sally_maria: (Hello Sally)
In hopes it'll take me less time before I post next time.

I haven't read a lot of Yuletide stories yet this year, but I just loved this one.

The Spirit of St Mary Mead by lost_spook
St Mary Mead has had an unusual guardian down through all these centuries

Miss Marple never changes.

Dinosaurs as a Cultural Phenomenon
from American Scientist

My brother's the continuing dinosaur fan in our family, but there is certainly something fascinating about them.

On Progress and Historical Change

Is progress inevitable? Is it natural? Is it fragile? Is it possible? Is it a problematic concept in the first place?

"Progress" from a historian's perspective - I found this interesting, thought-provoking and satisfying. I'm sure there are things to disagree with, but it made a lot of sense to me.
sally_maria: Grinning - with text "Can you tell I'm happy?" (Doctor Four - Happy)
As might be expected, The Force Awakens has led to a massive surge in Star Wars fandom (not that it had ever died off, but now there has been a modern Tumblr-style explosion). I've very much enjoyed some of the new fanworks, without really getting into the fandom as a whole - try as I might, Tumblr just doesn't work for me.

One theme I've enjoyed is Finn as an inspiration to other Stormtroopers...

Tomorrow (there'll be more of us) by dimircharmer

“FN-2187 was real, right?” She sounds very young again. “Please tell me he was real."

"I'm real,” said Finn, who was on his first patrol since his back healed. “And my name’s Finn now.”

Her eyes widened. “You have a name?”

and the sequel:

One Was All It Took
by Miz636

In the end, so many of their stories began just trying to escape the First Order and do the right thing by ending it. The Stormtrooper Rebellion was just Stormtroopers doing the right thing after being shown that they actually could.

All it took was one Stormtrooper, and so many more followed.

For people who prefer icons, another lovely set from [personal profile] sallymn - Smiles

Happy icons from Doctor Who, Merlin, SG-1, SGA and many more.
sally_maria: 1950s British Railways logo (British Railways)
Day three: a book/story/fanfic...

My apologies for missing a day - I finally got to the cinema to see Star Wars after work, and got back too late for posting. This way at least, I get to coincide with a Reading Wednesday. :-)

So firstly a book, or in fact a series of books, by Edward Marston. Victorian detective stories, but with a twist guaranteed to appeal, to me at least. :-) Our hero, Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Robert Colbeck - The Railway Detective - is a fan of the modern new method of transport and solves various thefts, murders and other mysteries relating to the railways.

Another story relating to the railways, in a way, is a fanfic written for this year's Yuletide, based on the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch.

Mind the Gap, by maple_clef - "DCI Thomas Nightingale and his erstwhile apprentice are caught up in (un)seasonal high-jinks on the London Underground. It's the most wonderful time of the year..."

It really captures the humorous yet magical tone of the series, and I really loved the connection with the TLF Travel Alerts twitter.
sally_maria: Cartoon image saying "Cool Story Bilbo" with the Ring as one of the Os. (Cool Story Bilbo)
Again, a book and a fanfic. :-)

One of the settings I very much enjoy for Middle-earth stories is what happens when Frodo and Bilbo reach the end of their sea-voyage and arrive in Valinor. It has something of the appeal of a cross-over, as two group of characters, widely separated in time, meet and learn to respect one another.

[ profile] arrogantemu's whole series is called The Splintered Light, though the first part is a prequel that isn't finished yet. The second story, And What Happened After, though, is a wonderful tale of the effect of the Undying Lands on the hobbits, and the hobbits on the ones they meet there - including the Valar themselves. (One of my favourite tags of all time - "Gandalf and his strategic hobbit deployment".) Fëanor the language scholar, Bilbo, still as impertinent as ever, and Sam and his potatoes. :-)

The second is a book obtained for me by [ profile] gurthaew (somebody was free-cycling some railway books, and he thought I would like them :-D).

