

I urge you - don't walk, (metaphorically) run over to the Teaspoon and read this one, and please be sure to tell the author how much you liked it.

An Extract )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Well, these past two weeks have sped by and I hope you've enjoyed the recs I've posted here as much as I have enjoyed sharing them. I'll just slip this last one in before handing reccing duties over to the inimitable [livejournal.com profile] lost_spook:

Story: Riddles in the Dark
Author: nonelvis
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1702
Author's Summary: The Great Intelligence easily sneaks onto the TARDIS. Defeating the Doctor, however, will be much harder.
Characters/Pairings: Jamie McCrimmon/The Doctor (2nd), the Great Intelligence
Warnings: None

Recced because: Well, mainly because this is a lovely, fluffy laugh-out-loud fic in which the Second Doctor finally gets that ultimate showdown he never got with the Great Intelligence post-Web of Fear and it takes the form of a somewhat whimsical riddle competition. Similarities to Bilbo's contest with Gollum in The Hobbit are entirely coincidental, the author assures us, and to be honest Professor Tolkien was never as funny as this. If you don't cackle like a fool at the bit with the pizza-related question then, quite honestly, I don't understand you at all.

This fic actually has quite a bit going on in addition to the great jokes. The Second Doctor, a character often thought of as quite difficult to capture in prose, is very finely portrayed here, with numerous moments and bits of dialogue that just ring true. Not only can you hear Troughton's voice at various points, you can picture his facial expressions. The idea of the Doctor having a romantic relationship with Jamie is presented so matter-of-factly and so tenderly that even if you're not a dedicated Two/Jamie shipper you'll find yourself getting behind it, and certainly you don't have to be into that ship to find the conclusion of the fic, and the means of the Doctor's victory over the Intelligence, very appealing indeed - a real "aww" moment, for me.

That pizza joke, though... :D Go and see for yourself. I'm not liable for anything you may spit out over your keyboard, by the way.

And that's your lot from me for now.

A Moment )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Fifteen Minutes
Author: TheBigCat
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 4845
Author's Summary: Solving a murder mystery on a train? All in a day's work for the Doctor and Ace.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (7th), Ace
Warnings: Some mild murder/violence

Recced because: Well, it's no secret by now; I love the Seventh Doctor and Ace, both individually and collectively as they go about writing wrongs, fighting for justice and generally injecting a little anarchy into space and time. And this fic offers a fine example of them doing what they do best, unplugged, as it were; no aliens, no universe-threatening eeevills from the dawn of time, just a Professor and his eager pupil unable to stand by and let evil go unpunished and just too good at it for any hapless villain who isn't even an alien or an aforementioned eeevill to stand a chance (although comparatively small-scale evils are still, you know, evil and as far as Seven and Ace are concerned still need to be sorted out). Just to make it even more impressive, they do it all aboard a moving train carriage in the space of time it takes to get from one station to the next.

Even more than a lot of other Doctor-companion relationships, I think a big part of the appeal of Seven and Ace is their interactions with each other, the banter and conversation, the way there's always more to what they say to each other than simple exposition. It's the way they interact, more than anything, as well as the teacher/pupil relationship and the genuine bond of friendship and affection they have even as he's testing her half the time and the rest of the time they're lying to each other more often than not. This all shines through in this fic, with some delightful Seven-Ace repartee and all of the little quirks and tics you come to expect from the pair of them. Like most of the best Seven fiction (fan and otherwise) it's told from Ace's p.o.v. and manages to pack in a lot of subtle characterisation by showing the world through her unique lens. And the Seven portrayed here is, I would say, extremely Seven-ish, with some great little bits of business that you can imagine Sylvester McCoy carrying out with aplomb were this a scene from a television story.

Anyway, go over to Teaspoon and see what you think, and be sure to let the author know that you like it (because I'm sure you will).

A Sample )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Gentleman Caller
Author: locker_monster
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 3819
Author's Summary: Who's the grey-haired Scottish man the Chandras keep seeing at Sarah Jane's house? Does she have a new boyfriend?
Characters/Pairings: Clara Oswin Oswald, Gita Chandra, Haresh Chandra, Sarah Jane Smith, Sky, The Doctor (12th)
Warnings: None

Recced because: Like the rest of Doctor Who fandom, I was dismayed to hear of the untimely death of Elisabeth Sladen in 2011. Although it pales into insignificance by comparison, as much as I recognised that ending the series at that point was the right decision, I was also very sad to see the end of The Sarah Jane Adventures, my favourite Who spin-off (sorry, Torchwood!). I know I was not alone in this, nor in craving hints as to what might have happened next to the Bannerman Road gang, and especially how their paths might have crossed again with characters from the main series. So any fic that explores these areas is going to be one I want to read.

I find this fic particularly delightful for the way it focuses on two of my favourite SJA characters, Rani's parents Gita and Haresh, and for portraying them so vividly and in a manner that is so true to their onscreen characters. They both react exactly as you might expect to the notion of a mysterious new man appearing in Sarah Jane's life, which is to say completely differently and at considerable cross purposes. Another thing I find extremely interesting here is the way the author imagines how life might have continued for the characters following the end of the TV series, picking up on the hints in those final episodes to present a considerably altered status quo, with the younger characters moving on beyond school and parents and the newly introduced Sky coming more to the fore. This is no doubt the path the series itself would have followed had it been able to continue.

The highlight here, of course, is the great crossover it imagines which surely would have happened had SJA continued up to the present day (considering the episodes featuring Ten and Eleven) - the Twelfth Doctor meeting Sarah Jane Smith. It's done very well and hearwarmingly here, with Twelve showing as we might have guessed by now that his brusque exterior hides a somewhat less curmudgeonly centre, and of course has an added poignancy due to the rl reason that that encounter can never take place for real.

But enough of that - go and read this fic because it is really rather lovely, and please leave some words of encouragement for the author.

A Moment )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: In Alien Soil
Author: Lyricwritesprose
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1957
Author's Summary: Peri and the Doctor discuss botany, and the Doctor remembers what interests her.
Characters/Pairings: Peri Brown, The Doctor (6th)
Warnings: None

Recced because: Only the other day, I was discussing the venerable Who tradition of offloading surplus companions by marrying them off to random guest characters, and mentioned that I thought Vicki taking off with Troilus was actually one of the occasions when it worked as a storytelling choice. One of the more bizarre examples has to be Peri's apparent romance with Yrcanos at the end of Trial of a Time Lord. I think in recent years I've come around to the idea of it, however ill-advised it might seem. For one thing, it's a better outcome for Peri than the other alternative facing her in that particular story. For another thing, I've found that I actually quite like BRIAN BLESSED's turn in "Mind Warp" and his interactions with Peri - you can almost believe in their relationship if you, like, squint a bit. I also rather like the bizarre version of events given in the epilogue of the Target novelisation, where he somehow ends up as a pro wrestler in 1980s California with Peri as his manager. I think the main thing that's brought me around to quite liking Peri's ending, however, is that there is so much really nice fic out there about what she did next. And this, from a writer who needs no introduction around these parts, is a very fine example.

There is much more to this fic than that, however. We get a nice scene from the period when Peri was still travelling with Six, which features a discussion of botany (nice to see Peri getting a chance to use her expertise) and of Gallifreyan botany in particular. I'm a sucker for Gallifreyan worldbuilding at the best of times, but this is some tip-top stuff addressing a bit of lore we've all heard of but perhaps not thought too deeply about and in a genuinely science-fictional manner too. The part of the story set in Peri's post-Doctor period is just as good, with lots of nice hints about just what sort of society Krontep is (Yrcanos, you may not be entirely surprised to discover, is not some weirdly violent outlier as far as his culture and people go), and how Peri's time there hasn't always been easy but how she has managed to make a fulfilling life there. The main thing I like about this fic, however, is the great characterisation (something I always come back to when discussing fics I like); Peri and the Doctor both shine here, with Six's unique manner and verbosity coming through particularly clearly. I think it's Peri you'll remember afterwards, though, for her wit, her wisdom and her overcoming of adversity, as well as the heartfelt but not uncritical affection she has for both of the men in her life beyond Earth.

