Please rec me your fabulous fanfiction
July 31, 2018 11:21 AM   Subscribe

As inspired by this post on the main, please rec me gems of fanfiction.

Can be of any length. Can be in any fandom. I'd particularly love to hear about obscure gems, i.e. ones from small fandoms by non-BNFs.

Not a strict requirement, but stories that are thoroughly enjoyable without any familiarity with the canon (even if familiarity wold enhance the story an extra level) are greatly preferred. Note: This is not a high bar to meet for me personally, as I love reading things from fandoms I know nothing about-- the feeling of some rich backstory that is never directly addressed enhances rather than detracts from reading experiences, for me.

To get things started, I'll add some of my own:
anything by astolat of course
remember the days of the world
blue sky
freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose
posted by Cozybee to Writing & Language (43 answers total) 84 users marked this as a favorite
I've never been more captivated than by Harry Potter And The Methods of Rationality. Something about the writing style made it so that I just Could. Not. Put. It. Down.

And, after you are done, you'll realize the first few hundred pages that really hooked you AREN'T EVEN THE GOOD PARTS!?
posted by bbqturtle at 11:29 AM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

This goes some way back, but back when I was into fanfiction, the best one that I recommended to everyone was
The God of the Lost (HP)

The author never finished it, which is a shame, because it was amazing. If you google "the god of the lost gravidy", you will find several sites devoted to discussing this particular work, and many people lamenting the fact that it was never finished. She also deleted her work off, so only copies of her work exist.
posted by moiraine at 11:47 AM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Here are some My Little Pony suggestions:

Friendship is Optimal if you like Science Fiction/Rationality/lesswrong/etc.
Vinyl and Octavia - University Days is a good light romance.
Anthropology is just a good story.
posted by unix at 11:51 AM on July 31, 2018

I like The Rec Center, a weekly email newsletter for fanfiction and other fandom recs.

A few general recommendations for people who might not follow canons much:

Known Associates - A magnificently researched tour of queer experiences in the 20th and 21st century.

Maggie Fitzgerald and the Saltwater Drip - A story about trying to help people that digs into what it means to have superpowers in novel ways.

A specific one, if you're vaguely familiar with the HP verse:
What We Pretend We Can't See - It's warm, affectionate Drarry, they're twenty somethings, there's a dog.

Are there particular tropes, concepts, or sub-genres you like? I could maybe do more if there are.
posted by bagel at 11:51 AM on July 31, 2018

Fastening One Heart to Every Falling Thing by thefourthvine: Hockey RPF, Malkin/Crosby, soulbonding AU. This is probably my favorite fic ever. The emotional arc is just so incredibly satisfying.

The Pinocchio Fallacy by toft: Mythbusters, Jamie/Adam, AU where Adam is a sexbot. Sounds like crackfic but is actually a really wonderful exploration of technology and character and consent with fun worldbuilding and robot woobies.

The Twelve Labors of Sean Parker by antistar_e: The Social Network, gen(ish), superpowers!AU. Also everyone-getting-along!AU. Amazing worldbuilding.

Take Clothes Off As Directed by helenish: Stargate Atlantis, McShep, excellent twisted take on a BDSM AU with another highly satisfying emotional plotline and fun worldbuilding. One of those fics that you want to talk about for days after reading it.

Hockey at the End of the World by ionthesparrow: Hockey RPF, Carter/Richards, apocalyptic AU with an intense and action-packed plot and REALLY fun worldbuilding. And definitely "hockey fics for hockey fans" category; ionthesparrow is the best at writing gameplay.

I've shared this list elsewhere before and I usually also tag on No Reservations: Narnia!
posted by capricorn at 11:57 AM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

You Awaken in Razor Hill started as a choose-your-own-adventure/text adventure style thread on the World of Warcraft forums and quickly became a masterpiece of horror. It's best if you're familiar with the Horde beginner quests that were taken out of the game in the 2010 expansion Cataclysm.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 11:59 AM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Vying with Known Associates (recced above) for Best MCU Fic Ever, you might try This, You Protect, a love story about Bucky Barnes and grilled cheese sandwiches and cats and community and healing.
posted by Stacey at 12:13 PM on July 31, 2018 [3 favorites]

Presque Vu really does 100% require seeing Inception because it is basically layered around the events of the film. Arthur and Eames but also just... a lot of other stuff. A friend basically made me watch Inception, in 2018, so I could read this fic. It was not a bad decision, except for all the crying. So much crying. And feelings about paintings that I don't even like.
posted by Sequence at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

Bless you for providing me with this distraction while I'm bored at work.

MCU fandom, especially the Captain America subset, is where I've spent most of my fic-reading time for the past few years, and there have been some real gems there.

The Night War: 60th Anniversary Edition by praximeter: This one is mostly gen, with Steve/Bucky if you read very carefully between the lines. This is an astonishingly well-executed fictional war diary. I'd recommend it to anyone who has even vague familiarity with Captain America: it reads like a devastatingly accurate account of World War II, if HYDRA had really existed, from Bucky Barnes' POV, and features in-universe extras like footnotes from the "published" version of the diaries offering historical context. Fandom doesn't often engage substantively with the WWII setting of the first Captain America movie, which I don't necessarily blame anyone for because that shit is hard, but this is excellent and heartbreaking historical fiction, not just fan fiction. (Bonus: if you like this one, lettered's Sincerely Your Pal might be up your alley too. Some great epistolary romance, though I caution that it ends on a somewhat unresolved note, mid-first Captain America movie. It is complete though, and stands alone great on its own.)

three white horses by magdaliny: Steve/Bucky, and mind the warnings in the tags; this is ultimately a happy fic, but there is heartbreak before you get there. I'd recommend just about all of magdaliny's fics, but this one is my favorite. Beautifully written, and agonizingly evocative of grief and love, with a core of pure hope. One of the finest catharses I've read in fic.

after me comes the flood by kafkian: Steve/Bucky. Rich and lovely writing, and romantic as hell though it functions beautifully as a character study of Steve Rogers too.

lacuna by alcibiades: Steve/Bucky. Captain America fandom is a fandom pretty obsessed with questions of identity and memory, understandably enough given the tragedy of Bucky Barnes. The summary for this one is "The one where Bucky doesn't remember Steve, but falls in love with him anyway." What I love best about this one is the tension between what Bucky doesn't know or fully understand, and what we the reader see in Steve's responses to him, how we see their love in both the negative spaces of Bucky's memory, and in the physical intimacy they use to bridge their communication gaps. (Bonus: if you want another, far more depressing take on Bucky never remembering his past, Memory by emilyenrose is where it's at. I found this one sufficiently upsetting that I've only ever read it once, though it's far from the darkest fic and doesn't have an unhappy ending per se. It's just horribly sad to me, though very well-executed.)

to memory now I can't recall by etharei: Steve/Bucky. An excellent use of the time travel trope (post-Winter Soldier Bucky Barnes swapping places with his WWII self) to deliver an affecting story about memory, identity, and how to reconcile the person you were before trauma with the person you are after it. (A bonus: Out of Time by ibroketuesday has a similar use of the time travel trope, with Bucky ending up in his past self's place, and it's heartbreaking, but the point of catharsis is beautiful.)

