The Earl of Rothinghamtonfordshire
This was a big, big winner for me. I expected it to be a crack-ficcy romance novel parody, a la those Harlequin stories they were doing over in Atlantis fandom last fall, but it's not! It's teenage Nick, deciding it can't be that hard to write a novel! Only he went to bus school, so, harder than you'd think. The story is just gold -- funny as hell, and able to jab the boys without seeming mean-spirited; Nick is dumb as a box of hammers and Justin is totally self-absorbed, but in *endearing* ways, not that kind of "look how superior we, the readers are" way. I particularly loved the Backstreet group meetings, because it's harder, in my experience, to find good BSB whole-group-tomfoolery than it is to find the same thing in NSync fandom, and this is *very* good. Almost every line in those scenes is entirely quotable, but this will have to stand in:"Look, Nick," Howie said, "the point of this whole meeting was not to tell you what we didn't like about your book --"
"It wasn't?" Kevin said.
"You all thought we were having a meeting to talk about what we didn't like in Nick's book?"
"I didn't know," Brian said. "I just go where I'm told."
AJ said, "I thought there was going to be food."
And if that doesn't make you want to read the story, well, Jed, I don't even want to know you.Perfect
struck me as very similar, and that's not a bad thing. They're both Howie/Nick stories set "currently," and although their plots have very little in common, they just have a similar sense of chronicling the ups and downs and peculiarities of daily life on tour, and as in the last rec, excellent, excellent use of BSB group dynamics. They're both nice, low-key love stories of the, "Hey, how come I didn't know I was in love with him?" variety, a genre I'm fond of, and patience is rewarded and happy endings abound, and even though I'm not keen on this pairing, I had fun reading both. They're also both quite long, which is often a negative for me, but I didn't mind so much this time, and I know lots of people love the long ones, so that's all roses. And I don't know if it was drawn from a real concert moment or not (with these guys, it's hard to say), but the image of Kevin with a thrown bra tied around his head will be with me forever (that one comes courtesy of "Perfect").A Cable Car Named Desire
is one you might really like or really not, depending on your tolerance for genre gimmicks. It's a hardboiled noir detective story set in post-War San Francisco, and the author absolutely has the sound of the genre down cold -- so if, like me, you enjoy the dames-and-gumshoes patter, it's fun to read, but it might grate on you if that's not your thing. There's some pretty solid history in it, actually, about the early years of such a creature as a gay community and its relationship to the war, and a nice use of early-Cold War stuff, although the plot gets increasingly rushed and perfunctory as it gets toward the end (don't they always, with these deadlined stories?). Actually, there were a couple of things about the end I wasn't too pleased with, but once again, if you're a noir fan, the fun of reading it should trump the pacing and other assorted problems. This story is one of those that you get in popslash where you can't help thinking that with the names changed, it'd make a nice short novel for some queer press somewhere -- particularly in this case, where the story really needed a bit more elbow room to put some suspense into the last act.Everything In Its Place
Really, the only thing wrong with this story is that when you read GSF, you expect more porn. This is as close as it gets to gen GSF, with the emphasis on the group dynamics and whatnot, and really, where's the freaking porn, guys? I've noticed overall this year is gennish, with a lot of sort of old-school kiss-in-the-last-reel endings. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Anyway, this is a sweet, funny story; it's not the first fic in the world to try a patch-job on recent history and reaffirm that, no! They still love each other -- just in, like, private -- where no one can see! But it's one of the most successful. Hell, the writer almost had me convinced, and I am vv bitter and cynical about this kind of thing. JC faking an ancient prophecy from a Chinese sage that says they have to have an orgy in order to save the world from destruction is pretty fucking priceless.