Recs from 1999-2001.
Bible | Due South | Hardcore Logo
| Hercules | JAG | Lit
Slash | The Sentinel | X-Files
this link or read this review if you're offended by Bible slash.
This story is kinky and surreal; it's set in a bar where no one notices
God and the devil sparring, flirting, fooling around. The room
is dark and so's the story, a little. Even while they're trading
zingers, drinking beer, and talking Milton, there's this tension with a
violent edge that turns literal toward the end. A smart story
that echoes, makes me wonder about these two and how their sado-masochistic
games impact the world--and I love what she's done with the devil's cock.
this link or read this review if you're offended by Bible slash.
I feel guilty about that disclaimer, because it suggests that Olive
is coarse or wrong, when it's intensely beautiful, a story about despair
and love. I won't deny there's a taboo thrill to it, but that's enhanced
by John's reverential tone, the powerful images, like Jesus with his "tree
sap" eyes. My chest tightens when I read it now, a year or
so after I first discovered it, when I sinned by not including it here,
where it belongs. A powerful story, like stumbling across a
private addendum to a gospel, not to be read until after the author's death.
You blow off the dust and sand, and read history.
|09/29/01 Melthalion's Olive
(The Bible) Jesus/John. Hard R. Blasphemy.
Yow! That was hot! When I first opened
the story, I started skimming, sniffing around to see what was what, and
this caught my eye:
"I was thinking more along the lines of fellating
you, but if you want me to take off your boots, that can certainly be arranged."
That had me whimpering, so I went back and read carefully from the beginning.
I adored Ray, how he moved from annoyed to serious to loving with a few
other stops between. Not that it felt like a series of switches between
moods; the story had this wonderful flow that kept me in and reading
so fast I had to go back and catch up on the details. It was supple, which
I'm just realizing now, the story even more than the leather. Ray
just made sense here in his reactions to all the situations, not just as
canon Ray, but as a real person reacting to Fraser's actions.
for more of this rec.
(dS) BF/RV. NC-17.
It's a very insular story, just the
two of them, Fraser and Ray, their need, and the whips. The setting
helped to create this sense of isolation: it's very cold outside,
with the snow falling, and everything is so hot inside the house.
It's like they're completely alone in the world after the phone call, snowed
in to do whatever they want--and that's just what they do:
engage in some kinky rituals that are hot and meaningful. As
the reader, though, I'm not outside, rubbing my fist against the window:
I spent the story inside Ray's head, feeling all of it with him. NEW!
I stumbled across
this one and didn't stop til the end. Why it worked? Kowalski's
painfully honest voice, and the way he scuttled between acceptance of his
own pretty shady behavior with a drugged Frasier, and his love-motivated
lust. An exercise in (im)moral syllogism, where Kowalski's admitted(ly)
unstable premises stop mid-track and bite back. Everyone's a victim, and
no one is. If it sounds unclear, it's not. The psychological
complexity's conveyed through a water-clear first-person voice, that flows,
and you sail along with it. I could drown in this one.
I haven't even
seen Hardcore Logo, and I don't think I want to (it's anti-Canadian,
I know, so call CSIS). But why spoil the good thing I've got going
with the slash? I started with a story by Amy B., who has a strong
pared-down style that I admire, and then this. It's all broken dialogue
and quick, jagged thoughts, roughly beautiful. And hot, in a dirty,
under-the-covers sort of way (which I love). It feels illicit, a
tiny bit non-consensual, because the actions start from tension and accrue.
But it's boiling throughout. I wish I could be that clever, and that steamy.
Note: I've seen HCL since I wrote this rec, and the story only gets
I loved the harsh, bloody intensity
of "Watch Your Back," the desperate violence of the Billy/Joe relationship.
Nothing could be easy and sweet between these two, and it's anything but
that here, except that under the blood and the swagger, there's a real
connection between them. They can't go at it like two regular
guys, not Joe and Billy; it's got to be screwed up and fastfastfast.