The 4 Minute Window series by Speranza: Steve/Bucky. The first story in the series is kinetic in this great way that makes it feel like a romantic thriller, and then the rest of it is just a perfect, prickly happily-ever-after in progress for Steve and Bucky. I like the specificity of the setting and Steve and Bucky's history with each other in this series, how they're dealing with being men out of time and trying to build a life outside of what history has made them into.

When the Season Gets Around by theheartischill: Steve/Bucky. Captain America fandom is also pretty fixated on trauma and recovery, unsurprisingly enough. This is an especially compassionate and kind take on Bucky's recovery from his experiences as the Winter Soldier.

If They Haven't Learned Your Name by silentwalrus: Steve/Bucky. My apology for how fuckin' sad some of the fics above are. This one is a hilarious, long romp, with a great Sam and Natasha too, and I challenge you not to love Bucky's new spaceship friend.
posted by yasaman at 12:41 PM on July 31, 2018 [5 favorites]

Oh, and some of my favorites from Yuletides past below. These should all be readable enough with basic familiarity with the source.

Waste Our Lights in Vain by Nifra Idril: Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Romeo/Mercutio. I've loved this one for years, and it had me from its first line: There is a door inside Mercutio, in the shape of Romeo. It blows with the wind; open and shut, open and shut. It's full of gorgeous writing that's stuck with me through the years.

Bakcheios by emilyenrose: Euripides' The Bacchae, Pentheus/Dionysus, Pentheus/Actaeon. Mind the dubious consent warning. Gorgeously unsettling and creepy, I can't think of the Bacchae without thinking of this fic.

The Case for Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant by Slant: Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant -Sandia labs. Clever and fascinating!

Pins of Bone Six by Ten by fresne: Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh/Enkidu. An absorbing take on the myth.

Abraham's Daughter by evelyn_b: Abraham's Daughter, the Arcade Fire song. Written for me for Yuletide, so perhaps I'm biased, but it's a fascinating expansion of the alternate version of Abraham and Isaac the song proposes, and it's tied in perfectly to a meditation on the immigrant experience.
posted by yasaman at 1:05 PM on July 31, 2018

How the Mouth Changes its Shape: genderswapped Sherlock fic set in WWII-era butch/femme lesbian bar culture.

Unreal Cities, by the same author: John and Sherlock cavorting with the Bloomsbury Group of WWI-era British intellectuals.

Both are excellent historical fiction that don't depend on any sort of detailed knowledge about the canon.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:31 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

Seven For A Secret is a more typical rewriting of Disney princess stories as short horror stories

You may be interested in a fanfic written in the style of AskMe about Hannibal (half written by me cough)
posted by The Whelk at 1:57 PM on July 31, 2018 [4 favorites]

Rapture by mia_ugly is my favorite Snape/Harry fic, it's got time travel and melancholy and passion and horrible young men being horrible and everything else in there too.

in cayenne and honey, in vinegar and lime by Nonymos, illustrated by alby mangroves is the Bucky/M'Baku Wakanda fic that you didn't know you needed. If you watched Black Panther and saw Wakanda and were like "I want to go to there" well here you go.

Little Acorns by feldman is the Farscape fic I had to go find after rewatching the show and finding myself at loose ends. here is how I bookmarked it on AO3 - Epic post series AU that spins off right before the super rude ending. Babies and revolution and madness and spacewhales. Incredibly satisfying, meaty, heartbreaking, happy ending. Exactly what I've been looking for.

Since you said you liked the most heart wrenching SGA fic of all time here's a little snack - we don't need roads by crimsonclad in which Rodney McKay is actualfax Marty McFly

Antiverse Refugee by Skull_Bearer is a Pacific Rim fic wherein Hermann is actually a rogue scout from the anteverse. Lots of alien gore and intrigue and xenokink stuff from Newt and a fantastic plot about identity and loyalty and making your own self and destiny and family. Oh, it gets me every time.
posted by Mizu at 2:18 PM on July 31, 2018

That Still Centre is a short crossover between Dorothy Sayers's Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries and Antonia Forest's Marlow school stories. May be a bit baffling if you don't know either of the sources.
posted by paduasoy at 2:20 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's really niche-ey, but the "Amsterdam! Amsterdam!" Babysitter's Club Super Special Fanfic is out of this world. The author has perfectly captured the tone of the real books, while putting the sitters into situations that they would NEVER encounter in Stoneybrook.

The BSC accompanies the Kilbournes to Amsterdam where Shannon's family inherits some property. Stacey discovers an underage brothel, Claudia eats magic brownies, Jessi goes Rastafarian, Dawn becomes an eco-terrorist, and Mallory is a dork.
posted by Elly Vortex at 2:51 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

this is a ridiculous list of works I just pulled off my AO3 bookmarks. Mostly gen (as in, not particularly sexual), lots of alternate universes, a few apocalypses. Wide variety of source texts, but mostly Western live-action (plus Pratchett and Bujold and Narnia).

Sisters of Bilhah, a Handmaid's Tale story.

Goodnight, Moon, a heart-warming apocafic. It will rip out your heart and leave you weeping. (Joan of Arcadia)

Lunch and Other Obscenities, a fab little story about cultural difference. (New Star Trek)

This is How the Universe Ends in which Jack Harkness flummoxes Death. (Doctor Who/Discworld)

The Last Post by Rheanna, which is meta-fiction? (err...)