Well, go on - go and read it!

An Extract )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: I could never live with me before you came along
Author: Nancy Brown
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 8664
Author's Summary: Canton Everett Delaware III is on a mission from God, er, River to put the band back together.
Characters/Pairings: Amy Pond, Canton Everett Delaware III, Jenny Flint, Madame Vastra, River Song, Rory Williams, The Doctor (11th), plus Anthony Williams and OCs
Warnings: None

Recced because: I was actually planning to rec another fic by this author, and I came across this more or less at random while looking for the other one on her Teaspoon page yesterday...and loved it. And couldn't believe it had no reviews and decided the best way of remedying that with a vengeance was to get it out here on Calufrax. So win/win for me - I get to rec this magnificent fic and still have one in the hole for my next reccing stint! :D

In all seriousness, though, this is a great fic, written with excellent characterisation and just common sense, decency and humanity. You know, like the best fics are. The fact that it also ticks quite a few of my fannish boxes as regards the tail end of the Eleven era (the Capaldinator is obviously brilliant, but I'm unashamed to say Eleven remains "my" NuWho Doctor) certainly doesn't hurt either. I've made no secret of the fact that I was, and am, seriously dissatisfied with the ending Amy and Rory got in The Angels Take Manhattan, not even because of their fates but mainly because of the slapdash way it was all plotted and the way we were expected to swallow rl attempts to plaster over those plot holes by authorial "word of god", so this sort of semi-fix-it (it doesn't actually fix it, but makes its point by illustrating one of the several blatantly obvious ways that it could be fixed) will always hold a certain appeal for me. The fact that it's wise-guy G-Man Canton Everett Delaware III, still one of my all-time favourite one-shot Who guest characters, who gets to be the main instrument of that sort-of-fix-it is, for me, the shiny cherry on top.

The author gives Canton an OC boyfriend, fittingly also a smart-mouthed hard-boiled cop type, who is also the everyman observer of the Doctor's strange world, as they go about reuniting Canton, the Paternoster Row crew, Amy and Rory and their adopted son Anthony, and eventually River and Eleven himself, and even get a bit of fraught adventure along the way. Throughout, we are reminded deftly and thought-provokingly of the difficulties and dangers facing same-sex relationships over the ages, with Vastra and Jenny's relationship also portrayed with great perceptiveness and sensitivity. I think the main thing I like about this, though, is the obvious love for the diverse cast of characters; even the ones that don't get that many lines (Eleven, actually) are vividly portrayed; as I often say of fanfic I find has particularly true-to-life characterisations, you really can hear the voices as you read it.

So get over there and see what you think, and please leave some words of appreciation for the author...!

A Taste )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: The Unlikely (But True) Tale of Troilus & Cressida
Author: Meadowlark
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1249
Author's Summary: Vicki had heard the stories told about Troilus & Cressida, of course, but the reality is much stranger - and better- than fiction.
Characters/Pairings: Other Character(s), Vicki
Warnings: None

Recced because: Of all the instances in which Doctor Who has rid itself of surplus companions by randomly marrying them off to guest characters (and there are quite a few when you start to add them up), at least Vicki's departure in The Myth Makers makes a kind of sense and does have the added bonus of making her a mythological/Shakespearean figure in her own right. And I guess the temptation, for fans and fan-fictioneers, is to wonder what happened next. Things didn't work out that well for the actual Troilus and Cressida, but the TV serial had already deviated significantly from the original story (that being one of the points of the serial) so we have room to speculate.

There have been a couple of "official" versions in various Who spinoff media over the years, most of which tend to assume (as was at one point very much the fashion in such works) that whatever happened it was kind of grim and angsty. I like this fic's version of events a lot better than those.

The thing about Vicki is that while it's easy to dismiss her as a Susan substitute (and I think I was one of those who did, at one point in my fan career - foolishly) and to argue she was underused, she's actually a pretty awesome character. Maureen O'Brien really shines whenever she gets the chance and Vicki's relationship with One is really a joy to behold. I think this fic more than does her justice, especially by emphasising the fact that it is Vicki, with her knowledge of future events and therefore status as a prophet, who is the wise, important half of her relationship with Troilus, really leaving her stamp on the ancient world and overcoming adversity with her own quick wit. The relationship itself is portrayed as a storied sequence of surprises and unexpected turns, but also one of love and compassion. Vicki, basically, gets a happy ending, and I am all for that. I hope you will be too.

An Excerpt )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Calufrax...we meet again! It has been too long. So, anyway, *reads instructions* I'm going to be sharing 4-10 recs with you over the next two weeks *throws instructions away* and I hope you're going to enjoy all of them as much as I did.

Story: Romana And The Quest Against Boredom
Author: Gallifrey Immigrant
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1778
Author's Summary: Romana's bored. That cannot do, so she's looking for a solution.
Characters/Pairings: K-9, Romana II, The Doctor (4th)
Warnings: None.

Recced because: Well, you know that thing where I'm kind of obsessed with Four and Romana and indeed Four/Romana? I'm even worse at the moment, because I've recently been re-watching Seasons 16 and 17 for the first time in some time, and I'm sort of falling in love all over again with those crazy kids and their idiosyncratic adventures. As I was recently opining in a venue other than Livejournal, I'm not really convinced "too silly" is ever a bad thing where Doctor Who is concerned, especially not when you have a Doctor and companion combo who do "silly" with such panache.

And I think this fic is a good example of the whole Season 17 vibe, capturing that combination of innocent whimsy and knowing absurdism and, let's not forget, genuine warmth. I'm particularly fond of the dialogue in this, which really does sound like exactly the sorts of things these characters would be coming out with, as Romana sets out to fight her newly acquired state of boredom in as business-like and slightly oblivious a manner as you would expect her to do so. Some good asides in this from K-9 too, but what I really love is the way Four himself impinges (or doesn't impinge) upon the story, embodying the disreputable uncle/irresponsible teacher side of his nature as he decides to let his protégé figure this particular lesson out for herself (she does...sort of).

Anyway, I think it's lovely, and I hope you will too when you go and read it. Right now!

A Sample )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
And so I come to the end of another Calufrax stint, and as usual it's a bittersweet moment. Glad that people enjoyed the recs over the past few weeks, disappointed that I didn't make time to post the full ten recs (I promised more Torchwood, but alas there will be no more Torchwood - maybe next time!). By way of apology, I leave you all this parting rec:

Story: Twistin' the Night Away
Author: Maggadin
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 436
Author's Summary: It might not actually be Valentine's Day. But that won't stop the Doctor from celebrating it (Seven/Romana).
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (7th)/Romana II
Warnings: None I can see.

Recced because: Well, I don't know if you've noticed this somewhat embarrassing Doctor/Romana problem I have. It's nice to encounter other fic writers who have the same sort of condition from time to time, and this very nice short fic (whose author, I hasten to add in the interests of disclosure, I do kind of knock around with online) shows all of the symptoms.

It's my deeply held private fanon that in that brief gap between the end of the NA novel Lungbarrow and the unfortunate San Francisco shooting incident that we don't talk about (before he got sent on that patently absurd mission to claim the Master's remains from the notoriously fair and scrupulous Dalek judicial system) the Seventh Doctor basically just hung out on Gallifrey with the Lady President Romana, and they might have gone on the odd adventure together, or just out on dates, but they generally had a bit of a "thing" going on. Yes, I'm a sap, I know. Stop sniggering.