That's canon, and that's this story. Perfect blending of the
two. I also admire the voice here, and the tone. I've
read a few HCL stories where the narrative crassness felt forced and unnatural,
but you made it feel right and real. Okay, calling the
voice crass might not sound like a compliment, but it is. I
just mean that Joe's such a hard-ass, and literate chicks don't always
do hard-ass well. Viridian's clamped onto his brain, with stuff
like, "Kissing him seemed like something a fag would do, but he had
that blood on his split lip." That unflinching ugliness.
Wonderfully vivid. And she don't overdo the dialogue; it's
just grunty, butch and smart enough. ne of my favorite lines
is this one, which is a little wild and romantic, and maybe shouldn't work,
but does, so beautifully:
"This wasn't kissing, it was fucking feeding,
me sucking down his breath and metallic-tasting blood like I could eat
his soul." Ghoulish with a poet's heart.
That's Joe, and that's this story.
the Legendary Journeys
It's short, kinky,
and panty-melting, with no plot to interfere--just Iphicles unspeakably
desperate for Ares and his belt. Go there if you're looking for hardcore,
hot fucking inthe Hercuverse, then print it up and keep it for those lonely
nights. It gives PWP a good name. (It does need a bit of editing
for typos, but it still makes me shake a few years later).
Acca Laurentia's Primal
Need (HtLJ) Ares/Iphicles. BDSM.
Aly has filled
this story to the brim, so that within its superficially short narrative
frame you're living Greco-Roman history, the fall of an empire, the death
of a culture, one man's mortal triumph...That sounds pompous, but it's
a gloriously epic fic, beautiful, detailed--a sharp, painful nexus of micro-
and macrocosm that makes rec'cers like me wax tres lyrical.
I can't help it, though. It's just so glorious and tragic,
a story that gives Ares the kind of strength the shows never did, a nobility
that's deflated, human and just wow. "With the gaudy paraphernalia
of the spring festival brightening the sparsely furnished sanctuary in
the temple on the Capitol Hill, Mars usually found himself keenly anticipating
the renewal of hostilities with Rome’s more restive and less respectful
neighbours. The daily spectacle of his priests, leaping and dancing through
the streets of Rome heated his blood, and he prowled the lonely battlefields-to-be,
visualising glorious victories. This year, a shadow was cast by the
death of he’d granted only days before, subduing the pleasure and his spirits."
I'm going to start swooning again.
Amorette's work always surprises me,
not least because she writes stories I wouldn't read by most others:
lots of gen, het, implied slash, introverted pieces full of speculation
and domesticity. Here Ares mourns a dead son, but it's no self-indulgent
schmoop-fest; he's angry, sullen, emotionally stunted, just the way he
should be, so his grief isn't easy, but has both an impenetrability and
translucence that excoriate me when I read it. I always find
myself in tears at the close of Amorette's stories; they build incrementally,
until I break. t's harsh and physical, without any long navel-gazing
indulgence, just intensity and pain. Lovely work. Implied incest
between gods, but otherwise gen.
This fic is extraordinary
in every sense, especially her gods: Hades, Hermes and Ares. It's
less that she deviates from canon than reinvents it, adding wonderful descriptive
detail to confirm the gods' otherness. Autolycus, on a journey to
the Underworld, is the perfect mortal foil for these figures; he highlights
their beauty and power while charming the pants off his audience.
On top of the astounding visuals, this story is incredibly erotic, with
enough sex to make even me happy. It's really a spectacular piece
of writing, with her black-tongued Hades and a war god whose kisses can
kill. It does end a little raggedly, but she's made it into a series.