Buckaroo Banzai and the Floydada Scuffle. (Buckaroo Banzai)

Lilac City. Xander Harris, years after the Hellmouth eats Sunnydale, is trying to rebuild his life in Spokane when he finds a new Slayer. (Buffy)

Guerrilla, in which Ivan Vorpatril ends up in the one position he always feared. Apocafic, AU of Diplomatic Immunity by Bujold. (Vorkosigan)

The Stone Gryphon, in which Susan Pevensie, once and always a Queen in Narnia, goes to Washington to help win WWII. (Narnia)

Imagine the Ocean, in which Katara is the Avatar. (Avatar: the Last Airbender)

The Talking Stick/Circle stories, in which the Voyager's crew actually struggles with integrating the Maquis, and fucking up local politics in the Delta Quadrant. Epically long, highly influential. (ST: Voyager)

Twenty-Year Man, in which Ivan Vorpatril and Byerly Vorrutyer get involved in local planning. Hella funny. (Vorkosigan)

Six of One, in which Sam Winchester made a highly unethical decision to save his brother, and the aftermath of that. (Supernatural)

Strangers and the Strange Dead, a classic of X-Files fandom. (X-Files)

Rogeliban, in which Rogelio de la Vega discovers fanfiction. (Jane the Virgin)

This Done, Day Comes up New, which is the best Rihannsu story ever. (Other than the ones written by Diane Duane, anyway.) (Original Star Trek)

Steve Rogers at 100: Celebrating Captain America in Film, which must be read to be believed. So great. (Avengers/MCU)
posted by suelac at 3:02 PM on July 31, 2018 [6 favorites]

If you want a small fandom full of "obscure gems," may I present to you...NBC's TV series Hannibal, in particular those fics focusing on Hannigram, an exploration of the relationship between psychiatrist/serial killer Hannibal Lecter and FBI special investigator Will Graham.

As with MCU fic involving Bucky Barnes, there's a lot of emphasis on identity, change, trauma, recovery, violence, and mental health issues. Hannigram also focuses on the destructive and transformative power of love and desire, and the terrible pleasure of intimacy and of being known.

I'm reccing you some season one stories and AUs by highly talented authors who have a gift for Will and Hannibal's characterization. They make these fascinating characters and their dynamic shine without overloading you with the complicated emotional backstory of seasons two and three, or post-finale.

One Way Out of Many, a season one AU featuring the concept of daemons from Pullman's His Dark Materials series.

Separately to a Wood by emungere, one of my all-time favorite fanfiction writers. Season one AU in which Hannibal proposes to Will the first time they meet in the show.

This Dangerous Game by MissDisoriental, a dark and sprawling Victorian AU in which Will is a detective who consults with Hannibal while investigating Jack the Ripper.

Black Rock Mountain by bokunojinsei, an AU in which Will is a serial killer who hitches a ride with Hannibal. Thrilling character study that reads like Flannery O'Connor noir. They are also writing a brilliant 1st century Rome AU, Diligo Inimicus, in which Will is a legionary medic and Hannibal is a Persian mercenary captain. You don't need to have seen the show at all to read these.

What the Water Gave Me by iesika, a beautifully written and researched AU in which Will never left Louisiana or joined the FBI. In 2011, Hannibal comes to town as an FBI consultant on the trail of a serial killer. A master class in geographically-based storytelling.

Oddbodies by toffeecape, a Sentinel AU. "Will is an off-brand sentinel. Hannibal is a reputable guide. What could go wrong?" (Hint: a lot. A lot could go wrong).

Making Headlines by maydei, an AU in which genderfluid journalism student Will and trauma surgeon Hannibal meet while Will is investigating The Chesapeake Ripper.

Also, enthusiastically seconding the recs for If They Haven't Learned Your Name and This, You Protect. This, You Protect has an amazing podfic available, and is actually part of the sprawling and incredible Infinite Coffee and Protection Detail series, which is 259,655 words of pure soulfood.
posted by the thought-fox at 3:28 PM on July 31, 2018 [4 favorites]

Forward is basically "season two" of Firefly, with the slight modifcation that Wash and Book both survived the Big Damn Movie. Notable for the author having a real knack for making action scenes seem fluid and exciting on the page. Slowly building to Jayne/River shipping.

The author has also written several crossovers that place XCOM, Mass Effect and Command & Conquer in a shared universe, which I haven't read but hear great things about.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 3:35 PM on July 31, 2018

I'm not a huge Supernatural fan but I love Down to Agincourt by seperis.

(this is just off the top of my head; expect more recs when I get home and have access to my laptop!)
posted by junques at 4:37 PM on July 31, 2018

Some of these are absolutely by BNFs, but:

The End of the Road by Kat Allison (Due South)
Hawks and Hands by Dira Sudis (Due South)
Chicago's Most Wanted by Speranza (Due South)
Unnatural Selection by auburn (Stargate Atlantis/SG-1/Stargate Universe crossover)
Three Fates by auburn and eretria (Stargate Atlantis)
Out of West by rageprufrock (Stargate Atlantis)
posted by eirin at 4:49 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

To keep with the children's book series, gen-ish theme:

- National Service by burntcopper (Narnia) which follows the Pevensies as they put their skills to use in the war effort and cold war.

- No Second Coming by Aria (Dark Is Rising) wherein Simon gets married and memories come to the surface.

- Impossible Magic by lorata (Enchanted Forest Chronicles) which deals with the 16 year gap in canon and has time travel that makes more sense than most.

- The Starless Road by emilyenrose (Silmarillion) wherein everyone is in the undying lands, and Fingon goes to get Maedhros.

And bonus MCU, the classic The Kids Aren't Alright by m (Iron Man) in which Christine Everhart examines our fascination with Iron Man in a longform piece for Vanity Fair.
posted by bangles at 4:59 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

Intersections, by Kaneko (SGA), was my point of entry, and I hadn't seen the show.
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:04 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

*cracks knuckles*

Finally, my time to shine! But I'm going to hold back so I don't flood this.

What Ifs:

- What if Obi-Wan wasn't chosen by a master and went into the agricultural corps?
-What if Hobbits took over the world with their love of procedure, starting with a postal system?

Vernon learns to love is his name.
Steve Barnes tries to decondition himself, and other such hilarious stories.

Time Travel Fix-its
Steve is stuck in a time loop, and tries to solve it with science. (MCU)
The Illusive man is born back in time and fixes things.

If you want my list of Homestuck fanfics, pm me. I have too much of that. Thanks to everyone else for giving me more reading material!
posted by tedious at 5:38 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

Some of my favorites:

The Failure of Einstein's Universe by Annakovsky - Big Bang Theory, Penny makes Sheldon pretend to be her boyfriend. I KNOW. It's hilarious and just works and makes you long for something the show never really was.

Concession by obsession_inc - Iron Man, with Tony Stark as Howard Hughes. A dark and unsettling and brilliant look at genius.

Heart Like a Socket by Kyra - New Girl, Nick and Jess get married, circa-late season 1, for insurance reasons. Funny and real and sweet. (Disclaimer: I beta read this fic.)

Hamartia by Rei C. - Supernatural, a gorgeously written exploration of Sam's time at Stanford.

The Unrecorded Hours by hollycomb - Hunger Games, Peeta and Katniss, after the end of the books, recovering as well as they can - really lovely, with an ache you can feel.

the gang gets incepted! extracted! whatever. - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia/Inception crossover, 100% pure comedy.