And this fic basically takes the same position, which wins it massive bonus points. The thing is, though, it actually works. Seven probably isn't an obvious choice to be having a romantic relationship with anybody, despite us fan-fictioneers and our little foibles, but the way he's portrayed here, it's actually plausible. You can imagine Sylvester McCoy doing that kind of Sylvester McCoy thing with some of the lines, and Romana II is basically as appreciative as she used to be when Four used to take her out on "dates" (that is, not very, on the face of it, but you know she is really, underneath). And it is exactly the sort of time and place Seven would choose for a romantic night out, based on his track record.

So yeah, this kind of overt Doctor-shipping may not be everybody's cup of tea (or your preferred Doctor ships may vary) but I like it, and recommend it. And I strongly suggest you should read it and leave some words for the author. :)

Until next time...

A Moment )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: United Resistance
Author: mercury64
Rating: All Ages on Teaspoon; I would probably say "Teen" if it were my own fic
Word Count: 4,973
Author's Summary: What is the strange object that has crash landed in the north of Scotland? What connects it to a similar incident in the Russian Ural Mountains? What really happened at Tunguska in 1908? Will Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and U.N.I.T. find out the truth?
Characters/Pairings: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, John Benton, Mike Yates, Other Character(s), UNIT
Warnings: Some combat-related violence and descriptions of same, in one instance self-administered

Recced because: As sincere as my admiration is for what I have seen of the Twelfth Doctor up to now, there is one issue where I cannot in all conscience agree with his position. I think somebody once said something about hating the game rather than the player, and while I certainly agree with the Doctor that war and war-related activities are to be avoided if at all possible, and are definitely not to be encouraged, I can't really get alongside the blanket condemnation of soldiers. What, after all, was the Brigadier if not the most soldierly soldier ever to wear the uniform? And while they may not always have agreed on methods and approaches, the Brig and the Doctor were, I think it is fair to say, pretty fast friends after a certain point, and forever after.

You see, I've always had a certain sympathy for the Brig and the UNIT boys. As much as I love the characters and admire the stories in which they appear during the Two, Three and Four eras, they seem to spend a lot of time as stooges and fall-guys, making the Doctor look clever and capable at their expense. And when it actually comes to action against alien threats, they tend not to fare too well. Admittedly, they are fighting well out of their weight class most of the time, but I think I prefer it when they show at least a modicum of professionalism and competence.

And that, to come finally to the point, is the reason I really like this fic. It gives us a glimpse at classic UNIT in action without the Doctor to call upon (he's off on another jaunt, possibly to Peladon or somewhere), and they actually manage to survive and do a reasonably credible job. They don't exactly come to grips fully with the particular extraterrestrial menace they're facing, and they end up resorting to methods that would probably earn a scornful rebuke from the Doctor if he were on the scene, but in the Brig's own words from Battlefield, they do the best they can. The author also clearly has a bit of knowledge of matters military and brings it to bear providing the kind of small details that make the UNIT operation portrayed here seem very believable. The fic is also very nicely written with lots of great little character touches (of course Mike Yates would blithely get his African countries completely mixed up, and of course Sgt Benton seems to be two steps behind everybody else, while the Brig portrayed here is definitely the harder-edged less cuddly Brig of Season 7), some fun OCs (I chuckled a bit at the names used for the various lower-ranking UNIT soldiers) and a pleasing cameo from another Who supporting character who wasn't part of the UNIT years but has been linked with them in the spinoff media.

All this, and references to "real"-life "world of the unexplained" type goings-on too. Take a look, and if you like it (if you're a UNIT well-wisher, I'm sure you will), leave some words of appreciation for the author.

A Preview )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Emissaries from A Charitable Earth
Author: ClocketPatch
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 4,260
Author's Summary: Stranded on Earth following a non-EDA-compliant version of the Time War, Fitz finds himself falling in love with a most unlikely woman.
Characters/Pairings: Fitz Kreiner/other characters
Warnings: None

Recced because: I think it would be fair to say that the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels were a bit of a mixed bag. The NAs that came before them had their high points and their low points, but I think on the whole they had a certain consistency, if not in quality then in general vision and (grim, dark 'n' edgy 90s) tone. The EDAs certainly went through phases and had arcs and so on, but I always thought they were a bit more pot luck. They certainly had their moments, for both good and ill. They're a strand of Who's not-really-canon I'd like to see addressed more in fic (along with all of the other strands in their seemingly infinite multitudes), but that's just me.

One of the things that the EDAs really had going for them was the character of Fitzgerald Michael "Fitz" Kreiner, one of that select band of non-television companions from the various spinoff media who really could hold their own with the best of the televised lot. He was a complex character, Fitz, with some rather dodgy tendencies, but tended to overcome them as he travelled with the Doctor and on the whole his heart was in the right place. An exceedingly human companion, Fitz. Or rather, his biodata clone after a certain point, because...well, the EDAs were just like that sometimes, especially after Lawrence Miles got involved. In any case, I consider that Fitz (or his clone) really should be in more fic, so that's another tick in favour of this fic in my opinion.

And this fic makes excellent use of the character, exploring his combination of cynicism and romanticism, the naivety of the long-distance time traveller and how his yearning for love crashes into bitter everyday reality and his own difficult baggage after years spent travelling with the Doctor. The author paints a convincing picture of a damaged individual, out of touch with the time and place he finds himself in, but desperate - painfully so - for something better. It is a very affecting portrayal, and made all the more so by the revelation of how the post-EDAs Fitz came to be the way he is. The portrayal of the Time War and the Doctor's part in it given here is no longer strictly in line with what we know, or think we know, by this point in the post-2005 series, but such are the perils of fic. It is, however, convincingly horrible and horrifying. Even if the particulars were not like this, the general tone of the proceedings are probably not very far from the way it "really" was for the wartime Doctor.

And then there is the fic's final revelation. I didn't see it coming on my first read, although I think I can see a couple of clues on subsequent readings, but it is in any case a genuine "gasp of surprise" sort of moment and will stay in your memory long after reading.

On top of all that, we're talking about another author who is never less than reliable. You know you're going to get good fic reading one of her stories, usually with interesting character insights, great use of descriptive prose and a pleasing combination of high concept and realistic meditations on real life and the human condition. All of which you are getting if you go and read this fic. Please be sure to leave words of appreciation for the author.

An Excerpt )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: The Power of Cake
Author: liadt
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 2,206
Author's Summary: Two Time Lords chained to each other and covered in cake seek shelter in George Bulman's shop. George is not impressed. A cakefic crossover with the UK television series 'Bulman' (1985-87).
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (3rd), The Doctor (7th), crossover characters
Warnings: None, unless naked Doctors really don't agree with you.

Recced because: Once upon a time there was a small but plucky Doctor Who forum called Death by Aspirin (it's still going if you want to search for it out of idle curiosity), and there, due to a slight misunderstanding one day, one of the regular posters accidentally invented a new fic meme which featured two Doctors (preferably Ten and Three, to begin with) chained to each other, one of them naked, both covered in cake. Oh, and it had to be all the Master's doing. I'm sure we've all accidentally invented fic memes like that in our time. ;)

And lo, the members of the forum thought that the meme was good and they did adopt the meme and embroider the meme and try different combinations of Doctors and other characters and ever more baroque explanations for how the chains and the nakedness and the cake became involved. Eventually, the subgenre even got its own community right here on Livejournal: http://cakefic.livejournal.com/

And then, the author of tonight's fic rec decided to write a crossover mashing up the cakefic meme with a perhaps undeservedly obscure 80s British TV series Bulman. George Kitchener Bulman was a retired police detective turned clock repairman/private eye and probably the most eccentric character in a genre full of eccentric characters. His titular series was actually a spinoff of a spinoff, strangely enough, and he was played by acting legend Don Henderson a.k.a the raw-meat-chewing, rocking-chair-appreciating Gavrok out of Delta and the Bannermen a.k.a. that bloke sitting at the table in the original Star Wars who isn't too impressed by the Death Star.