The story opens with a mythic description,
and I assume that this is how the rest of the story will sound: beautiful,
meaningful, somber. Then Ellison zaps me with the wild and
crazy Fates, breaking the tone with this humorous one, throwing me off
balance. In fact, that's perhaps the thing I like most about this
story, how it throws me off balance, so that I'm never quite sure what
will happen next. It's strongly plotted, about the impact the
Fates' bickering has on the rest of the world, replete with a wild rescue
mission, divine infighting, hot sex and dark humor. Violent,
too. Ares, the main character, starts off terribly vicious and cruel,
and ends a little more shaded. I like a story with unexpected
corridors where (metaphoric) clowns and vampires walk, and that's this
To be honest,
I didn't expect to like this one. While I love AU's, I'm a
little put off by ones where the narrative voice picks up the period's
formality, and here it was compounded by a first-person narrator, Hercules,
who just didn't sound like the canonical character, even within the story's
context: Hercules, now a slave in a Byzantium-like land, has no memory
of his past, of his identify, and so has come to accept his servitude,
and meets Ares, the perfect master. But once I accepted the speaker,
I wallowed in the kinky gorgeousness of it. It's essentially a PWP,
since Hercules never really grows or develops, just has some really great
sex with Ares and a few OCs, male and female. It's very sensual,
full of hard, naked bodies smeared with vanilla-almond oil, sprinkled with
gold dust, filled with dildos, against an exotic backdrop.
Slave Muses (HtLJ) Ares/Hercules. AU. NC-17.
This is an oldie,
but a goodie. Erin did a lot (just about everything!) to pave the
way for Strife-fic, and this story's one of the reasons why. It features
two trademarks of her mischief-god fiction: the perfect dialogue,
as colloquial and maniacal as the character himself, and the humor, which
had me chortling throughout. It's sexy, too (and this is from a reader
who doesn't like Strife or Joxer, two of the main characters). What
holds me there, though, is the ending. I won't spoil it here, but
Strife's attitude, which prompts the final gesture, is delicious and perfect.
I wanted to cheer for him, and for the story itself.
Wager (HtLJ) Ares/Joxer. NC-17.
A rare Hercules/Iphicles
story that has the brothers as playful lovers. fox writes one
of the best Hercules writers; while the canonical character's bovine goodness
normally bores me, in her fic, as in Taz's, he becomes teasing, joyous
(can I use the word 'joyous' in 2001? It's just so appropriate, dammit),
and I can't help but love him, especially here, where he's publicly seducing
a slightly uptight Iphicles, who keeps trying to prioritize royal duties
over desire. Guess what wins? In addition to this new
and improved Hercules, the writing has a delicacy and care that appeals
to me, from its smooth, action-based opening lines that depict an animalistic
Herc preparing to pounce on the unsuspecting king of Corith.
Iolaus is Solomon's child, torn between
Ares and Hercules--and Ares is winning, luring Iolaus with sensory appeal.
As he goes, disguised to Ares' temple, Iolaus talks about the incense there,
fascinated by it. He loves it, loves the smell, the intoxication
of it, with an undeniable metaphoricity. "It's a game," he
keeps saying of his relationship with Ares, these secret sessions they
have, and therein lies the story's appeal for me. What does
Iolaus mean? It's a game because he's cheating on Hercules,
because he wants to best Ares, because he wants to lose to him.
And he does, over and over again. If the psychological density
doesn't appeal to you, read it for the statue. Read it for the teasing
sex. Just read it.
I like smart fiction,
and this is just that, only it's simultaneously sexy and romantic, too.
More than anything, I think this story is about destiny, about the inescapability
of it, so much that our fate is even woven into our names. What other
author could discuss etymology and make it matter? It's set in the present
day, narrated by Iphicles as he moves inexorably toward his own destiny,
which involves a certain god of war. The relationship transcends
time, which gives the sex a profundity that carries it far beyond simple
desire, and is just wow! to read.
Isos Arei's Iphiklos(HtLJ)
This one's an
AU with Ares/Iphicles, set in Regency England. Instead of being laughable,
it's really quite sexy--at least once you get over the shock of hearing
our colloquial Greek babes speak a la Austen. But underneath the
formal dialogue, there's real heat between these two. It's exactly
what you'd expect from a Regency romance, in that we have a hero unwilling
to believe that the rake loves him, so there's that delicious anticipation
of the inevitable climax. One of the elements I most admire about
it is Jen's refusal either to femme the guys, or to prettify their actions.
Her Ares is a rake of nearly Lovelace-ian proportions, and would do Richardson
proud. I really like Jen's fiction overall; she's one of my
favorite writers. Her characters are always complex, often depraved,
and yet poignantly human.
Fuck (HtLJ) Ares/Iphicles. AU. NC-17.