Scientist, Astronaut, and Nymphomaniac: The nine lives of John Crichton by feldman - Farscape, epic bodyswap porn, aka why fanfiction exists.

Gentle Antidote by x_los - Lord Peter Wimsey, an AU where Harriet and Peter are soulmates and find each other early on in life; I would read the entire series re-written in this universe. It's fascinating and so good.

With No Lodestar in Sight by lindentree - True Grit, Mattie and LaBoeuf travel together again five years after the events of the movie/book, it's an amazing adventure novel with a really affecting slow burn romance between the two.
posted by blithers at 7:54 PM on July 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

I don't even like BBC Sherlock all that much but I love The Least of All Possible Mistakes more than I can say; I'd happily read a whole series of Georgiana Lestrade police procedurals. The author recently wrote a short sequel.

gyzym, author of one of the HP fics mentioned above, also wrote a ten-years-later Veronica Mars fic that I like better than the actual movie: A Strange New Story Every Time.

Longevity, a Rivers of London fic by lightgetsin, is a lovely bittersweet fic about mourning a parent that nails Peter's voice (and has a compelling Peter/Nightingale romance to boot).

and from Yuletide in particular, this rhymed verse Hamilton fic by Fahye (who writes great fic in a number of fandoms; if you like astolat you'll probably like her stuff) is a pile of fun (and dick jokes).
posted by karayel at 9:14 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

The problem of Susan Chronicles of Narnia fanfic by Neil Gaiman

This and this, both also susan fic (previously)

Alexandra Quick, four novels exploring what the U.S. might look like in the Harry Potter universe: dark and edgier, with interracial tension and suppressed indigenous magic.

The Art of Being Entreri and sequels, from R.A. Salvatore's corner of the Forgotten Realms franchise. This one can be hit or miss; I quite liked it, but I know others who haven't.

Fast Break at Tiffany's, Barton/Romanov friendship by The_Whelk

Luminosity and Radiance, rationalist re-imaginings of Twilight where Bella is smart. Like HPMOR, I was absolutely delighted with the first few chapters, and then I started to mind how full of themselves everyone was. The first few chapters were absolutely amazing, though, especially if you read Twilight first.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 9:42 PM on July 31, 2018 [1 favorite]

BBC Ulster’s 1990s dramedy Ballykissangel jumped the shark rather heinously at the end of its third season, then got worse over the course of the remaining three. As a result, every time a public broadcasting station reruns it to that point there’s a new influx of “fixer fics” on FF.N. from romantic dorks* who reject the canon.

The all-time best of them is the cruelly-unfinished Truths and Consequences, which I also believe meets your criterion of relative accessibility to a fandom outsider.

Other fics in this fandom vary in quality and style, much as any other. If ferndoyle’s excellent deadfic saga actually tempts you to watch the show, I recommend sorting the other FF.N stories by most-followed/favourites/reviewed.

*Disclaimer: I have been one of these romantic dorks. I am not ferndoyle.
posted by armeowda at 10:08 PM on July 31, 2018

I do have to rec The Boy From Babel, in which each nation in the Avatar universe has its own language and Modern Love, which is about different Discworld dwarves on the LGBT spectrum, but the rest of these are all under a hundred kudos.

21st Century Girls is for everyone who wished that Ready Player One could've been about girl geek culture. It takes the basic premise of the manga (Japanese kids save the world with pop culture) but makes it about a group of girls instead. Can be read without canon knowledge since they're all OCs.

On the Moonlit Road of Dreams is a historical fic focusing on a romance between Sei Shonagon and Murasaki Shikibu.

Before and After Stanford is the only Supernatural fanfic I've ever read, and I haven't even seen the show. It's mostly a character study about class and education and brotherhood.

Eleven Up! is a Harry Potter fanfic that takes a snapshot every year of different Muggleborns throughout the series, kind of like the Seven Up! documentary series.

Elizabeth Bennet and the Pandemonium Undertaking is Fight Club a la Austen. I mean this entirely literally.

Oh and this is 108 kudos but I couldn't resist: Goal: Take the Red Pill is Kim Kardashian: Hollywood deconstructive cyberpunk fanfiction that uses the conventions of a F2P mobile game very cleverly.
posted by storytam at 2:47 AM on August 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

FWIW, HP and the Methods of Rationality are controversial for the terrible characterization, mediocre prose, lowkey but persistent bigotry, and extremely weird and sophomoric philosophy. Also, the author openly hates Harry Potter canon and never read past the first few books. The fic is aimed at deconstructing tropes. All in all, it's not a fic I would suggest for someone new to the fandom.

My suggestions for amazing fanfic with a focus on good prose and not needing to know the canon in detail, grouped by canon:

Reprise by Elfpen, Star Wars
One of the best time travel series I've ever read. Ben Kenobi dies aboard the Death Star in the year 0 BBY. He wakes up shortly thereafter in the Jedi temple in the year 41 BBY. Haunted by memories and regret, Ben must forge a new path for himself in the Jedi Order of his youth while navigating the murky waters of time travel. Crafting a better future from bitter experience is hard, but learning to heal is even harder.

Add 1 Cup Boiling Water; Stir by sentientcitizen, Star Wars
Feral Desert Child and Former Stormtrooper Learn How To Food, Beleaguered Resistance Pilot Watches With Love And Horror. Great humor fic, the gloopening was amazing, I loved the snippets we got of Leia too.

I Can't Actually Post The Name of This Fic Here Because It Isn't Clean by lilyrose225 (OR: Mace Windu Unfucks The Timeline), Star Wars

Tano and Kenobi by FireflyFish, Star Wars
where Anakin's padawan during the Clone Wars TV show travels back in time to before Obi-Wan becoms Qui-Gon Jinn's padawan and changes things. Very, very good.

Paper Cranes by spontaneite, Hikaru no Go
Two years passed before Hikaru admitted, reluctantly, that possession by a spirit seemed to have long-lasting side effects which probably wouldn’t go away on their own. I especially love this for the magical realism and how it interweaves the spirit world with the physical world.

College First by kurushi, Addams Family
Wednesday struggles to feel comfortable with her identity as an Addams and a mother, while living in a world that is far too normal.

Rub-a-Dub Dub (A Bunch of Capes in the Tub) by Traincat, DC comics/cartoons
“Holy cats!” Oliver said, dropping the sponge. There was still conditioner in his beard. “I think you mean, holy bats,” Bruce intoned. A bunch of times Batman ambushed people in the shower, and a time or two someone ambushed him.

Tomorrow + Equal and Opposite, Dr Strange MCU
I especially like the dialogue and interactions here

The Scarlet Pimpernel, Harry Potter
Percy Weasley recieves some fictional inspiration before realizing that Authority, though Authority, is not always right. Through DH, he tries to do the right thing, rescue Muggleborns without losing his life or his job, and find the right laws. Complete. Canon compliant.