And a most amusing fic it is as well. You don't even have to be as familiar with the crossover series as I am (which is to say, only a very little bit in my hazy memories of long-ago telly) to appreciate the off-the-wall world of Bulman and be tickled pink by the idea that two Time Lords covered in cake and chains stumbling into the shop isn't the weirdest thing going on in that particular milieu. Also noteworthy is the way Three maintains his poise and essential Three-ness even in this unfortunate predicament while Seven is, of course, completely unfazed by the fact that he is not only covered in cake and handcuffs but also has somehow lost all of his clothing apart from his signature headgear. Go and read it, anyway, chuckle to yourselves and then tell the author how much you dig it and now want to watch Bulman. Worth it for the line about "despairing maniacal laughter" alone. :)

A Slice )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Where Lies The Honour?
Author: Gary Merchant
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 4,963
Author's Summary: A lone Sontaran Commander begins to question the meaning of the Empire
Characters/Pairings: The Sontarans
Warnings: None

Recced because: It's the Sontarans, as you've never seen them before! Would be the tagline if this were a Hollywood movie as opposed to a Doctor Who fanfic. It would also be a particularly accurate tagline in this instance, where we are presented with tale of the Sontaran Commander Styne and his lonely quest to make sense of his own existence and that of his entire species.

It's one of the things about Doctor Who, something I've increasingly found myself thinking about as a fan. The programme' ideals and values as embodied in the Doctor are, broadly speaking, progressive and inclusive. And yet, you have at least a couple of alien species knocking around (Daleks and Cybermen, I'm looking at you) whose members are pretty much exclusively and irredeemably evil, and are viewed as such, by and large, by the Doctor. It's something the people making the original series were at least aware of and played with, most noticeably with the Ice Warriors in the first Peladon story (although they had reverted to type in the second one), and the likes of the Silurians had a degree of ambiguity. The Sontarans, though, occupied a unique position to my mind. They never did anything, really, that wasn't negative or, for lack of a better term, evil, but there was no indication they were inherently so inclined, the way the Daleks are. They're stone cold militarists with a callous disregard for collateral damage in the course of their operations, but on the whole it's a more down to earth sort of evil than that displayed by some of the threats the Doctor runs up against, more relatable.

And so we have the new series character Strax, who demonstrates that for all of being clones trained from birth as soldiers, individual Sontarans can and do break the mould and use their training for relative good. And this fic, written some seven years before Strax ever leapt from Steven Moffat's computer to the television screen, covers similar ground, but arguably in a more thoughtful and interesting way.

If the idea of a fic where all of the characters are Sontaran OCs doesn't appeal to you, I would urge you to give it a chance. It shows the potato-headed clone-soldiers in an interesting new light, and does so mostly through its portrayal of Commander Styne, who gradually comes to the realisation that something about his way of life and what he has been told by his superiors just doesn't make sense. That he does so in a halting and confused, convincingly Sontaran, way is a clever bit of characterisation by the author, as is the portrayal of the other Sontaran characters Styne encounters. Also noteworthy is the amount of interesting worldbuilding this fic manages to pack into relatively few words, casting unexpected sidelights upon the Sontarans, their way of life and their culture, and also suggesting the inequalities and corruption creeping into their supposedly implacable military structure.

And if you want to win those super-fan bonus points, look out for the references to the Sontaran appearances in the 1990s video spinoffs Shakedown and Mindgame (with something of a downer sequel to the latter story also provided in passing).

All in all, a strikingly different and original piece of writing that I hope you will take the time to read as well as offering words of encouragement to the author.

A Snippet )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Acting
Author: manyshadesoflove
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 1,391
Author's Summary: Torchwood may like to think it's a secret organisation, but there are people out there who know what they're about. Though there's got to be a reason so few do.
Characters/Pairings: Ianto Jones/Jack Harkness, Other Character(s)
Warnings: None, although the use of Retcon in interpersonal relationships is not to be condoned.

Recced because: I really like Torchwood, you know? As I may have mentioned during previous reccing runs, there was a time when I was a little leery of identifying myself as a Torchwood fan, because...well, it was a bit dodgy, wasn't it? As the years have passed, however, I've managed to be true to myself and own up to it, even embrace it. And I'm not even talking the classy stuff like Children of Earth. I liked Miracle Day. Yeah, you read right. Especially the plane episode. And as for "classic" TW, i.e. S1-2, well, I can't hold my hands up and claim every single episode is a work of genius...or even that good, in a lot of cases, but my fondness for the thing as a whole only increases as time goes by and it recedes into history, because I think at this point I would be very, very surprised if we ever got another telly series. That's a sad thought, isn't it?

So oldschool TW fics like this one, with mentions of Ianto and Tosh and the gang (even Owen!) appeal to my sense of nostalgia for the "classic" era. And this is a very likeable fic with an excellent narrative voice describing Team Torchwood and their activities from a wry informed outsider's p.o.v. It's also got a good handle on one of the central aspects of the "classic" TW setting, one which the show itself used to poke fun at with increasing regularity as time went on, namely the absurdity of trying to keep an organisation like theirs, with the situations it dealt with and the less-than-subtle people it employed, secret in a city of 300,000-odd people. Especially when the secret organisation's name was written on the side of their SUV...

And the way this fic deals with that issue makes a lot of sense and remains true to the spirit of the series, because of course while Torchwood's half-hearted attempts at secrecy were patently absurd, and the source of some good jokes, if the organisation wasn't secret that was a big part of the setting fatally undermined. They had to keep it up somehow, and this fic suggests how. And no, it goes beyond the liberal use of memory-erasing drugs. The way this fic suggests that the team managed their business also fits Torchwood Three's ethos as an organisation; they were always too cool for school, or certainly had a good go at trying to be.

In addition, this is a very strongly-written fic. As well as the wry viewpoint and voice mentioned above, it's also witty, funny and affectionate and just a little bit saucy too. Oh, and if you can identify which New Who episode the character revealed as the narrator of this fic appeared in, and know of his meta-connection to Ianto, then you're doing well. A super-fan, probably. ;)

By the way, this isn't the last Torchwood fic I'll be reccing over these two weeks. Not by a long shot.

An Appetiser )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Ports of Call
Author: rutsky
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1,192
Author's Summary: They eventually discovered he'd lied about New York
Characters/Pairings: Amy Pond/Rory Williams, River Song
Warnings: None as such, but does contain a good dose of grit and reality in its portrayal of Amy and Rory's post-Doctor relationship.

Recced because: I think it would be fair to say that I was, and definitely remain, a huge fan of the Eleventh Doctor and his era. I even, gods help me, genuinely think that New Who would have been very much the poorer without Steven Moffat's tenure as showrunner and that most (most!) of his judgments and instincts as writer and general head-honcho-type have been bang on the money. I recognise that as a whole the era had good stories and bad stories, as every Who era does, but I refuse to subscribe to arguments that it somehow declined in quality over the course of its run or that "it was time for a change". I'm very much enjoying the Twelve era so far and think Peter Capaldi is nothing less than a demigod in human form, but I could have lived with another season or two of Eleven, no problem at all.

Having said all of that (just so you know where I'm coming from)...

I @#&%ing hate The Angels Take Manhattan. Or at least its ill-conceived ending which, imho, fails on so many levels I'd be listing them all night and clocking up more words than the fic I'm theoretically reccing. Your mileage, as they used to say, and as is the case with all things fan-related, may and probably does vary. I consider it a poor exit for the two companions I consider to be probably the best (certainly when considered as a pair) of the 2005 series.

So, having laid my cards so verbosely on the table, I probably wouldn't classify this fic as a fix-it (which the author admits to being in two minds about) so much as a statement of the facts as they stood at the end of said story. One senses perhaps in reading the piece that the author was as nonplussed by that ending and as aware of its gaping plot-holes as I and, going from comments I read at the time, quite a lot of other people were. That's really beside the point, though. I'm not reccing this fic because its author happens to come down on my side in a fanw*nky argument, but because it highlights two really important things about the Eleven era.

