Over the years I have become very persnickety about what I like in a fic. I went from someone who just loved romance to someone who was here for the plot, and quite often found the romance bits annoying. I tend to lean towards canon-compliant, but not always. I also tend towards lengthy fics. Very lengthy. Hefty novel-length fics.
So, broken down into fandoms, here are the stories I love so damned much they live on my kindle and get re-read on a regular basis. (Summaries (in italics) have been taken from the sites directly, and are the wording of the author, not me, unless stated otherwise)
The fact that there’s no end to this story isn’t really a problem to me. Animal Crossing is such a slice of life game that just reading about Nadia’s day-to-day life is interesting. I’d love to see an end, obviously, but I can enjoy what is there.
The Terrible Secret of Animal Crossing by Chewbot
Ostensibly a Let’s Play of Animal Crossing, only much much darker, with actual screenshots which evolve to creepy illustrations. Horrifying if you’ve played the game.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel
Everything Yahtzee writes is worth reading. Her fics always have a great plot and absolutely flawless characterisation.
This isn’t just a bunch of episode transcripts, it’s a full world. There are extras, such as Dawn’s diary, which bridges the S7 canon and the S8 fanon, there are pictures of the house, flyers for events they go to, legal documents, just loads of stuff. This is just a brilliantly in-depth world. My personal take on the season arc is that it’s probably not quite canon compliant, but it’s also so damned enjoyable and everyone has put so much work into making this a full world, that you just won’t care.
An AU take on the birth of Angel’s child and the aftermath. As always, Yahtzee knocks it out of the park.
I don’t like kids. I tend to avoid kidfic. However. This fic. This damned fic. It’s one of my favourites. I remember reading it on livejournal back in the day. Wesley is age-regressed, and not only is it adorable, it’s also well thought out, showing a kid that has been terrorised by his father and prepped since birth to be a Watcher and is already a bundle of anxiety with all that weight on his shoulders.
Written before season six aired, this is a take on how Buffy came back. And I’m not the only one who thinks it’s better than season six.
I ship it.
A fantastic AU where Lindsey has a change of heart, leading to Faith being stationed in LA, and Angelus being the big bad, working with Wolfram & Hart. I don’t know how it’s still up since it’s hosted on Geocities, but you should read it.
A great follow-up to a great first fic.
Dead Like Me
A fantastic crossover where Dawn (Buffy) is made a reaper. Lizbeth absolutely captures the narration from Dead Like Me and George’s sardonic look at life. The story absolutely rules and contains a bit of nightmare fuel.
If George had been assigned to reap the passengers of flight 180…
Dirk Gently (Netflix)
I headcanon these boys as having a very close, queerplatonic relationship.
I also imagine Dirk wearing clothing that’s often considered women’s clothing. Dirk just thinks of it as clothes, and wears what he wants to wear. Todd maybe takes a bit more time to process.
This is just a little bit of fic exploring these ideas, with some nail polish thrown in for good measure.
This series taught me that queerplatonic is exactly the type of romance I love. All of the feels with very little of the touching. It needs to be a bigger genre. As for the fic, Dirk and Todd are perfectly in character, and it is utterly charming.
I don’t even like Glee that much, but I really like this fic. It’s funny, dark, and even romantic at times. And yeah, this puts an emphasis on the action/adventure parts.
One of the best Good Omens fics out there. shewhoguards delivers awesome fics with plot and friendship – romance, if you’re wearing your slash goggles. And fandom does.
I love seeing Ginny be awesome, since she’s just a puddle of hormones and red hair in the movies. And it’s not just Ginny, the other girls in her dorm are just as awesome. Slytherin is threatening but also welcoming. Enjoy.
There’s a reason this fic is a classic in the fandom. If you didn’t read it back in the day, read it now. It’s still ridiculous and funny.
My Little Pony
After Princess Celestia appoints Twilight Sparkle and her friends to be ambassadors to Earth, they decide to introduce themselves to the humans by appearing in a horse show, but they need someone to get them ready. They call on Megan, the legendary warrior who guarded ponykind in days of yore. Megan has banished or slain countless demons, but can she convince the ponies to hold still long enough for her to braid their manes?
This crosses over with G1, but should be accessible to all.
This is the definitive Gen 1/Gen 4 crossover. It’s a much darker take on the stories from Gen 1, acknowledging that such horror would deeply damage the poor twelve year old the ponies kidnapped to save them. It also shows Megan’s deep love for the ponies. I will say that she’s still not likeable – and neither are Molly or Danny – but at least I understand why I don’t like them. They not just cloyingly sweet. They’re people with emotions and motivations.
Where this fic really shines though is the backstory of the ponies. We get a truly horrifying segment about how the Twinkle Eye ponies came to be – based on an actual comic – and an explanation of how the ponies from Dream Valley separated into tribes of earth ponies, unicorns and pegasi. The author’s notes are just as fascinating as the fic.
There was some mild drama about how the story ended, which you can read about on TV Tropes, and that’s why this is technically “abandoned”, although I would say it reads as complete.
In order to avoid upsetting Fluttershy while still creating chaos, Discord traveled to an alternate universe to wreak entertaining havoc, and picked the wrong one.
