This week's Friday Five is courtesy of Tanya Brown, co-head of the Fanfiction stream at Nine Worlds. Tanya has been reading and writing and critiquing fanfiction for over a decade, having looked afresh at it after the first of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movies. Off the back of our previous Fanfictional Friday Five, Tanya volunteered to share a few more recommendations of great places to begin with fanfiction... Without further ado, over to her!
Last year at the Nine Worlds convention, I gave a presentation in which I attempted to demolish the myth that fanfiction 'reduces every relationship to sex'. A lot of fanfiction does feature romantic and / or sexual relationships: but so does a lot of published fiction - and not only in the 'romance' genre. Like any other genre, fanfic can include a romantic or erotic relationship without it being the focus of the story.
If you're not in the mood to read romance or stories with explicit sex, there are plenty of fics that are well-plotted, well-written and don't feature sexual relationships. I've recommended some of my favourites below. They're all based on Marvel's Cinematic Universe, and as long as you've seen the Avengers movie you shouldn't find any unfamiliar characters. (As a non-comics fan, I wonder how much extra texture I'm missing!) These stories were posted before the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, so some have been Jossed. All are ten thousand words or less, and all but one are rated G for General Audiences.
Contrary Advisor by oak. A SHIELD post-incident wider consequences analysis: how can the physics of Avengers be explained without incurring 'the tortured screams of the physics team'? Was Loki really an idiot, or was his true goal something other than the conquest of Midgard?
This fic reminds me of late-night conversations in convention bars: that blend of informed speculation and wild invention. It's a great example of fanfiction that explores plotholes and inconsistencies in canon. There's a sequel, 'Show Your Work', in which Analyst M'Zangwe proposes a hypothesis about the management of Stark Industries, and suggests an explanation for the Black Widow's interpersonal skills.