Delenda Est, which is kind of the trope-founder of 'funny, nonsensical HP time travel', Harry Potter
Another entry in that genre is nonjon's Black Comedy. I love it, but fair warning it's like 50% dick jokes and crude humor. Definitely not for anyone under high school age.

Switchverse, Harry Potter
The Sorting Hat has sorted thousands of students in the course of its life. If it makes a mistake or two, who's to say it's wrong? Certainly not Fred or George Weasley. The Weasley twins play a prank that causes all of the students in Harry's year to be mis-sorted.

The Sum of Their Parts, Harry Potter
For Teddy Lupin, Harry Potter would become a Dark Lord. For Teddy Lupin, Harry Potter would take down the Ministry or die trying. He should have known that Hermione and Ron wouldn't let him do it alone. Manages to avoid the character bashing and author self-inserts typical of Dark Lord Harry fics.

Memories and Dreams by Paganaidd, Harry Potter
Post-canon, with a great Dudley Dursley. I love the characterization, relationships both romantic and not, and magical whimsy in this.

And no HP suggestion list is complete without Barb's Psychic Serpent trilogy, which is a fandom classic:
Also on Schoogle:

Experiments In Intelligence by ciaan
Octopus Steals Camera Three Quick Flickers And All Arms Waving is young, but she is not reckless, nor is she a coward, either. She is an observer of humans. She experiments with them because she wants to solve the ancient, controversial question of whether the humans are intelligent.

Texts From Cephalopods by volta_arovet, humor
It is a well-established fact in marine biology that the octopus is the drunk texter of the cephalopod family.

Trying to Communicate, Torchwood but you don't need to know the canon to appreciate this gem. There's an alien in the Hub, and it's trying to communicate. :D

A Monstrous Regiment, Pride & Prejudice/Temeraire
General Wellington selects Colonel Fitzwilliam for a very singular honor during the Spanish Campaign: working with dragons-- and, in particular, with Captain Elizabeth Bennet, of His Majesty's Dragon, the Longwing Wollstonecraft.

An Ever-Fixed Mark, Pride & Prejudice
One would think that having the name of one's soulmate appear on one's wrist on one's sixteenth birthday would make matrimony much less complicated. It mostly does not. And not at all for Miss Elizabeth Bennet of Longbourne.

Return to Aman by bunn, Silmarillion
Elrond gets a pardon for Maglor's crimes, and after seeing him safely to Aman decides to ask about the rest of the Feanorians. Lots of great character moments and a surprisingly thoughtful take on the question of how immortal beings manage their lives. Plus, great worldbuilding on the nature of spirits and people in Arda. Long, serious topics but a happy ending.

The Amplitude of Time by amyfortuna, Silmarillion
Maglor has one chance to put everything right again, and he's going to take it.

Conditional Release by Anna_Wing, Silmarillion
Amazing prose and I love this take on Valinor, Ainur, and how the elves fit into the grand scheme of things.

Greatly Approved by damalur, Dragon Age
Hawke joins a book club to mock Varric's writing and fans thereof. Funny and touching by turns.

Your Last Serving Daughter by damalur, Dragon Age
Hawke and Varric get married for tax purposes.

By The Still Waters by emilyenrose, Dragon Age
Spirit Quests For Your Rubbish Ex. Fenris pulls Hawke out of the Fade post-DAI. Great worldbuilding re: spirits, the Fade, and Thedas history.

too many legs under the table by clandestineClairvoyant
Solas believes he can win at Wicked Grace. He winds up having to kiss people as a forfeit. Sounds like a crack fic, but everyone felt in character and it's a lot of fun to read. Solas trying to find a bribe big enough to get Sera to let him kiss her was laugh out loud funny :D

I too have been covered with Thorns, Dragon Age AU. I love the writing and how the author creates a rich setting that the characters really feel they're living in.

Vir Bor'Assan: Bend But Never Break, Dragon Age
In which fresh trauma reopens old wounds and Solas fears his secrets will end up killing him.

Metamorphosis, Dragon Age
Dorian is, apparently, an Old God reincarnated. This is a surprise for everyone.

All else is poor translation, Dragon Age
In which the Warden accidentally wakes up a gen-uine Ancient Elf and things get crazier from there.

De Ave Phoenice, Dragon Age
Danarius finds out that Dorian's father is planning a blood ritual and blackmails him. One of my favorite Dragon Age series, and literally the only Dorian/Fenris fic with believable characterization.

L Mouse writes some great crossovers that don't require canon knowledge.
Highlander/Rurouni Kenshin, Swordsmen

Inuyasha/Buffy crossover, which I like but not as much:

Vathara also writes great crossovers, my favorite is her Rurouni Kenshin/urban RPG series:
posted by Ahniya at 6:45 AM on August 1, 2018 [5 favorites]

OK, one more: Angie Astravic's Harry Potter series. A bunch of short interlinked stories that have a complete arc and great writing.

Stories linked in order:
Under the Rose Bush
An Unwelcome Visitor
The Serpent
The Butterflies
The Bug
The Serpent of Lord Voldemort
Harmless and Easily Domesticated
Christmas Over Azkaban
Slytherin's Gift
The Imbolc Serpent
The Curse of the Aitvaras
posted by Ahniya at 6:53 AM on August 1, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ok. I am so avoiding my giant calculus worksheet. My actual AO3 bookmark list is 1,939 items as of now, so I am just putting a random scattering together of some stories that are either particularly good examples of fanfic twists, not-well-known excellent, or simply delightful. Please note that a LOT of these are super smutty and/or dark. Heed the AO3 warnings.

where there's a will (7855 words) by aloneintherain
Fandom: Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling
Summary: Harry writes the first draft of his will when he’s fourteen.

Single Use Weapon (67407 words) by Fahye
Fandom: Kings (TV 2009)
"The king is dead," says Samuels. "Long live the king."
A story about fealty and destiny, spies and secrets, and the things we do to hold onto power.

so come home (21453 words) by blindmadness
Fandom: 12 Dancing Princesses (Fairy Tale)
Summary: A detective is called to a space station to solve the mystery of whether--and how--twelve astronauts are accessing the surface of a forbidden planet.

What Is Begotten (7488 words) by alestar
Fandom: The Eagle | The Eagle of the Ninth (2011)
Summary: Esca learns the Latin word by accident, from Stephanos of all people. Soul-mate.

Operation: Seduce Michael (2326 words) by blithers
Fandom: The Good Place (TV)
Summary: If at first you don't succeed, send a different cockroach.

and you had every chance (you destroy everything that you know) (2116 words) by notcaycepollard
Fandom: Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017)
Summary: She touches his fingertips and he almost sobs: he’s that starved for it.(He wants her to rend him. He wants it to hurt.)