The first of these is that Eleven was a bit of a slippery customer, morally. I'm not really convinced by some of the PR efforts to paint Twelve as a particularly edgy and ruthless Doctor, although he's certainly more up front about it, because it always seemed that Eleven got up to some dodgy stuff, more or less constantly and unapologetically (although he did tend to hide it behind his goof-ball exterior) and I think most of the time we the audience were supposed to notice that and think about it. I say most of the time, because some of the dodgiest stuff he did, though, particularly in his personal relationships, went more or less uncommented upon and indeed tacitly condoned "by the show", for want of a better term. I think even as big a fan of Eleven and his era and Moffat's work as I will admit to being, or indeed somebody really invested in the relationships between the characters, can see some of the morally problematic things that are going on there and wonder why "the show" seems unaware of them. It's an important aspect of the era and one I see confronted in too few fanworks. This one takes it head on; this Doctor's a liar, and not always for good reasons.

The other really important thing about the Eleven era this fic highlights and plays homage to, one of its central planks, is the relationship between Amy and Rory. These are two imperfect people (like all of us) and they have this very complicated, not always easy, bond but it ends up being one that they both draw strength from and one that neither of them can live without. This fic examines that complex relationship warts and all and the way Amy's and Rory's situation in Manhattan after parting from the Doctor might have affected it. It also confronts us with the incredible strength both of these characters have shown in adversity and the toll the sorts of adventures they have been involved in have taken upon them. I would say that that is the main selling point of this fic for me, apart from the fact that it is very well-written; it is unflinching in its consideration of how this situation might really play out. For a supposed "fix-it", it pulls few punches, either in its portrayal of the characters, their relationship and their predicament, or in considering the off-screen Doctor and his actions. And it does so not out of a desire to bash but out of a deep concern and investment in the material and the characters. Good stuff, in other words.

Anyway, thanks for reading my rant. Now go and read the fic and tell the author how much you liked it. ;)

A Taste )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Thank you, thank you, it's good to be back and I hope all of you will enjoy the next fortnight's reccing. I'd especially like to welcome all the members of Illinois's law enforcement community who have chosen to join me here on [livejournal.com profile] calufrax at this time...


Anyway, on with the fic:

Story: The Music Snob of Sherwood
Author: Lyricwritesprose
Rating: All ages
Word Count: 200
Author's Summary: The Doctor does not have a very good bedside manner.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (12th), some "Merrie" Men
Warnings: None

Recced because: Well, we're five episodes in to Series 8 of New Who/the Twelve era/whatever you want to call it, and on the whole I'm enjoying it greatly so far. So I thought I'd definitely include at least one Twelve fic in this reccing run just to highlight the fact that a lot of people are already doing good work with the new Doctor and his era. I'm sure they'll be doing even better work when S8 is over and Twelve is bedded in and we know more about him, but stuff like this is very nice to be going on with in the meantime, very nice indeed. And I don't know about my fellow reccers on here, but I always get a certain satisfaction to securing the bragging rights of having recced hot-off-the-presses good fic like this before any of the rest of them got to it. ;)

I also thought this fic would be a good one to draw attention to at this point because it highlights one of the aspects of the new Doctor and his stories that I am especially enjoying, namely the Twelve's brilliant cantankerous spikiness; he may or may not be a good man, he shows signs of being a kind man underneath it all, but he quite a lot of the time is far from being a nice man, at least not when he's right in your face. Peter Capaldi plays this aspect of the Doctor (and let's be honest, pretty much all of the other ones too) brilliantly, and you can almost hear him spitting the words out in this nicely done double drabble. It also builds on what has for me so far been possibly the most purely enjoyable S8 story, the amazingly silly (this is not a bad thing in Who, if you ask me) Robot of Sherwood, and more than does justice to the side of the Doctor displayed in that particular episode.

And on top of all that, let's be honest; this is an author you know you're in safe hands with. She does not disappoint. And that goes for this fic too. Go and read, enjoy, and offer appropriate words of appreciation over on Teaspoon.

A Sample )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Well, these two weeks have flown by and my reccing stint here on this lovely comm is now at an end. I didn't manage to post the maximum ten recs allowed by the new rules...this time, but hopefully there will be other opportunities. Before I sign off, then, and your next intrepid reccer takes over, I will leave you with this parting shot:

Story: What Dreams May Come
Author: Misato
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 393
Author's Summary: In his new beginning, the Doctor finds something he'd lost.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (11th), Unspecified Companion
Warnings: None

Recced because: Very shortly, we are going to be venturing into the unknown once again, with the demise of the current Doctor and the introduction of a new one. And during all of the excitement over the summer surrounding this impending event, I've found it amusing and informative to remind myself of some of the buzz surrounding the last time this happened. The wild press speculation on possible Doctor actors (and even some of the names suggested) was practically identical, then and now. And once the announcement was made, well I suppose Peter Capaldi is less of an unknown quantity than Matt Smith was to most of us back then, but still he's a versatile actor; we have no real way of knowing exactly what his Doctor is going to be like until we see him in action.

But we can speculate. As you may have noticed, there is already a Twelfth Doctor section over on the Teaspoon; it already has stories in it, even. And it makes me remember when fandom was in the same position with regard to the as-yet-unseen Eleven, all of the various versions of him that fluttered about in the fanfic space before The Eleventh Hour hit our screens and collapsed that particular superposition.

This fic is one of those speculations that I especially enjoyed at the time, and it still makes me smile fondly now. It stems from the announcement of Karen Gillan as the new companion (before we even knew Amy was called Amy) and the fact that she is Scottish. I recall, perhaps fancifully, the idea this fic is based around actually being discussed as a serious theory for a short while in online fandom. And as much as I enjoyed the Amy we got, a little piece of me still thinks "what if...?" This is also a very nicely-written fic that I hope you will all enjoy even as you wallow a little in Who nostalgia for those legendary days of 2009. Go on; read it, love it, leave some complimentary words for the author.

Oh, and the tone of the opening line does sound scarily like the real Eleven, if you ask me:

“Why are you still following me?! Didn’t I say to let me alone?”

And that's your lot from me for the time being. :)
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Feedback
Author: ClocketPatch
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 2,918
Author's Summary: Explosion. The packed clod of ice smashed into the side of Amelia's head. It didn’t break off into powder like a proper snowball. It thudded against the ground beside her, shattering just as another ice ball hit.
Characters/Pairings: Amy Pond, Rory Williams, The Doctor (11th)
Warnings: Some fairly close-to-the-bone discussion of Amy's childhood traumas

Recced because: If you've been paying any attention to the comm at all, you will know by now that Clocketpatch is a very safe bet indeed when it comes to finding some fic that will consider interesting angles using interesting prose stylings and interesting choice of language. Fic worth reading, in other words. My main reason, however, for giving this author another rec on the comm so soon after her last one is that this story is, not to put too fine a point on it, really good - which surely should be reason enough?

Cast your minds back, as I asked you to do the other day, not to the heady days of 2008 and The Dark Knight, but rather back to 2010 and Series 5 of new Doctor Who. I think one of the things that sold me, and a lot of other fans, on the idea of Amy Pond as a companion was the very real sense given in The Eleventh Hour and some of the subsequent episodes that our Amy, she wasn't quite..."normal". How could she be, after the raggedy Doctor and his blue box had so impinged upon her life at such an early stage? And for a lot of people who don't consider themselves quite "normal" (and who of us is, really?), that was a cool and aspirational thing, even if it was one of the several cool things from S5 that Steven Moffat still hasn't quite followed through on (although there is still the 50th Anniversary special, he says, hopefully, perhaps delusionally).