The Ballachulish Line (The Birth and Death of a Highland Railway) by Duncan Kennedy, is actually less about the railway as a going concern, and more about the process of building it - the author came from the area, and was taken on as a trainee engineer, before going on to a successful international career. The line was built between 1898 and 1903, and the book has a wealth of social and engineering history, at a time long after the original railway builders, but which still feels like another age. The navvies still plied their trade up and down the country, engineers learnt their trade on the job, and could turn their hand to anything from black-smithing to diving, then think nothing of climbing Ben Nevis over-night, and back to work the next morning. The author comes over as a likeable, dynamic young man, eager to learn and with a kindly eye for the many different characters he met - well worth spending the time with.
sally_maria: Cartoon image saying "Cool Story Bilbo" with the Ring as one of the Os. (Cool Story Bilbo)
I've actually managed two recs today, one fanfic and one book.

One is a very long (115k) Middle-earth story - The Shadow of War by rhymer23

I've loved all of rhymer23's Tolkien-based stories, but this one is an epic. It has one of my favourite fanfic literary devices, each chapter begins with an excerpt from one of the historical works written about the period, from the social historians to the Great Man obsessive.

e.g. From The Shadow of War, by Hanion son of Hannor, loremaster of Osgiliath, F.A. 942 )

It's a wide-ranging and nuanced tale, with sympathy for the different cultures and societies represented, and for the high and lows of human nature. It also brings a wide range of characters, both Tolkien's and original, to life, and gives us the chance to identify with their fears and their joys. I particularly liked her handling of Eowyn, one of my favourite characters, and the way she is coming to terms with her new life and the expectations placed on her.

It's the kind of story AO3's ebook download function is made for, and I will certainly be keeping it in my ebook library for the future.

The other is a cosy travel book, ideal for people who like Michael Portillo's Railway Journeys (and I definitely count myself in that category). On the Slow Train Again by Michael Williams is a sequel, a second set of journeys on the branch lines and byways of the modern day network. It covers 12 journeys, in places from Cornwall to the north of Scotland, and west Wales to East Anglia, talking to railway staff, campaigners for the various lines, and residents. It's interesting, readable, and even has the occasional Tolkien reference. :-)
sally_maria: (Droid)
Ouroboros by bedlamsbard, is set before the end of the prequel films, around the time of the Clone Wars - but don't worry if you don't know all the wider universe of Star Wars - I came in as a casual fan, who's seen all the films but not much more, and didn't have any trouble following the storyline.

A Sith artefact drags our heroes (Obi-Wan, Padme and Anakin) into other timelines/parallel universes, and they get to see how a small change can alter the world they knew. This is a trope that always appeals to me, and in this case it combines with great world-building, characters I can like and some fantastic action, from light-sabre duels to space battles.

On the downside, these are the first two parts of a trilogy, and the author is fond of her cliff-hangers, but as someone who really doesn't like unfinished stories, I still found these satisfying in their own right. I should probably also point out that it may not work for you if you don't like reading about poly relationships at all, but this isn't a romance, it's one plot thread among many.

I used to read the Star Wars Extended Universe tie-in books back in the day, and I'd say this compares very favourably with most of them.


May. 22nd, 2015 09:54 pm
sally_maria: cartoon Eighth Doctor with quote (Doctor not the one you were expecting)
From [community profile] gensplosion - a multi-fandom comm for gen recs, which has some great stories linked from time to time.

A Spy Unmasked by JohnAmendAll, a short piece featuring Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, Frobisher (Doctor Who) and David Attenborough. :-) The summary is, "Sir David Attenborough's latest documentary has produced some unusual footage."
sally_maria: Daniel Jackson looking sideways (Default)
A new gen story by [personal profile] sallymn - Flummoxed by the Fourth Race

The linguists of the SGC have been studying a fascinating alien document - the thought of General Hammond's face is helping Daniel take his mind off worrying about his team.

Story Rec

Apr. 6th, 2014 02:48 pm
sally_maria: Black Widow - head and shoulders (Black Widow - Dangerous)
A Widow's Tale by Mhalachai

I've just spent the last three days reading a long series of Avengers/Stargate crossovers, and they are hands down some of the best stories I've read in ages.

Not only does the series have the things I love best in crossovers - both canons being given their due and the characters I love getting to know and respect one another, but it's also a great tale in its own right. It has great action sequences, perceptive inter-personal drama and character moments, and still takes time to recognise the humour that is a vital part of the originals.