A retelling of
Cinderella, with Iphicles recast in the title role. The story's
told with a stark simplicity to reflect Iphicles' innocence, an innocence
that's really at the story's core. The wicked characters don't
recognize it, or use it to their advantage, while Ares is irresistibly
drawn to it, so that when he approaches Iphicles, it's less with the intent
of corrupting him, than of losing himself in it, burying himself in it.
It's got an almost perverse first-time feel, because Iphicles is so childlike,
but it's hard not to be drawn in by the ensuing intensity of his reaction
to Ares' seduction.
(HtLJ) Ares/Iphicles. NC-17.
I've been pestering Lorna to get this
story archived so I could rec it. Set in the medieval future,
this vignette shows Hercules in despair, without breast-beating or hair-pulling.
Lorna's more subtle than that, and lets us see it in his gestures, in his
fascination with the spider crawling up his leg as he sits in prison.
Then Ares appears, and in Hercules' reaction, we see that Ares means more
to him than simply a leather-clad punching bag. Oh, it's not
sweet and light--don't worry. Ares is vicious here, revitalizing
Hercules with hard blows and harder truths. This is where you might expect
a joke about a third hardness, but the story's more suggestive about their
relationship; it less thrusting hips and naked limbs than hot looks and
touches. It's surprisingly short, this story, and packed with
What a gorgeous opening:
|07/28/01 Lorna's Gifted
(HtLJ) Ares/Iphicles. PWP. NC-17. 11k.
I sometimes wish I were
an artist, so I could sculpt him. It would have to be sculpture. Impossible
to flatten him into paint. None of the insipidly crafted statues in his
temples do him justice. They reflect an ideal man, not a god. Not this
god. Apollo, perhaps, all lean limbs and refined proportions. Not Ares,
who bulges with things that the sensitive Athenian or Corinthian artist
would find repulsive: muscles, genitals, passion.
It's all like that, with Iphicles' lust
for Ares tinged with reverence. Ares doesn't disdain the worship, as he
does so often in these stories, but craves it, getting off on it as much
as Iphicles does giving it. Sizzling.
mer is one of
those writers I wish would write more. This story has a manic
energy, with Iolaus watching his best bud get it on with Ares--over and
over and over again. They're frenzied about it, and Iolaus
gets hot watching, and the whole thing just keeps escalating, courtesy
of a spell from a fed-up goddess of love. It's funny and hot,
but written in a unique, very image-conscious style, so it's incredibly
visual and unusual at the same time.
This one's like
meets the Hercuverse, with similar behind the scenes machinations and of
course the gladiatorial matches themselves. Unlike the movie, though,
at heart this is a love story. Set in an alternate universe,
it features various pairings, including Cupid GoW/Iphicles, and oozes angst,
thanks to the unrequited (and really unadmitted) feelings of the narrator,
a very different type of Hades. Tension escalates, and you
want to avert your eyes because underneath their butch exteriors these
men seem so vulnerable, and the story's heading for a crash.
You know what I mean: one of the stories where you watch the characters
misstep, your gut churning, and pray the whole time that the Muses will
find some pity and reward their suffering at the end. It's
touching and lovely.
(HtLJ) CupidGOW/Iphicles, Hades/other. AU. NC-17.
This one's modern-day
uber (AU), a genre that usually annoys me. And Ares as a cop in sweaty
Georgia? While I admit to legions of kinks, uniformed men's not one
of them. Or so I thought... In essence a PWP, this one is also a
love story (Ares/Iphicles) with a slightly twisted mini-plot that verges
on the pornographic. Someone on KSA actually challenged the story's
sexual politics, but the morality quirk (is what Ares does actually wrong?)
just dragged me in deeper.
This isn't the
usual kind of story I rec, because it's not dark, particulary descriptive,
or sexually-explicit. It's a retelling of Shakespeare's play with
the Xenaverse characters in the title roles, heavy on dialogue and action.
I admire the artistry involved in this kind of project, the skill it takes
to reproduce a coherent, amusing and recognizable version of a classic
story, especially one that retains some of the original's exhuberance and
charm, which this fic does. The difficulty in retelling this story
lies in the convoluted plot and subplots, the vast cast of characters.