The thing is, though, just what kind of childhood trauma did that glib line about biting "three psychiatrists", or the very real sense that Amy is regarded as a Leadworth "local character" by the likes of Mrs Victor Meldrew, what did that conceal? And this fic takes that idea head-on, and pulls few punches. It is raw, thought-provoking, somewhat disturbing stuff. And the amazing thing is that that (which would provide sufficient material for an entire fanfic in itself for most of us) is only this fic's opening section. It goes on very rapidly to set up an actual storyline, a real science-fictional predicament and then to pull back and remind us that what is really important is Amy and Rory and the Doctor, this Team TARDIS, undoubtedly one of the very best in the entire run of the new series to date, and their complex, not always easy, three-way relationship.

It's an indication of what a good fic this is that, quite in spite of the devastating insight into Amy's character and just what price she paid by encountering the Doctor all those years ago, its actual highlight is the lovely Doctor-Rory-Amy interactions with all of their nuances, reminding us that as cool as Clara is (and she's very cool indeed, imho), we lost a lot when we lost the Ponds.

I know I say this a lot, but I mean it: go over to the Teaspoon, read the fic, tell the author how awesome you thought it was. :)

An Extract )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: The Future
Author: hangingfire
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 1,472
Author's Summary: In which the Master suffers a setback. Set before the events of "The Deadly Assassin".
Characters/Pairings: The Master
Warnings: Some somewhat grotesque imagery related to what happened to the Master in the gap between Frontier in Space and The Deadly Assassin

Recced because: We looked at a story yesterday that dealt with the Daleks, so it seems appropriate today to move on to a fic that considers his other great enemy, the other one that really gets under his Timelordly skin...

I think it's one of the big shock twists in Doctor Who history, yet another reason why The Deadly Assassin is the timeless classic it is; and not only does the Master make an unexpected reappearance, but...it's not the Master we remember from last time. Not at all. Of course, the offscreen nature of the changes the character undergoes, and even the fact that the Master is still around at all after the end of the Three era, is largely down to the circumstances of Roger Delgado's untimely and tragic death, which also meant that the planned "final confrontation" between Master and Doctor was never made. It's still extremely effective, and really set the stage for the career the Master had afterwards, where no matter how unlikely it might have seemed at the end of his last story, the Master always survives and returns for another round with his best enemy (any day now in the new series, I tell you - any day now). One of the great questions in Who fandom, though, remains - just what did happen to him between stories, to change him from the droll and debonair evil mastermind he had been into...that thing?

One attempt to answer that question came in author John Peel's novel Legacy of the Daleks, part of the EDA range. Legacy, and its companion piece War of the Daleks are, strictly imho mind you, something of a waste of space and time, what with their weak attempts at retconning great swathes of onscreen Dalek continuity for the sake of making some not particularly good fanw*nky points. Still, that shouldn't discourage you from giving your love to this fic, which takes the scenario presented in the novel as its starting point and examines the Master's horrific but ultimately self-inflicted predicament from his own inimitable point of view.

The thing is, even in that predicament and undergoing the horrifying changes forced upon him by having the bad luck to get so badly injured while being out of regenerations, he's still at the end of the day the Master. This fic does an excellent job of conveying that, of highlighting all of the characteristics and viewpoints that make him the character he is, doomed to failure in the end perhaps, but still intensely dangerous and capable of getting out of the tightest of scrapes. He's always looking for an angle, an opportunity he can exploit, and when that opportunity falls to him, he sets about using it and manipulating it like, well, like a master.

I would say that this fic greatly transcends its source material from the novel, building upon it and enriching it with its character insights. As far as missing scenes bridging the gap between Delgado!Master and the Deadly Assassin Master go, this might well be the gold standard. It's also very nicely written indeed.

I urge you once again - go and read this fic now. And leave some words of encouragement for the author to see.

An Excerpt )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Ten Times the Doctor Hates the Daleks
Author: Derek Metaltron
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 2,871
Author's Summary: Across ten incarnations the Doctor has faced a enemy who has cost him friends and allies, planets and stars, his very home world. They are the Daleks, and these are ten tales of how he has learnt to hate them.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctors (1st to 10th), various companions and supporting characters, Davros and the Daleks
Warnings: None

Recced because: I'll admit to something of a fannish obsession with the Daleks. Not so much the Daleks as we see them most of the time on screen, but the idea of the Daleks. Because it really is a great concept, and a fantastically horrible one when you really think about it. Which I have, probably a bit too much. The thing about the Daleks, however, while I obviously reject vehemently the idea current in fandom that it's possible to see them too often in the series, is that they rarely live up to the power of the concept in their TV outings. Often they fill a role that could be played by any generic aliens and/or robots with a bit of a search-and-replace on the script. And that, I often find, is where good fanfic comes in.

Whether the Daleks obsess the rest of you as much as they do me or not (I suspect not, in most cases!), they do occupy a unique place in the history of Doctor Who, both in-universe and in terms of the lifespan of the series itself. They're the original Who monsters, and still the benchmark against which new pretenders are measured. Even the Cybermen, probably the second most iconic Who monsters, were originally an attempt to find "the next Daleks". And in story terms, the Doctor already had an ultimate archenemy - he knew it and perhaps more importantly they knew it - long before the Master ever showed up and started telling people to obey him. I'll be very disappointed if they don't play a prominent role in the 50th Anniversary story.

And this excellent fic meditates upon that idea, the pivotal and perhaps unique role the Daleks have played in the Doctors lives, through examining the way the Doctor reacts to them. I don't think it's unwarranted to talk, as the fic does, about the Doctor hating the Daleks. Look at Nine's spitting fury in the new series episode Dalek for Exhibit A. We perhaps don't like to think as fans about the Doctor hating anybody, he's meant to be better than that and to hold himself to a higher standard - and the fic explores that as well. As much as the Doctor has been subjected again and again to the Daleks' ingrained evil, their murderous and destructive deeds again and again, he still doubts that giving in to hating them, and doing to them what that implies, is something he should be doing. It's the same moral dilemma posed by the famous scene from Genesis - does he have that right? Does feeling for them what they feel for him make him as bad as they are? This fic examines that idea through the eyes of all ten Doctors extant at the time it was written, and comes back to that essential truth about the Doctor and his relationship with his greatest enemies. As much as they've done, and as much as he's seen of that, as much pain as they've caused him, at the end he is better than they are, in moral terms, so he'll always have that doubt, and always hold back, and end up always having to fight them again.

It's a fic I really like, anyway. Please go and read it, and please leave some words for the author.

A Sample )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Making It Stranger
Author: Bad_Dickens
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 26,771
Author's Summary: The Doctor arrives in Arkham Asylum while Jack Harkness meets Batman. Cardiff must brace itself for a visit from the Clown Prince of Crime. A Batman/Nolan!verse cross over with Doctor Who and Torchwood.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (10th), the survivors of Torchwood S2 (Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones, Captain Jack Harkness), Martha Jones, Mickey Smith, plus crossover characters.
Warnings: Some violence, both physical and psychological and all of the attendant creepiness and tastelessness you'd expect from The Dark Knight version of the Joker.

Recced because: Who doesn't like a good crossover? Well, some people probably don't, but I'm not one of those people. I love a good crossover, and this is a very good crossover indeed.

Cast your minds back to the distant, heady days of 2008. We'd just picked our jaws up off the floor, for a variety of reasons, after watching Journey's End. We still had the festive rollercoaster thrill-ride that was The Next Doctor to come in a few months' time. How to kill some time while we waited? Well, the announcement that David Tennant would be leaving the role of the Doctor, eventually, and the attendant media scrum did that to an extent, but before that a lot of us, in the UK at least, went to the cinema and watched... Mama Mia. Not me, though - I was in the screen next door watching The Dark Knight and loving it.