It was started after Avengers, and there are some things in it that have been Jossed by the later Marvel films, but if you can handle it as an AU which brings in elements of the back story from the comics then it's well worth the read.

The main romantic pairing is Winter Soldier/Natasha, but it is far more than a pairing story, with attention paid to her all relationships with her friends and colleagues, as a background to a universe-changing tale of high adventure. The main Stargate focus is John Sheppard, for reasons that will become clear, but it makes good use of many SG-1 and SGA characters.

From the first story, Widow's Weeds )
sally_maria: (Merlin Fight and Defend)
I promised one more set of recs before the end of October, and here I am practising my usual last-minuteism. :-) These are all canon-era Merlin stories, with a focus on plot, and on Merlin and Arthur's friendship as much as romance.

First is one of the longest Merlin stories I've ever read:
The Ivy Crown by dayari
" Merlin couldn't have picked a worse time to finally tell Arthur about his magic. In the wake of the battle against the immortal army, a strange visitor disrupts the court, calling himself the Green Knight and proposing a test of the court's integrity. Although Uther turns him away, several of Camelot's northern allies end up mysteriously beheaded over the next few months, and Arthur, Merlin and the knights set out to investigate. They encounter more than they'd bargained for on the way—a reckless young boy, a lady in search of a husband, a centuries-old fairytale that holds more than a grain of truth... and a challenge that ends up being more than just a game."
Read more... )

The second is another Big Bang story, though not as long:
Crossroads of Disbelief by thoughtreflex
"A case of mistaken identity leads to trouble for Arthur, until it becomes more than a bid for his own freedom, but a struggle of survival that encompasses not only himself, but Merlin, and two kingdoms on the brink of war. "
Read more... )

An early story in the fandom, written in 2009, but still a very enjoyable one:
The Knights Have a Thousand Eyes by stakeaclaim
"In which Arthur is out of sorts. His manservant leaves a lot to be desired, Morgana is scary, Merlin's 'luck' is becoming too noticeable, his knights need to learn some lessons, and they're beginning to act very strangely. Arthur blames Merlin."
Read more... )

Finally a story from the Kink meme, but not a kinky one - this is completely gen.
Bottle by anon
The prompt was: "Canon era magic reveal. Merlin accidentally reveals his magic in front of several of Arthur's knights. (Would love to see Leon, Percival, Elyan, Lancelot, Gwaine if you can cram them all in.) Anon is looking for drama as the knights each react a little differently - not all of them completely okay with the magic issue. Up to author whether Arthur is there when the reveal happens or if he's fetched or if Merlin is brought to him. How does Arthur handle this knowing everyone now knows?"
Read more... )


Oct. 27th, 2013 10:35 pm
sally_maria: Avengers Film logo (Avengers)
I'm afraid I haven't posted as many recs as I would have liked this month - too much distracted by family history research, which I must post about at some point - but I do intend to do at least one more set before the end of the month.

In the meantime, though, a short story for anyone who's been part of a close-knit internet community.

User Since by rageprufrock
"To: PC (
From: Buck (
Subject: Report!
Date: May 10, 2012

Phil — where the hell are you, man? Let us know if you're all right, or if there's anything we can do to help. HQ's freaking the fuck out."

Agent Phil Coulson was a Captain America fan - fellow fans react in the weeks after the Battle of New York.
sally_maria: (Wild Things)
Not a detailed rec set this time, but a link to an exchange with a lot of interesting stories.

The Exchange at Fic Corner 2013 - "The Exchange at Fic Corner is a gift exchange for fic based on children's and YA books and short stories from picture books to edgy teen novels."

Some favourites of mine were:

The Weight of Glory
by wei
"Three times Reepicheep thought about stories."

Measure Every Grief by the_rck
"When Millie finds a half drowned boy in the garden, Christopher faces a mystery." Chrestomanci meets Homeward Bounders.

By breakwater and river
by ivy
"Before leaving Nestowe, Sabriel promised that she would come back and help them, and she keeps her promises. Fighting the Dead is what the Abhorsen is meant to do, after all."