Healing Station Argh (13008 words) by Toft
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis
Summary: A story about the benefits of cultural exchange, contraception, the downsides to television stardom, and what counts as pre-watershed in the Pegasus galaxy.

Buy You a Mockingbird (10272 words) by candle_beck
Fandom: Supernatural
Summary: A genuine horror story.

To Be Under The (2660 words) by Rubynye
Fandom: Octopus Steals My Video Camera And Swims Off With It While Its Recording, Cthulhu Mythos - H. P. Lovecraft
Summary: Three meetings of two very different minds.

Would You Hold It Against Me (5066 words) by Toft
Fandom: Spy (2015)
Summary: “Ugh, it’s you,” is the first thing Rayna says when Susan gets her out of prison.

hollow feast (1208 words) by Wildehack
Fandom: Star Trek: Alternate Original Series (Movies), Star Trek
Summary: “What is taquitos,” she asks her house, carefully, in its tongue.

The Good Student (16340 words) by Sylviavolk2000
Fandom: Highlander: The Series
Summary: Duncan still has a lot to learn ...

Accompanist (14214 words) by Mosca
Fandom: Madam Secretary
Summary: Blake has a Russian spy in his bed, a ton of people to come out to, and the chance to become the leading man in his own story.

A Divinely Attractive Arrangement (5895 words) by Fahye
Fandom: Love and Friendship (2016)
Summary: A selection from the Private Diary of Sir James Martin of Martindale. Concerning Peas, Friendship, the state of Blessed Matrimony, and several wonders of Modern Medicine.

I am a Pilot of Precision (3340 words) by lurrel
Fandom: Star Wars - All Media Types, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Summary: K-2SO slaps him in the face -- and It’s been so long since someone’s touched him that Cassian can’t stop replaying it.

Metempsychosis (9681 words) by Laura JV
Fandom: Highlander
Summary: "Methos?" he asked, and the girl smiled Methos' sly smile at him.

The First Time (1987 words) by afrai
Fandom: Star Trek (2009)
Summary: "Why you think the big ships always got so many Westerners, and we all are just like ASEAN in space?"

Sisters of Bilhah (7428 words) by throughadoorFandom: Handmaids Tale - Atwood
Summary: Sisters of Bilhah is the largest registered charitable organisation in the UK working with asylum seekers and refugees who were citizens of the former United States of America.

wonderterror (6544 words) by peradi
Fandom: Star Wars - All Media Types, Star Wars Original Trilogy
Summary: Anakin Skywalker is the son of the Force. He’s half human and half something monumental.What does that make his children?--The Skywalkers aren't entirely human. Here's what that means.

when i think about you i touch myself (2761 words) by peradi
Fandom: Supernatural, Deadpool (Comics), Cable and Deadpool, Marvel Cinematic Universe
Summary: "You are an ugly son-of-a-bitch. You look like someone who drowned in a puddle of his own piss, then got face-fucked by the archdemon of syphilis.""Thank you. I think of you when I touch myself at night."--Dean Winchester and Deadpool: the love story no one wanted or asked for

The Last Poem of Jedha (15486 words) by schweinstyFandom: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Summary: How Bodhi Rook temporarily misplaced the two most important things in the galaxy, and how he found them again (with a little help).

I'll build a house inside of you (19200 words) by magdaliny
Fandom: Captain America (Movies), The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Marvel Cinematic Universe
Summary: Natalia is stacking blocks very carefully when the adults come into the room. None of them look at her, because they're all looking at her father. He's wearing combat gear, and the hair on the left side of his head is slicked back with blood. He smells like smoke and something unnameable, sweet and dark and a little sickly in her nose.Father is saying, “Don't be ridiculous. The only thing children are good at is disobeying.”

Third Floor (2241 words) by thingswithwings
Fandom: Ghostbusters (2016)
Summary: Patty. Is on the third floor. All of the time.

That Day and That Hour Knoweth None (3080 words) by Merlin Missy
Fandom: There Will Come Soft Rains - Ray Bradbury
Summary: The McClellans lived in the house and no one knew what was coming.

Once Upon a Time (1285 words) by busaikko
Fandom: Harry Potter - Rowling
Summary: Some people find out who they really are at age eleven. For Dudley, it takes a little longer.

Minor Indiscretions (2564 words) by WerewolvesAreReal
Fandom: Temeraire - Naomi Novik
Summary: “Oh!” Temeraire perks up. “Are we talking about how Napoleon likes to kiss you?”
Laurence closes his eyes in mortification.

Concession (26364 words) by obsession_inc
Fandom: Iron Man (Movieverse)
Summary: An AU diverging from canon after the first movie: Christine Everhart investigates the disappearance of Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. No warnings, no guarantees.

"Once you consent to some concession, you can never cancel it and put things back the way they are." - Howard Hughes

Shape-Changer (2330 words) by Fialleril
Fandom: Star Wars - All Media Types
Summary: His Master liked to say that Vader was born in fire on Mustafar. But Ekkreth was born in the desert.

Day of rest and gladness (1003 words) by torch
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Summary: Day of joy and light. Momo and Appa frolic.

no one can stop me, not even gravity or nasa (8560 words) by magneticwave
Fandom: Star Wars - All Media Types
Summary: “Fuck you,” Leia says. “Who said anything about getting married? Did Luke say anything about getting married?”“Luke is not involved,” Luke says, not looking up.“Hey, Luke is not involved,” Han says, pointing at her. She’s going to bite his finger off, then they’ll see how much pointing he can do with it. “This is about you and me, princess.”“There’s not going to be a you and me,” Leia says. “I’m going to have this baby with C-3PO.”C-3PO says, “Madam,” tremulous.

Snoke's Completely Accurate Guide to Doing the Do (1039 words) by greenikat89
Fandom: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (2015)
Summary: Inspired by The Force Awakens Kinkmeme: Snoke decides it it time for The Talk with Kylo and Hux. He summons them to his chamber and gravely begins to go over the birds and the bees, in excruciating, rambling detail. Only he knows zilch about human anatomy, let alone sex, reproduction, or venereal diseases. There are frequent pauses, while he tries to gauge their response and they sweat, wishing only for merciful death.Snoke is pleased, afterwards, satisfied with their attentiveness and his own thorough explanation. They will sire good larvae. Or-- spores? Some sort of offspring, in any case. May they have a safe journey to the breeding swamps.

How I Survived My Summer Vacation, by Tamika Flynn, Age 12 3/4 (5516 words) by thingswithwings
Fandom: Welcome to Night Vale
Summary: The first book on Tamika Flynn's Summer Reading Program Sticker Chart is Lord of the Flies.She doesn't really like it.

