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Congratulations! It's a comm!

We have spawned! Following discussion in various places, we have created fic_tossed, where willing victims authors can submit their stories for pseudonymous critique. It's still in the early stages, but we're hoping to have it house trained and ready for playgroup soon.

Torchwood: Crossover

Quick note: The reviewer at cot_after_dark has covered every story in all of the PWP categories. They're great reviews: very long and detailed.

A Stranger In The City by Astrogirl
Crossover fandom is Star Trek (original series). Great writing, and the interaction between Jack and Spock is handled very well. The author does a nice job of fitting Jack into the City on the Edge of Forever episode.

Wacky Rooftop Hijinks by booster17
Crossover fandom is Batman. The story is very cracky, but not very funny. It feels like a "random insanity" piece where the humor is forced rather than natural.

Thank God For Retcon by DemonChildeKyra
Crossover fandom is Gilmore Girls. A Weevil is in Stars Hollow, and Jess isn't surprised. Why? Well, after everyone from Torchwood shows up at Luke's, we learn that Jess had a previous sexual relationship with Jack. After he was injured by a Weevil, Jack told him about aliens. And didn't retcon him. Pretty much everyone in this fic is out of character, for some unknown reason retcon doesn't work on Lorelai, and the writing is full of technical errors.

In Loyal Service by joonscribble
Crossover fandom is The Dresden Files (TV series).This fic is part of a Dresden/Torchwood series, but I thought it was reasonably easy to follow even without having read the preceding stories. I've seen a few Dresden Files episodes, and from what I could tell, everyone was in character. The fandoms mesh well enough; the writing is very good. Pet peeve: Epithets were used too often for my liking ("the wizard" for Harry, and "the ghost" for Bob, in particular).

A Little Hope by fear-alchemist
Crossover fandom is Doctor Horrible. However, the crossover element really just consists of Ianto playing around in the basement of the Hub. The verb tenses change randomly, and the humor falls flat. (Also reviewed here, in Crackfic, though technically the story should be eligible for just one of these categories.)

All The Little Soldiers by MJ
(Part 2 is here.)
Crossover fandom is Lord Peter Wimsey. The author comes up with a plausible reason for Jack, Peter, and Bunter to meet, but the final two scenes felt heavy-handed and unnecessary. While the crossover is an intriguing idea, this story's execution was a bit off for me.

Things That Are Golden Don't Break Easily by paperclipbitch
Crossover fandom is Chronicles Of Narnia. I've read two of the Narnia books, a long time ago. From what I recall of them, the author has done a really good job of writing the Narnia characters. Some readers might object to liberties taken with the timeline, but frankly, the scene where Jack mildly flirted with a 14-year-old Susan bothered me more (not that much, though). This is a fulfilling story with rich detail.

Overall: My vote will go to A Stranger In The City or Things That Are Golden Don't Break Easily.

Torchwood: Crackfic

The Gwen Bashers by Ghost2
The title of this story is not "Gwen Basher," as CoT would have you believe, and if you read the story, you'll immediately see why the title is plural, not singular. The author wrote this as a mock entry for a Gwen-bashing contest (WTF is up with rewarding bashing, fandom?), and though the story is essentially the same joke repeated over and over, it's sarcastic and funny.

I probably shouldn't wonder whether any of fandom's Gwen-bashers won't be able to tell this is a parody. The answer will just make me grouchy.

The Applesauce Incident Is What Tipped Them Off, Really by kayliemalinza
Ianto's turned unexpectedly mean, and Jack tries to get to the root of the problem. I loved the opening section about the apple and the jokes about Ianto's eyebrows and Jack's facial expressions. But the pacing of the humor felt inconsistent – terribly funny in places, slack in others, like the seemingly off-topic conversation about the Doctor. Still, this one's worth reading, especially for Ianto's snark.

The Principia Tescordia by kenazfiction
I think I can safely say this is the only story I've read that combines cheesy Christmas decorations, Discordianism, some awful puns (the one about the Fiesta made me laugh out loud), hot dogs, and Owen in a festive Christmas jumper. "The Principia Tescordia" is absolutely brilliant, and if the BBC doesn't buy the rights to film it as the Torchwood comedy Christmas special, I will be deeply disappointed.

We Wish You A Merry Weevil by Holdingoff
I figured it wasn't a good sign when the title of the author's LJ used "its" incorrectly. That, along with the author's note warning for Gwen-bashing and identifying the fic as part of the Anti-Gwen Alliance Christmas Challenge, almost made me click the Back button then and there. There's badly punctuated and incorrectly capitalized dialogue, "Hub" is consistently spelled in lowercase, and the characters are virtually unrecognizable. I tried to read the whole thing but finally gave up halfway through when Ianto told Gwen "this is Torchwood, not the chav-infested Swansea estate that you sprung from." Truly awful.

Trading Coats by skellerbvvt
Jack and Ianto pretend to be each other as part of a sex game. It's a good setup, but frankly, I found the story unfunny and boring. The frequently mispunctuated and incorrectly capitalized dialogue didn't help matters, and neither did awkward phrases like "Jack went to get the candles, the sex candles, and Ianto could almost hear him hoping that the sex candles would not be wasted on paperwork, which Ianto would not do."