In the core universe, Spike receives a letter from Discord begging for help, and soon the Mane 6 are preparing to travel to the alternate universe to rescue him from their own twisted counterparts. Meanwhile, Discord struggles to keep his mind and will intact, while the alternate Twilight Sparkle seeks to use him as a source of magical power to be harnessed to Order, and the alternate Fluttershy expresses her own twisted mixture of desire and resentment against him.
There are no explicit, current, healthy pairings. There is the usual Spike/Rarity crush, past Discord/Celestia from long ago, unconsummated/unacknowledged feelings between the real Fluttershy and Discord, and a sick, totally messed-up relationship between the alternate Fluttershy and her prisoner, which I wouldn’t even call a pairing since it’s rape, except that the thing that makes it especially destructive is the presence of genuine emotions in it.
Graphic torture. Somewhat explicit, non-violent but psychologically destructive rape. I’m not pulling any punches with this one.
A dark and twisted series of stories, that prove I will read anything AlaraJRogers writes about Discord.
Discord’s the only creature in Equestria who can recognize the human for what he is – not the long-lost Seventh Element that never actually existed and couldn’t have existed before the human arrived, but a meta-reality warper, an entity far more powerful than Discord with the power to warp the minds of all around him and the very rules of magic to make sure that he’s always the Big Hero. And the role the human’s assigned to Discord is the Villain to beat down or kill.
Pre-reform Discord’s fine with being the villain. But on his own terms. Not dancing on some alien interloper’s puppet strings.
Without friendship, or even allies, Discord’s going to have to find a way to defeat a creature who can alter fate itself and who can even mind-control him. Or he may just end up worse than dead.
An amazing Gary Stu deconstruction. My favourite MLP fic of all time. Unfortunately, the author can go for years without updating, but their work does update, and I saw a (vaguely) recent comment saying this one is next on the list for a new chapter. And it will be worth the wait. It always is.
This fic satisfies my values through friendship and ponies. And it’s probably the nicest apocalypse I’ve ever read. To the point that many readers dream of the outcome. This fic also works if you’re not a fan of MLP.
Another look at the Optimal-verse, this time locked in tightly to a single perspective, as a woman both loves the world and agonises over the decision to upload.
Alex Meyers is a newly graduated lawyer looking for a calling. He thinks he might have found it when he lands a job at the firm of Artemis, Stella & Beat. The firm has only one (highly unusual) client, namely the AI called Celestia. Forging into totally unexplored legal territory and led by a boss who’s either brilliant, crazy, or both, Alex will learn exactly how hard it is to be responsible for drawing the lines between right and wrong.
Set in the Optimalverse, so read Friendship is Optimal first.
Another great Optimal-verse story, this time focusing on the legal aspect of Celest.A.I’s grand plans.
JC wrote an amazing Point Horror send-up for NaNoWriMo 2020. It has all the things you want – people not caring about the murders, cataclysmically stupid authority figures, and the general feeling that the lead is making a mountain out of a molehill. But! With all that said, it also has some genuinely good girl friendships, something that PH lacks, and a great deal of weird asides – most of which are references to Kevin. Or Sarah possibly being from Australia. This tickles me greatly.
Sam stared. “Did you just emoticon at me?”
Crack fic for last_panda, who requested Dean/Castiel with no prompt but was foolish enough to use an emoticon in her request comment 😉
Short but deeply amusing. Dean gets cursed to only use emoticons. Yeah.
A darkly comic expansion of the Mystery Spot episode.
A strange but awesome fic that goes right back to the Beginning (with a capital B), examining the dysfunctional relationship between Gabriel, his siblings, and his father. Father.
A huge series that completely diverts from canon, with Dean showing up at Stanford (eventually) after suffering an injury that completely curtails his mobility. It’s clear that the author is either personally familiar with mobility issues and the pain they cause, or is one hell of a researcher. And I’ve got to be honest, having a hero that can’t walk kind of speaks to me.
The author has not summarised, rated or warned for anything, so as a reader, I would say it’s an R-rating for implied happenings and references to off-screen stuff, but far tamer than the titles suggest.
This one has some real laugh out loud moments. The author gleefully leans on the fourth wall, and it is pure joy.
The Blair Witch Project
A quiet and understated fic, which has the same level of menace as the movie, but also showing just as little.
Very in-character with movie-Liz. The tone also fits the prosey tone of the book and it’s a deliberate style choice. Short. Sweet. And obviously horrifying.
The Mighty Boosh
tartpants is hands down the best writer in the Boosh fandom – and a totally awesome person to talk to as well. Her stories are wonderful, witty and weird. They fit the tone perfectly.
The Mighty Ducks
A genuinely sweet story about a ship I didn’t care for until I read it. It shouldn’t work, but it does.
This is the first Ducks fic I found online, and a big inspiration. Also, Saturniia is a sweetheart. I love Bombay/Casey and this fic is still sweet two decades later.
Sadly abandoned, but a gripping story that leans into the Rings (short film, not reboot) theme of multiple tapes, with crossovers as far as the eye can see – but you will not be locked out if you don’t know the fandom (thank god, Little House on the Prairie? Only seen one episode back in the 80s!).
Awesome use of Sims game mechanics.
Thelma and Louise
I want this to be canon. Kind of a ghost story. Totally awesome.
I take this as canon.