The Sith Who Brought Life Day (13286 words) by ophelia_interrupted
Fandom: Star Wars Original Trilogy
Summary: An Imperial officer loses a bet and has to get Darth Vader a present for Life Day.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 6:20 PM on August 1, 2018 [5 favorites]

Oh my god, I am SO happy about this post. SO happy! So many new bookmarks and TBRs!

Astolat is my #1 fanfic author forever (who knew Transformers PWP could be good? Astolat, that's who) so if you love her writing style some of my recs below might click for you.

Definitely +1 for rageprufrock's Presque Vu (fandom: Inception), an absolutely gorgeous piece of pre-canon that fills in the backstory all the way up to and into Inception. (You do need to have watched the movie for it to make sense.)

The Least of All Possible Mistakes (fandom: Sherlock), also by rageprufrock, is one of my favorite pieces of fanfic ever. It runs parallel to the events of Sherlock series 1 and 2 (but departs from 3), and the main character is a genderflipped Lestrade who is in a relationship with Mycroft--both things that would normally nudge this onto my no list, but ... well. I'll just copy over my entire AO3 bookmark:

"Just an incredible piece of work. The tone, the characters, the relationships; all written so beautifully, and so lovingly. I'm generally a little leery of genderflips AND any ship with Mycroft is a one I've had a tough time boarding, but it's handled so well here. The humor is spot-on all the way through (the keynote -- "If ever a people deserved tasering, it's Holmeses" is pretty representative), and the angst is, well, dead-on -- substantial but not melodramatic. George is a grit-your-teeth-and-push-through kind of woman, and so is the way she handles her sorrow and grief. And the George/John relationship (friendship, not ship-ship; don't worry), borne of mutual respect and fondness, tempered by mutual grief and heightened by mutual understanding, is just perfect. It's just SO well done."
PLUS, after like 5 years, the author just posted another work in the series. It's Christmas in July!

The 2 works in the Howling Commandos HQ (fandom: MCU) series (also by rageprufrock! sorry) are both excellent in different ways. They're MCU works focused on Coulson. User Since is set right after the Battle of NY and is a modern epistolary (told all in emails) story; Track This Thread focuses on Clint during and after the period covered in User Since.

appalling strangeness (i have not forgotten your face) (fandom: the Dark Tower) by scioscribe was a short, wonderful epilogue to Steven King's Dark Tower series. It’s sort of a fix-it but does so while working within canon, and retains the DT’s unique tonal mix of irreverent grit and elegiac weariness. Beautifully written, true to characters.

Given the size of its audience, I feel I have to give a shoutout to some Teen Wolf fanfic even though just saying "teen wolf fanfic" makes me feel 14; any fandom that large is bound to attract some good writers. I enjoyed By Any Other Name by entanglednow and Stand Fast in Your Enchantments by DevilDoll, both of which are takes on Derek-and-Stiles-alone-against-baddies because of entrapments and/or amnesia. Stiles is a BAMF mage in one of them, which I have soft spot for.

And I just thought Ain't Sayin' He's a Gold-Digger (fandom: Teen Wolf) was crazy clever and fun. It's a Stiles/Peter sugar-daddy story, which isn't usually my thing, but it's told entirely through visuals (texts, social media posts, etc) and I thought the author nailed it. (She herself calls it 'trash' quite unrepentantly. Which maybe it is! But fun trash, so who cares?)

Alone on the Water is a brief, beautifully-written Johnlock from John's POV, but it is a deathfic so beware.

junques, I just looked up Down to Agincourt and it's ... 1 million words. Is it worth it? Should i really dive in??
posted by alleycat01 at 12:13 PM on August 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I just listened to a recent episode of the "Be The Serpent" podcast that made a very persuasive case for Down To Agincourt, FWIW.

(In other news, I was sitting with this vague notion that I didn't want to link my fic rec bookmarks directly to this user account, and then I remembered that FanFare is an exhaustive record of my descent into fic reading and writing, so fuck it. Here are a ton of fic recs. )
posted by Stacey at 12:23 PM on August 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

Most of my recs are NSFW so I won't list them here, but here are the few of my absolute favorites which are squeaky clean:

Mistake on the Part of Nature - all about how Captain America and Bucky discover that the bananas we eat today are a different kind than the ones popularly eaten before the banana plague in the 50s mostly wiped the old kind out (true fact).

Stargate Physics 101 - Stargate design and QA engineering and testing dangerous projects.
posted by 168 at 5:13 AM on August 3, 2018

The Superstition Series starting with "Superstition" is an amazing work of fiction set something like 15 years in our future starring original characters with Real People milling around.

It's about a kid, basically, who prays to the Hockey Gods and they bless him. It's around 200,000 words-plus these days, with its own fanfic from avid readers.
posted by shamash at 7:04 AM on August 3, 2018

Ctrl-f “Turn” - not finding Saras_girl’s Turn. Which is a pretty iconic drarry (Harry Potter/Draco Malfor fic. I reread it probably once a year for comfort.

Also love Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, mentioned above.

Unpretty’s DC fanfic is awesome. The barrier for entry is knowing a little bit about Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman. But you don’t have to know much. While the first few stories are good, I rec staring with Gotham High if you get bored with them. Because her Batman is friggin awesome.
posted by greermahoney at 9:36 PM on August 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Marijuana Simpson is a favourite of mine that runs on its own internal logic.
posted by solarion at 9:57 PM on August 3, 2018

One of my favorite authors considers canon just a jumping-off point, which makes her stuff pretty readable fandom-blind. I think. I would recommend:

Tangled Destinies (Star Trek reboot, Kirk is Betazoid)
The Lantean Legacy (SG:A)
Courting Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
posted by timepiece at 6:18 AM on August 5, 2018

*cracks knuckles*

I'm more a fan of authors/pairings/fandoms, so here are some of my faves according to my subscriptions and bookmarks on AO3 (many are probably BNFs):

Authors that stand out:

- astolat (you already know her so I won't go over her extensive bibliography)

- Basingstoke (I remember them for Smallville Clark/Lex and Highlander Duncan/Methos, although they've also written the fantastic Fairy Tale of Regent's Park for Sherlock John/Sherlock)

- most things by copperbadge (possibly most famous for Stealing Harry and MCU stuff)

- emilyenrose (MCU Steve/Bucky (particularly Out of the Dead Land), Voltron Shiro/Keith, original works)

- etothepii (Sherlock John/Sherlock, including an excellent crossover with the Addams Family)

- gyzym (various; I remember her MCU Steve/Tony Ready, Aim, Fire series and Community Troy/Abed story Advanced Ambulatory Ichthyology the best)

- Helenish (most well-known for Inception Arthur/Eames Patience, a Steady Hand though her Tumblr is also a delight)

- Mad_Maudlin for Sherlock John/Sherlock works and more, including a wonderful Merlin Arthur/Merlin fic (with daemons!) called A Study in Natural Philosophy

- NezumiPi for more MCU stuff, particularly of the X-Men Erik/Charles variety--see also her X-Men: First Class series.