Job Requirements by Lorannah
PC Andy wants a job at Torchwood, and Ianto lays out the requirements, some of which are a little unusual. It's a cute concept, but this story really needs a good beta to help tighten up the language and pacing and fix a few punctuation problems.

A Little Hope by fear-alchemist
In this crossover with Dr. Horrible, Gwen discovers something unexpected about Ianto. The story feels more like a teaser for something longer and funnier; unfortunately, this is all there is.

Overall: A very mixed category, but it should be obvious that my vote goes to The Principia Tescordia.

New Who: WIPs, part one

Here are reviews of the first seven stories nominated in the New Who WIP category. Comments are based on the first three parts of each fic.

Held in Trust by the_tenzo
This well-written Handy/Rose story is a sequel to a fic I haven't read. Handy uncovers a mystery in Somerset and wants to investigate with Rose, as well as Alt!Donna (they met her in the prequel). In the early parts, it's a fun story that looks like it will become a good adventure fic. Handy/Rose fans probably will like it a lot.

Heritage by np_complete
This WIP concerns the Doctor and Rose's son, John Tyler. It's told from the viewpoint of Penny, a new employee at the Tyler Institute. There's not a lot of development of Penny as a character (she basically just seems like a nice person) but the material with John is somewhat more interesting. I tend to have little interest in OCs; readers who are more open to them should give this story a try.

In Human Hands by Rallalon
In this story, the Ninth Doctor is a human named John Smith who works in Barcelona as an auto mechanic. A tourist named Rose Tyler starts to hang around him, and he gradually lets down his guard with her. The pace is deliberate, and the mystery behind the Doctor's current life unfolds in an intriguing manner. One quibble: The story is marred by phonetic dialogue for Rose (including “He works with ‘em,” she says, “an’ ‘m not allowed t’ go with him where he’s gone this time, so ‘m waiting here.”), with only very occasional phonetic dialogue for the Doctor.

Help! by Malice Haughton
After the events of Midnight, the Doctor is traumatized. Donna thinks he should see a psychologist. I was particularly interested in seeing how his first session would go, but I skimmed ahead and it turns out that meeting doesn't occur until chapter 15. As for drawbacks, the writing is awkward in spots, with some overlong, tangled sentences. Also, the Jack characterization felt a bit off in the early going.

Our Velocity by zauberer_sirin
Sequel to "Now We Have a Map of the Stars" (previously reviewed here, though not by me). This story has Martha, the Master, and the Doctor travelling together. The Master wants to date Martha; she claims she isn't interested (read between the lines, though). The cracky tone is fun, and I enjoyed the first three chapters. But why are the paragraphs so short? Far too many of them consist of only one or two sentences, making the story read choppily.

Ever/Was by ljg_fanfic, onlylyin, treblebeth
A virtual season. It kicks off before Turn Left, with Rose trying to find the Doctor. Then the story moves on to cover the events of Journey's End (and in some places becomes a bit too much telling with not enough showing). Apparently, the chapters after the first three will deal with life in the Alt!World. The writing is good, but only the first chapter put much of a new spin on things.

Belonging by never_more_cat
Previously reviewed here, in the Torchwood WIP section. As said there, the Tenth Doctor visits Jack after Exit Wounds and Journey's End. The writing style is reasonably good, the author knows how to punctuate, and the first three chapters are decent.

Overall: Keep in mind that if any of these stories significantly improved or deteriorated after the first three chapters, I don't know about it. My impressions are based on the early going only. I would have kept reading Held in Trust and In Human Hands to see what happened. For the crack factor alone, I would have read more of Our Velocity.

Classic Who: Crossovers

This category's reviews are the work of two people. One read three of the longer stories, and the other one covered the rest.

Truthiness And Relative Dimensions In Space by Erin Ptah

Crossover fandom is Fake News. It tells the story of how Stephen Colbert (the character, not the actor) travelled in the TARDIS at two distinct times during his life: at age seventeen with Ten and Jack and at age forty-four with Four and Sarah Jane. There is a lot of fun with ontological paradoxes and other wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff. The author alternates between the two narratives quite deftly: the story would not have worked nearly as well if they'd been separated. It's quite long and it looks a bit daunting at first, but, unlike a lot of the long stories I've reviewed for cot_tossed, it never felt quite so long while I was reading it. It's very well-written, very funny, and the various extras are neato keen. Best of all, it's written so that fans of Fake News and fans of Doctor Who can both understand the fic without knowledge of the other fandom. I was very favorably impressed with this fic and I don't even usually like RPF. Good job, Erin Ptah.