Appearing in this one are Ares, Iphicles, Joxer, Xena, Gabrielle, Hercules,
Iolaus, Salmoneus, Mistress Twanky, Althea, a few OMCs, and a few leftovers
from the play, just to give you a sense of its inevitable breadth.
Wheew. I won't even begin to try and describe the story, which
is all about putting on play, avoiding the wrong relationship and finding
true love. It's just such a fun and funny fic, stuffed full of the
requisite deceptions and gender play. I might do a little snipping
here and there, but that's probably just a style difference.
I defy you not to enjoy it.
Yours is the first in a series of stories dealing with the developing
relationship between Iolaus and Iphicles, with Hercules in the background,
less than excited by this. The first one, written about two years
ago, helped found my maniacal obsession with Iph. I ended up beta'ing
the last installment, and it's been a pleasurable, satisfying run.
Rusalka is a thorough, generous writer, one who considers character, plot,
and setting, so this is a layered cake of a series, the kind where you
think, 'screw the calories,' and lick your fingers afterward.
This is one of
the first stories I read in the fandom that made me question the boundaries
of a PWP, and mea culpa for not recommending it sooner. A
PWP that isn't, it's Ares/Herc, only Hercules is a god who finally takes
what he wants. It's one of those stories that plays with D/s,
where the aggressor really seems controlled by the more passive party (not
to suggest it's simply the story of a pushy bottom! It's about
the psychological twists that come from a confrontation with power and
an object of desire). The truth is, both Ares and Hercules
are desperate for each other, and this fic capitalizes on that, especially
on how much Herc wants it, although he fights that need all through the
story. Very, very hot.
This story is
about a haunting, and takes you into a world where you're as confused and
disconcerted as Iphicles, who wakes up one day to find himself dead.
He's as surprised by this as we are, and moves through an eerily-beautiful
landscape trying to solve his own murder. It's a mythological
a noirish piece where no one's what they seem, like an X-Files ep that's
been dipped in Belgian chocolate. You don't know who to trust,
or what, and Strandia gives enough twists to satisfy erotic mystery fans,
and does it with a rich, vivid style. But it's not simply a
well-crafted piece; I found myself so close to Iphicles that when he finally
discovers the complicated truth, I screamed at the computer.
Strandia literally takes us to hell and (mostly) back with this one.
(HtLJ) Iphicles/Hades. NC-17.
I'm trying to
catch up on recs here, and so have to include this other older one.
I like Taz's writing overall; there's a consciousness of language in it
that really appeals to me. This story, however, isn't powerful for
that particular reason. What works for me is how structure and theme
come together for emotional impact. Like Frankenstein, this
story is about the making of a monster: The Sovereign (Herc's evil twin
on HtLJ). Set in the AU, we follow the relationship between Iphicles
and his brother from boyhood to twisted adulthood. Not for the faint
of heart, and not simply because the story depicts incest, some consensual,
some not, involving children. It's a gut-ripper. Got milk?
It's all undertones
here, hints and allusions, as once again, Tori throws me off balance.
There is no overt act of revenge here, no gloating over cold dishes.
Instead, Ares talks with Xena and Gabrielle, not now, but years in the
future, and settles old scores by doing...Well, how he does this is ambiguous,
and therein lies the story's beauty: it invites the reader to decide,
never commanding, always suggesting. Is Ares, now mortal, exactly
what he seems? A single read isn't enough; you need a few to
get into its corners, its attic. Subtle and smart. No sex in
this one, with a power generated in dialogue and those elliptical gestures
that are Tori's special touch.
I had quite a
difficult time deciding which of Tori's stories to rec because I like all
of them. This one, again like all the others, has a surreal,
mysterious edge; I was never quite sure what was happening or who was playing
whom. That sense of uncertainty permeates each of her works, and
here it's centered around the mystery of Autolycus' enthusiasm for a brothel.
Now, don't assume this is a comedy; the story is dark-edged and power-hungry,
like Ares and the figure he meets at the whorehouse. Much happens
in the gestures; it's a story filled with telling ellipses.
Oh, and it's sexy. Very, very sexy.