If you find any others you particularly like, do let me know.


Oct. 13th, 2013 04:18 pm
sally_maria: (Peaceful Explorers)
One of the things I love that fanfic can do that canon usually can't is the ability to bring together characters from different fandoms and/or let them explore each other's world. This is a really mixed bag of stories, united only by the fact that I enjoyed them, and I hope you might do so too.

Displacement (The Longest Three-Week Day)
by michelel72 (Rodney McKay/Donna Noble)
"Another day, another "science conference" gone horribly wrong. For once, Dr. Rodney McKay gets help saving the world … but then Donna Noble remembers."
Read more... )

Feast of All Fools by AJHall (Torchwood/Lord Peter Wimsey)
"Spring, 1940. In a remote German Army base a captured British intelligence officer resists interrogation and waits for death. But his family has influence even he never suspected they possessed and help is at hand from a wholly unexpected source."
Read more... )

Time Flies Like a Bullet by Dira Sudis (Sherlock/?)
'"Whenever I start feeling like what I'm doing is pointless," he typed, without looking over at Sherlock, "like I've failed completely, I remember my first tour in Afghanistan."'
Read more... )

I'm not a sucker so I don't need a bodyguard
by musesfool (Angel/Batman)
"Cordelia's been in the game long enough that she can spot a secret identity from a mile away."
Read more... )

Unsuited for surveillance
by TheArticulatedTurnip (Yes Minister/The Professionals)
"Hacker isn't sure which is worse: being trailed by CI5, whoever they are, or the lamentable dress standards of the security services"
Read more... )

On Track by ML Mead (The Professionals/Steam Trains)
"Bodie and Doyle, a day off and a very large train set."
Read more... )


Oct. 9th, 2013 08:09 pm
sally_maria: (Aragorn)
I was very pleased to read that [ profile] rhymer23 had been inspired to write for Lord of the Rings, as I've always enjoyed her writing, and we have similar ideas about the kind of Middle-earth based stories we can enjoy. :-)

A Captain and a Cause by rhymer23
Outsider viewpoint. Gen.

“Daerion was dangling upside-down from an apple tree when the King came for the first time to Minas Tirith.” Thorongil touched many lives when he served in Gondor, more than at first he knew.

Daerion may be an OC, but he really feels like a Tolkienian character, a truly convincing inhabitant of Gondor in the years before the War of the Ring. If you like the men of Gondor, this story is well worth your time.
sally_maria: (Cute Cat)
I've mentioned to several people that I meant to do a set of recs where one of our heroes is turned into a cat, and never got round to it. So I thought rectober was the perfect excuse to actually make it happen.

The first story I ever really noticed with this premise was in SGA. The fandom(and the show) had a traditional of alien technology doing unrealistic things, so it wasn't such a great stretch to imagine that John Sheppard could be turned into a small black cat, or that Rodney, with his canonical love of cats, would be the best person to protect his interests.

The Checkmate 'Verse by Bead

Read more... )

Merlin, with canonical magic and a YA tone, was an excellent fit for animal transformation stories - I still wish for the end of the series where Merlin got turned into a merlin - but cats were certainly a popular option. A common theme was that Merlin had to be in hiding for some reason, and that Arthur may not even realise that the cat he's become attached to was his big-earred manservant. :-)

Lemon Meringue by adelagia
Read more... )

A Prince's Tale of Cats and Warlocks
by dornfelder
Read more... )

A Prince's best friend
by Itar94
Read more... )

Magic is canon the Avengers universe as well, and while I haven't come across that many cat transformations, this is a brilliant one.

Momentary Paws (or, DO NOT WANT) by velithya
Read more... )

I've been reading and enjoying a lot of Teen Wolf fic over the past few months, and naturally there are animal transformation stories - quite apart from the werewolves, of course. This being a universe where the characters haven't had so long to learn to trust each other, this is the spikiest of the stories in this set, though there's still some excellent bed sharing.