- pretty much everything by orange_crushed, from her Sherlock John/Sherlock stuff (Harry Watson Investigates!!) to her buttload of Supernatural Dean/Cas works.

- I primarily remember out_there for their Sherlock John/Sherlock work, though nowadays they write more Mycroft/Lestrade.

- One of the few authors whose work hasn't blurred together from my Teen Waffles phase: paxlux. Sharp and distinct style; I'm a fan of the post-apocalyptic when the highway takes me.

- pendrecarc is primarily on this list for their Suite for Strings and Steel, a fantastic Sherlock genderswap (incomplete sob).

- pocky_slash writes a lot of excellent X-Men Erik/Charles AUs, if you're into that sorta thing. Nice and light and fluffy.

Okay I'm getting lazy now so please forgive me for ugly and/or missing links:

Presque Vu is indeed excellent; would recommend.

Currently working on a very good Dragon Age: Inquisition Trevelyan/Cullen story.

Tons of good Harry Potter Draco/Harry stuff; mostly on the fluffier side in recent times.

Down to Agincourt (incomplete) is excellent as is their Star Trek reboot series.

BNF? I don't follow these things. Very good MCU (mostly Steve/Bucky) and other works.

Special single work shoutout:

Amateur Theatrics by galaxysoup
In which Thor’s primary problem-solving method (a mighty blow from Mjolnir) fails to have the desired effect on a magical artifact, and his secondary method (a mightier blow from Mjolnir) proves to be actively disastrous.

Note: I've skipped a ton of authors/works for the sake of brevity; I have hundreds (thousands?) of bookmarks and six pages of subs. If anyone ever wants recs for a specific ship/fandom feel free to reach out! Also I used to read a lot of Teen Wolf but I've since blocked out most of those memories, so I may be missing things from that fandom.
posted by junques at 7:48 PM on August 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

alleycat01: "junques, I just looked up Down to Agincourt and it's ... 1 million words. Is it worth it? Should i really dive in??"

The short answer: yes? :D

Longer answer: Hmm. Depends on what you're looking for. If I approach it like a beloved and ongoing book series then yes, it's totally worth jumping in. It's plotty and intricate and there are enough fleshed-out secondary characters to keep me interested. The only thing I have reservations about is whether it's going to be finished.

(Which is like... no pressure, the ride was good while it lasted. But I get that not everyone feels that way.)

Maybe read the first few chapters and see how you feel?
posted by junques at 7:53 PM on August 8, 2018

Best answer: So...I don't know if anyone will be checking this again any time soon, but I did a thing. I really wanted to be able to give most of these recs a try, in an organized fashion. I read so much fanfic, I tend to forget what I've read until I'm halfway through it again.

So... tah-dah!!! A spreadsheet with all the recs from this post (up until this comment). I have columns for checking fic off as I read them, and noting if I liked it so I remember to go back and read everything else they've written. Like it? Make yourself a copy and use it, too. Did I misquote you or miss your rec or create an egregious copy/paste error? Make a comment in my doc and let me know.

Happy reading y'all!!
posted by greermahoney at 5:53 PM on September 6, 2018 [9 favorites]

Just came over from the MeTa to recommend a few things -

I mostly read X-Files stuff, predominantly NoRoMo (although there are some exceptions). Here's a few:

Just about anything by a guy named David Hearne. He had a fantastic voice, and specialized in shorter stuff, often with a touch of comedy; he had a fabulous comedic spin on Hollywood A.D. which was a take on how the Talk Show circuit would have reacted to the film being made in that episode, including Mulder and Scully each going on different talk shows with disastrous consequences. , also liked to do some funky crossovers (there was one I remember which teamed Mulder and Scully up with John Constantine, and I cannot find it; I also vaguely remember an X-Files/American Gods crossover).

An other "practically anything by this person" author was "Kipler"; she was amazingly good at "shit, this could be an episode" kind of stories. Her stuff was all on a site that got taken down, but you can still find things on the Wayback machine; Genius is where I'd start.

If you want a really long read, someone did an X-Files/The Stand crossover and pulled it off. Mulder and Scully hook up, but I forgave that.

As for non-Xfiles recs - Y'all already got Copperbadge represented, with a shout-out to "Trying to Communicate". A second favorite of mine was Close Your Eyes And Think Of England, a very short "real person fic" he wrote after seeing David Tennant on a talk show where the hosts informed him of the existance of Who Slash Fic. Copperbadge wrote a bit of fluff in which John Barrowman and a couple guys from Harry Potter all teamed up to find even more Who Slash to embarrass David Tennant with.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:29 AM on September 7, 2018 [1 favorite]

So from your initial recs I got strong characterization, feelings, and well-researched fic. Given that I pulled a few of my faves. Uh, not too many obscure fandoms or even fics here but I can promise fabulousness!

Then I Defy You Stars by Speary is Supernatural fic that actually reminds me a lot of your last rec (melancholy post-canon professor fic)

Leave No Soul Behind by whochick is NuTrek. It's not exactly obscure but damn is it good and the characters are incredibly well written for being in a completely different version of their universe. One of the best things I've ever read, period, and haunting in the best way

Quite a few of the fics written by Only_1_Truth fit the bill, but if we're going for less well-known I'll rec One Equal Temper of Heroic Hearts by 17 pansies which is also James Bond but more a character study of Bill Tanner than anything

The New Deal by Closer is Suits fic. It's heartwarming in a 'Hallmark Christmas movie for the cynical' kind of way (Teen Mike runs away from home and law student Harvey takes him in)

Jasper's Home for Wayward SHIELD Agents by orderlychaos is MCU fic that redeems a relatively unimportant character. Seriously rarepair alert, too

Next Big Thing by earlgreytea68 is Inception characters as HGTV stars and it is simply delightful. It's a series and I linked you to the second story because it's the best and biggest (it is complete, too)

If the Left One Don't Get Ya by eoen is NCIS fic that is incredibly well characterized (what if Tony was from a Mafia family and had lost a son?). It should have had a Mention of Rape tag.

Performance in a Leading Role by Mad_Lori is Sherlock fic. It's pretty much the opposite of obscure but I speak with absolutely no hyperbole when I say run to read it if you haven't already. Absolutely amazing characterization and sufficiently great research that I suspect it is actually by someone in Hollywood
posted by librarylis at 4:28 PM on September 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

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