This was before it made a squillion dollars at the box office and the fan backlash set in, before last year's rather Marmite-ish conclusion to the Nolan Bat-trilogy muddied the waters still further. At the time, TDK was the hot ticket (it had Eric Roberts from the Eight TV Movie in it!) and the late Heath Ledger's nightmarish Joker was burning up the screen just like Jack Nicholson's had back in 1989 (scarily, I can remember the hype around that one when it came out too). Good stuff. Even better, though, when my enthusiasm for the film and its world was still at its height, this excellent crossover fic was posted to the Teaspoon. I remember following it avidly, checking every day for updates, and generally lapping it up.

Essentially, this story takes the Batman and his rogues' gallery from the Christopher Nolan films and, via a bit of Rift-related jiggery-pokery throws them up against the Tenth Doctor and Captain Jack's much-depleted Torchwood Three team, with Mickey and Martha thrown in for good measure. Everybody's in-character, and gets nice character moments to boot, but it's also all hung on a good, well-plotted story in which everybody gets things to do and a chance to shine. The Joker is, as you would expect, a force of nature, using the villainous plot-armour that is basically his non-super superpower to throw a spanner into our heroes' works and put them through the wringer. And, to be honest, who doesn't think the idea of the Joker versus a Dalek is a good idea? Oh, right. Well, I do.

All this and Weevils too! Seriously, even if you're not a Batman fan, or a fan of the Nolan/Bale movies, go and read this just for the Who and Torchwood characters and their reactions to the off-the-wall situation. You won't regret it. And when you're finished, please leave your words of appreciation for the author.
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: They Say
Author: Lyricwritesprose
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 744
Author's Summary: The oppressed rely on whispers.
Characters/Pairings: None, directly.
Warnings: Some references to slavery and the violence and brutality involved in same. Nothing graphic, however.

Recced because: Another author who has become no stranger to these pages in recent months and years, and there's a reason for that. If you ask me (and seeing as you're reading my rec post, in some sense you already have), Lyricwritesprose is one of the very best new Whofic writers to emerge onto the scene in the past few years, maintaining a consistently high standard of interesting fics with things to say about Doctor Who, its characters and universe that are worth thinking about. This fic is no exception.

There's a wariness among some Who fans regarding what I've heard referred to as the fetishising of the Doctor. The tendency, perhaps, to invest him with godlike or superheroic status over and above that of an extremely clever and resourceful adventurer in time and space. Probably the prime example in many of these fans' minds would be the moment in Forest of the Dead - "Look me up." I think the point is that the Doctor shouldn't be able to rely on the power of his reputation alone in confrontations with powerful enemies - and I think it's an opinion Stephen Moffat has at least paid lip service to in the idea of making the Eleventh Doctor "anonymous" again and portray him as deliberately trying to lower his profile in the universe, even if this was perhaps not executed perfectly in practice.

This fic deals in these sorts of areas, takes them head on, and paints a brilliantly thoughtful and original picture of the, for want of a better term, Whoniverse and what it must be like to exist in it. This is a dangerous cosmos, the author makes clear, perhaps more dangerous than the series itself occasionally remembers, filled with conflict and oppression and evil. And yet, quite literally its saving grace, it has the Doctor. And this isn't the Doctor as some sort of lionised godlike superhero - his personality and indeed existence are immaterial. This is about the footprint the Doctor leaves, the effect his actions have upon the universe he exists in and the lives of the people living in it, and the hope that footprint provides for all of the others out there in the darkness, regardless of whether they know how or why it exists. It is, quite simply, lovely stuff, the kind of thing I really relish in a good fanfic.

I would characterise this as a companion piece to the author's other story "Invisible Road", which was also recently recced on the comm. That's more than worth your reading time as well. If I were you, I would go and read both of them right now and leave appropriate words of encouragement for the author.

A Taste )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
No, of course I haven't forgotten that I'm reccing here these two weeks - I'm just spreading them out a bit. Yes, that's right. Spreading them out. Clearly. Anyway, without further ado:

Story: Blood From A Very Tall Stone
Author: nostalgia
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 1,416
Author's Summary: So, like, Romana and Duggan clearly liked each other in 'City Of Death'. This is the post-ep fic about how the Doctor was like really jealous or something. Can the epic timelove be saved? Will K-9 survive? What happens to the cups of tea that vanish early on in the story?
Characters/Pairings: Romana II, The Doctor (4th)
Warnings: None that I can think of

Recced because: Well, as may have become embarrassingly clear based on some of my earlier reccing spells, I'm more than a bit partial to a bit of Four/Romana, especially Four/Romana II, and even more especially when it evokes the spirit of those gloriously silly Season 17 stories as well as this does.

File this one under the by now bulging dossier of fics I can't believe hadn't already been recced on the comm. I mean, it's a really good fic by a well-known member of the LJ Whofic community and it seems like years since I first read it (five years in fact, from the timestamp on the review I left over on Teaspoon), so it would seem to be a shoe-in for having already been brought up here. In fact I was fairly sure it had been, but it turns out not.

The idea of a Romana/Duggan "thing" during City of Death, and of imagining the Doctor's reaction afterwards seems by now to be a well-worn path for Four-ficcers to take, although it's always interesting to see the different takes on it. For my money, this is one of the very best versions out there, and what really makes it work is the dialogue. Sparkling, I believe is the word for it. Every other line is a zinger. Those wonderfully absurdist word-games that the Doctor and Romana managed to veer into at the most unlikely moments, rendered here with incredible fidelity to the original source material. It's a bit of a cliché to observe when praising dialogue in fanfic that you can hear the original actors saying the words, but I really can when I read this. And as I know from bitter experience, unless you're a genuine comedic genius like Douglas Adams (and who of us is?) writing that stuff even reasonably well is hard. So hats off, really, to anybody who can do it as seamlessly as in this fic.

So yes, if Four/Romana is your thing, then this is the real deal. 24 carat stuff. Go and check it out and leave a word or two of appreciation.

An Excerpt )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Well, here I am, your reccer for...well, the next two weeks, owing to the slight change in the rules here on the comm. Exciting stuff. Once again I will make the by now traditional observation that it doesn't seem like that long since I was last reccing here, but in fact it turns out it was ages. Anyway, hopefully this will be as fun for all of you as it is going to be for me. :)

Story: Agony
Author: Jesht
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 462
Author's Summary: Every time he wakes, he remembers.
Characters/Pairings: I think that would be telling.
Warnings: Some quite gruesome and unpleasant violence is referred to explicitly, if not described graphically, so exercise caution.

Recced because: Well, I can't promise you that this fic is going to be a happy, fluffy light-hearted reading experience (well, probably not - I suppose that sort of depends on how you roll on an individual basis). It's called "Agony" and, well, like they say, it does what it says on the tin. Of course, that doesn't mean that you won't admire the author's skill and come away with a worthwhile reading experience. This is a story about pain, and the different kinds of pain it is possible to feel, and how somebody's character can respond to it and be shaped by it. I think one of the things good fanfic can do, along with the best of the various officially licenced spinoff media, is really show new sides to characters who would probably never get the chance to show them on the television screen.

I've been a bit coy in not naming the fic's p.o.v. (and indeed only) character in the summary above, because I really do think that this story will work even better for you if you just click the link above and plunge in and read it "cold". I think when you get to the end and realise whose inner monologue you have been reading (although you will probably work it out before you get to the end), not only will it all make a lot of sense, but it will also get you thinking about the sidelight cast on this character and their thought processes and persona by the author here, and maybe understand a little bit more about this character we might think, as fans, that we know so well already. And maybe we'll go away feeling a little sorry for a character that we would ordinarily find it difficult to have any sympathy for, while simultaneously being even more appalled by them than we are already. This is the sort of thing that I always admire greatly when a fanfic manages to pull it off, and it's a big part of my reason for reccing this fic here.