Pussy Galore
by kalpurna
Read more... )
sally_maria: Peggy Carter looking away over her shoulder (Peggy Carter)
As I've said elsewhere, I thoroughly enjoyed last week's episode and am looking forward to the rest of the series. I'm sure it's a series there will be a be a lot of fanfic for, but just a couple of short pieces I've enjoyed so far.

to the edge of all the light you have by Hope_Tang

'Throughout her childhood and most of her adolescence, Melinda May’s parents, teachers, and role models told her: Ladies do not pick fights.

In college, former SSR agent Margaret Carter told Melinda, “Ladies finish them."'

Melinda May was one of my favourite characters in last week's episode, sharp, competent and with a lovely comfortable relationship with Coulson. I'm looking forward to finding out more about her, but this is a great origin story.

Spark by Siria

"There's someone sitting on the porch."

What happens to Mike Peterson at the end of the pilot episode? I know I wasn't the only one who would have loved to have seen more of him. This is one very interesting take on a possible future for him.
sally_maria: (Arthur - Manservant)
Two stories from this summer's Merlin Big Bang. I'm still reading, so there may be more later.

What Have Kings
by antonomasia09.

"Arthur is the king of Camelot, but his hold on power is tenuous at best due to an injury that won't properly heal. Merlin is a druid slave whose life Arthur saves on a whim. Together, they embark on a quest to reclaim the legendary sword lost by Arthur’s father, and to restore faith in the Pendragon name. Fusion with The Eagle."

A very clever fusion of ideas and themes from Merlin and The Eagle. I love canon-era AUs, and this really works in giving us the characters we know and love in a slightly different setting.

Awake by Cori Lannam.

"King Arthur sleeps in Avalon, waiting to return at the hour of Albion's greatest need. But once a year he awakes and spends a single day with Merlin, who will never, ever leave him."

This made me smile, made me cry, and left me convinced that Merlin and Arthur had performed the task that fate had set for them, and could look forward to a happy life together, for however long it would last.

It's a truly satisfying exploration of the reality of an Arthur sleeping until Albion's Greatest Need - there have been so many, how do you pick one?
sally_maria: (Henry bookworm)

"Rectober is an idea to encourage reccing, reading, enjoying, commenting, sharing and discussion about fic, art and other fanworks during the month of October. Why not take part in Rectober by pledging to make rec posts during October, and encouraging other reccers by commenting on their posts?"

I have a tendency to bookmark stories, thinking I must rec that one day, and then never do - so I decided [ profile] birdsofshore's project was the perfect excuse to push me into doing so. Recs may be from a number of different fandoms, but are likely to include Merlin, Avengers and various small fandoms.
sally_maria: (OTW)
So, I've finally got myself a sally_maria AO3 account - no more semi-anonymous comments. :-)

Since I'm not likely to be posting stories to it, I thought I'd make use of the bookmark function to keep track of stories I rec from there. So if you're looking for a story I've recommended from now on, the link is in the sidebar to Story Recs on AO3, as well as the one to my Pinboard bookmarks for everything I've recced over the past few years.

I'm going to try and keep them tagged by where I recced them, but it's possible I may forget somewhere. In any case you should be able to use the authors' tags to filter them by fandom etc in the bar on the right-hand side.
sally_maria: (Amy Pond - Happy Girl)

Well, I hope not, but it certainly hit all of my buttons.

After Merlin ended so tragically, I was looking for ways of fixing the story so that they could actually have the Golden Age of Camelot we'd been prophesied since the first season, without actually pretending none of it had happened. I came up with a prompt I posted to a couple of places, that the Evil Morgana we saw from season 3 onwards wasn't the real Morgana, and that once the real Morgana was found, she and Gwen resolved the UST they had right from the beginning of the show, and Arthur was never going to reject her just for her magic.

Somebody picked up the prompt and decided to write it for the Merlin Big Bang, and the story was finally posted this morning. :-)

Go On and Break Me by OomnyDevotchka

I was thrilled - it has a nice magic reveal and Merlin/Arthur romance, but also pays equal time to Morgana coming to terms with what has happened to her and to Camelot in her absence, and learning that she was the Pendragon Gwen loved all the time. :-)


sally_maria: Daniel Jackson looking sideways (Default)
wrong but wromantic

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