I sort of fell
into this story. I've never seen the show in full, don't even know
the narrator, but I ended up quite taken with this series when it showed
up on the allslash ML. It's totally different from the last few recs
I've made, in that I wasn't seduced by its style. This time, it was
the sweet vulnerability of Clayton Webb, who tells the story. Before
you puke, I mean 'sweet vulnerability' in the best way. There's this
delicate hesitancy to the character, but it doesn't emasculate him.
Just a delicious perfect mix of tough-guy denial that Harm might feel something
for him, with flashes of warmth underneath. It's the kind of story
where everything feels fragile, not least because as it progresses, Clay
(he's my good friend now) seems stretched between the sense of duty he
feels for Harm's enemy, and his wrapped-around-a-hardon love for Harm himself.
This is literary slash, a story based
on the fourteenth-century medieval romance (parody), Sir Gawain and
the Green Knight. Admittedly, I adore the original; it's one
of my favorite works, although for rather different reasons than torch's
version. While the original is quite comical, a mostly lighthearted
dig at Arthurian hypocrisy and court values in general, the revision is
a melancholic love story between Gawain and his host. torch fleshes
out Gawain's response to the story's supernatural and strange events, so
he appears more human here, more sweetly vulnerable when confronted with
events beyond his experience--and that includes the original's slash elements,
like the kissing game between Gawain and Bercilak. It's charming,
innocent and desperate at the same time, as Gawain wants what he thinks
he can't have. "Please love him," I kept whispering through
the story. "Don't hurt him."
Out of context,
the story's title looks rather ominous, and makes me think of bill collectors
or women with PMS. In context, though, it evokes the most delicious
images of Jim and Blair dancing around the beginnings of a relationship,
which they do here in a story where a decidedly horny Blair suggests a
sexy way to make the month's rent. I realize the 'dancing' is a cliche,
but I'm stuck for another word to describe that unstable giving a little/taking
a little flirting/bond-forming thang they were doing throughout the story.
Whatever it was, it gave the story a wonderful grittiness. Go
for more of this rec.
I'm in love with
her language, with the precise choices, all there to make me five-sense
everything in Krycek's world. '...ticker-tape tinsel of whispered
secrets...' Perfect. I ran through it, like Krycek does in
this fractured love story. The landscape's crossed with dreams,
refrains from an oneric Greek chorus. The whole story feels like
a dream, fragmented but beautiful, like stained glass, each piece beveled.
Or maybe it's a haunting. Every room in Krycek's house is ghosted--and
you just know that he's got Mulder locked in the attic. It's about them,
about Krycek's desire for salvation from Father Mulder (saint Fox?), about
not telling everything. "I hate it when rental cars don't have cup
holders," Mulder grumbled. "Yeah, I remember," Krycek said.' It's
'I love you,' in Krycek-ese, but Mulder doesn't get it. Does
Krycek? Maybe. I'm not sure. So opaque and transparent, he's
hard/easy to read, and I just want to watch him forever, watch him struggle
to find warmth, watch him wait for apotheosis.
I really like
the whole No Common Senses series, as it runs between Krycek and Skinner
thinking about Mulder, sometimes touching him, sometimes competing for
him. JiM has a spare, intense style, where you're forced to read
every word and think about what each means. Not all writers
can turn economy into an art without sacrificing emotion; this series balances
both. My favorite piece in the series is the second, The
Scent of..., which I read first. Here, JiM takes us into
Krycek's head while he stands in the fog waiting for Mulder, but without
any long, rambling internal monologues; instead, we know Krycek through
his actions, and through his observations on Mulder. All the stories
are whispery, powerful, too, in the way they can make you shiver with a
breath, especially that one, where Krycek is so perfectly complicated.
Not new, but oh-so-worthy
of recommendation. It's an X-Files n-c fic with Mulder/Krycek, and
the writing's just beautiful. Our badboy's the narrator, and we see the
world through his scrambled, desperate, violent perspective. This
kind of writing makes me weak-kneed: evocative, clever and hard.
The opposite of sentimental, but she drags you into Krycek's brain and
holds you there kicking and screaming.
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