Jesht is an author who has written too few fics, I think, and it seems that I have only discovered her/his work a good few years after s/he stopped archiving stories on the Teaspoon. Which is a shame, really. So I would urge all of you to get over there, read this story and leave suitable words for the author hopefully to read, because you never know, sometimes a bit of encouragement is all it takes.

A Sample )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
"They" say time flies when you're having fun. Well, this week certainly seems to have flown past and I have indeed had fun sharing some recs with all of you and hopefully turning you on to some good fics you wouldn't otherwise have read. Until next time, then, I leave you with this, a very funny drabble:

Story: Flying Visit
Author: johne
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 100
Author's Summary: The head of Torchwood Three catches a couple of trespassers.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (Fatal Death), Emma, and another character...
Warnings: None

Recced because: Well, I'll try and keep this brief or it will end up being longer than the fic itself, but it made me laugh like a drain the first time I read it, and that's reason enough to be going on with, I think. It also features the Doctor from the Red Nose Day charity special Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death, as portrayed by Rowan Atkinson, and his companion Emma as played by Julia Sawalha, and you don't get enough of that kind of thing. Now, if you're not familiar with a certain other television programme also starring Rowan Atkinson, you're probably not going to get the joke, but see it as an opportunity to broaden your pop cultural horizons (I'm sure you'll find at least a couple of relevant clips if you go searching on YouTube). And then you can come back and read this and marvel at the author's masterful bait and switch here, while also agreeing how very, very appropriate his choice of character is. Plus, you'll be better able to imagine the unimpressed expression on Atkinson!Doctor's face:

"The Doctor rolled his eyes."

And with that, I bid you au revoir. ;)
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: And the last shall be first
Author: whovian42
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 3,424
Author's Summary: The final incarnation of the Doctor is tired and has only thing left to do, lay his ship to rest.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (author created) - to say more would give the game away
Warnings: None

Recced because: Again with the full disclosure: I was, at the time of writing a quite close online associate of the author of this piece (although she has since dropped out of online fandom to a large extent, and is no longer as far as I know producing fic), and was sort of tangentially involved in the creation of this fic in providing beta-ing support and discussing a couple of ideas with her. I think whovian42 might be exaggerating my contribution just a little bit in her author's notes on the Teaspoon, though. :) I hope this conflict of interest does not disqualify me from recommending this fic here, because it is well worth your time to go and give it a read. You will not, I assure you, be disappointed. 

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the greatest television programme ever made. And in that context, this fic seems highly appropriate. It is about beginnings and endings, where we were then and where we are now. And it's about the very last Doctor - the very end of his story. It's hard to imagine how the television series would handle that finality - the end of the Doctor, for real - if they were ever required to do so. I hope they never have to, to be honest; when NuWho ends - as it inevitably must, sooner or later - I would hope that the ending they provided was as beautiful and open-ended as the one that the original series (unwittingly) gave us in 1989, all set up for the third generation to take up the mantle a decade or two down the line, if the conditions were right. If not, though, they could do a lot worse than to provide us with something like this story.

This story, in telling what happens to the Doctor at the very end of his lives, takes in the whole history of Who, all of the people he has known and loved over the centuries of his existence. It also goes right back to the very beginning, beyond even the start of the televised stories, to the Academy and the shifting, ever-conflicting fandom and expanded-universe myths about what happened back there. And it pays tribute to possibly the defining, the purest, the most moving relationship of the whole series - you know the one I mean. Or you will if you've seen The Doctor's Wife, at any rate. And in the end, it all comes back on itself, perfectly circular. Seriously, go and read this fic and leave some words of appreciation for the author.

A Brief Teaser )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
Story: Every Rank Begins With N
Author: Brunhilde
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 689
Author's Summary: Another universe's Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart. Comes with severe warning for craziness!
Characters/Pairings: Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart/Dr Elizabeth Shaw ...or are they??
Warnings: None

Recced because: Well, the title and the severe warning in the author's notes really say it all more clearly than I probably can. Taking inspiration from Inferno and its eyepatch-wearing fascist Brig (and nasty fascist doppelgangers of the other S7 UNIT stalwarts), this fic explores the terrifying upside-down world that is the universe where...every rank begins with "N"!

It's one of those crack!fic premises that might seem a bit too silly (if that's even possible) at first glance, but it's not the only excellent joke and clever idea this fic has going for it (and after a couple of paragraphs you'll in any case find yourself going with the flow and chortling along anyway - or that was my experience, anyway). It's also poking affectionate fun at those much-loved (in my corner of fandom, at any rate) alternative-universe segments of Inferno and the horrible world they briefly sketched out (I don't know about you, but the allegations made about Brigade Leader Lethbridge-Stewart and Section Leader Shaw have the ring of truth about them as far as I'm concerned).

And on top of that, even, it's also subtly sending up the whole concept of mirror-universe episodes so beloved of television science fiction and the idea that in order to really mark that this isn't the world we know, you need some easily-identifiable visible gimmick. Like fascist!Brig's eyepatch. Or Spock's beard, to bring That Other Fandom into the proceedings. As well as fully revelling in that sort of thing, with characters who in our universe are heroes displaying the most black-hearted villainy (and dodgy fashion sense) you can imagine.

All that, and it's even a Brig/Liz fic of sorts, and I don't know about you but Brig/Liz is pretty much The Business from my point of view. And it also manages to bring out one of the very best aspects of the Infernoverse, eye-coverings and Evil!Sgt Benton aside - the fact that the alternative versions of our beloved UNIT characters aren't so much inversions of their normal personalities, but rather the same personalities with some of their pre-existing traits greatly amplified at the expense of the others.

Oh, and as I may have mentioned, it's dead funny too. I implore you; go and read it and leave some kind words for the author.

The sort of thing you're letting yourself in for... ;) )
[identity profile] jjpor.livejournal.com
While we're on the subject of the Doctor and Romana, and indeed Doctor/Romana...

Story: Apologies
Author: missperkigoth
Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 301
Author's Summary: The Doctor is not alone. Romana is alive. That does not equal instant happiness.
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor (10th)/Romana (author-created?)
Warnings: None

Recced because: Yesterday we had a Doctor-Romana fic that imagined what might have happened if the Doctor and Romana had tried to fight fate back in those long-ago classic series days, to decide that they were going to try and keep running together forever. And as a fan of these characters and their "thing" together, this warmed the cockles of my heart. The thing is, of course, that nothing is forever, probably not even for Time Lords.

And I think we fans are often guilty - well, maybe "guilty" is too judgmental a term - have the tendency, anyway, to want our cake and eat it too. I think just about all of us know from real life, or will learn one day at any rate, that things don't go on forever, and things like friendships and relationships don't always last, and things don't always turn out the way we'd like them to. And fan fic, as with professionally produced media, can be a refuge from that reality - and there's nothing wrong with escapism, whatsoever - but other fic, as with this triple drabble which sees the Doctor and Romana reunited, eventually after the Time War, stares that reality in the face. There's an argument, or several, that however much some of us fans would love it, having Romana showing up unannounced in the new series might not turn out actually to be a good idea on any of a number of levels. But exploring such possibilities is the prerogative of the fic-writer, and I think this particular reunion is one that just about every fic writer who's a Doctor/Romana fan has at least considered. There's perhaps a tendency, though - and I know I've been guilty of it myself - to gloss over the fact that such a reunion, considering all that must have gone before, would be anything but easy or guaranteed of success. And this fic, even if ultimately heart(s)-warming, as well as being very well written, doesn't shy away from that fact.

This is another author who I don't believe has been recced on Calufrax before, and who as far as I can see hasn't posted any new fic in a few years. Who knows, perhaps a few reviews will inspire them to have another go? I hope so. So, go and read, and leave some words of encouragement.

An Excerpt )


Our current reccer is [personal profile] clocketpatch.

May 2017