Snark and Explosives by TigerKat

Crossover fandom is Firefly. These are two drabbles whose basic premise boils down to this: wouldn't Ace/Jayne be an awesome pairing? I'm not entirely convinced, but considering some of the boyfriends Ace has had (I'm looking at you, Mike the Fascist and Sabalom Glitz the semi-canonical) it's not entirely inconceivable that she might hook up with someone like Jayne. Especially since this seems to be Badass!Ace from the NA novels. Anyhow, the author has a good Jayne voice and it's quite decently written on the whole. One nitpick, though: I'm pretty sure Ace's brand of high explosive is called Nitro-Nine, not Nitro Five.

Companions at the Chalet School by hhertzof

Crossover fandom is the Chalet School book series. Readers have to accept the premise the author sets up, or pretty quickly the story won't work for them. That premise is that in 1965, Jo Grant, Sarah Jane Smith, and Ace McShane all become students at the school, while Barbara Wright is a teacher. (Turns out that after being away for two years during her travels with the Doctor, on her return home Barbara had trouble finding a job and had to take a position at what just happens to be her old school.) Ace is an undercover student because the Seventh Doctor wants to investigate a school mystery. I've read a few of the Chalet School books, and the author does a nice job of capturing their spirit. Plenty of cliches from the books are included, in a loving manner. All in all, this is an enjoyable, charming story.

Heartbeats by nonelvis

Crossover fandom is The Sandman. It's a lovely, bizarre little story about the Doctor being lost in Delirium's realm after the end of the Time War as he's busy regenerating from Eight to Nine (at which point Death shows up as well.) It's pretty well-written for the most part, though a bit confusing in places. Since one of the main characters in this fic is the personification of confusion, though, I choose to see it as a deliberate move on the author's part. I found it quite enjoyable to read, though I'm not sure if readers unfamiliar with The Sandman would get as much out of it.

Things That Never Were by KerrAvonsen

Crossover fandom is Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Eight rescues Ford and Arthur from the Daleks (which aren't supposed to exist.) It's quite decently written and the author does a fairly decent job of replicating the Douglas Adams style in places. I especially liked the Dalek section of the Guide.

Travel Light by Astrogirl

Crossover fandom is Farscape. Unfortunately, I've only had the chance to see a couple of first season episodes of Farscape, so I won't be able to properly evaluate this story on those merits. That being said, all the Farscape bits do line up with the little bit I've seen. Anyhow, Ace and Seven land the TARDIS inside Moya, which doesn't really have a crew anymore. Then they get involved in liberating a planet. The author does a good job with the Seven and Ace voices and the fic is quite well-written on the whole. It was interesting, but I think I would have got more out of it if I'd seen more Farscape.

The Trouble With Harry by Azar

Previously reviewed here.

Mrs. Pollifax And the Resurrecting Man by jadelennox

Crossover fandom is Dorothy Gilman's Mrs Pollifax books. It's another one where I have little to no familiarity with the source material, although I've sort of decided on the basis of this story and what Wikipedia tells me that I should actually start reading these books: they sound pretty interesting. Anyhow, Mrs Pollifax is an elderly woman who ended up becoming a spy for the CIA at the age of sixty. Also, according to this story, she's secretly a former companion to the Doctor. There's not much of a plot to the story--and what plot exists is basically this is Mrs Pollifax; here are some nasty street thugs that want to mug her; watch her meet the Doctor again--but it is for the most part well-written. Also characterization for the Doctor Who characters are quite strong: Tegan, Adric, and Five were immediately identifiable as themselves before ever being named.

Sarah Jane of the Chalet School by Paranoidangel

Crossover fandom is the Chalet School book series. Yes, another one. This story and Companions at the Chalet School were both written for the 2008 TARDIS Big Bang challenge. This fic is an AU set in the 1930s. Sarah Jane is a teacher the Chalet School, while Harry Sullivan works as a doctor at the nearby Sanatorium. He and Sarah Jane meet and start to date, but can their relationship last? While the story has a lot of exposition, as with the previous Chalet School crossover in this category the author does a very good job of capturing the tone and spirit of the books. And even in this very different setting, Harry and Sarah Jane are recognizable as the characters seen in Doctor Who.

Overall: All of the stories seem to be reasonably well written, though one reviewer's pick is Truthiness And Relative Dimensions In Space, while the other one had fun reading both Chalet School crossovers.

Classic Who: Dark

No Ordinary War by Livii
The Seventh Doctor drops Ace and Hex in 1970s Paris, ostensibly to help fight in a difficult and nonlinear war. When the TARDIS doesn't come back for them on schedule, they're forced to gradually build a life together. What happens at the end is absolutely chilling, but also stretches Seven's canonical powers more than I thought they could be stretched, even if what he does is terrifyingly in-character. Nevertheless, the language here is beautiful, and the portrait of Ace and Hex's relationship heartbreaking.

In A Dim Light by Branwyn
A creepy but oddly hopeful story in which Romana, held captive by the Daleks for ten years (an event from the Big Finish audio "The Apocalypse Element"), hallucinates a conversation with the Fourth Doctor. It's a short but powerful discussion about the nature of dreams and the Time Lords' inextricable link with the Daleks, and though nothing about Romana's actual situation changes, by the end there's a flicker of optimism.

Wipe The Sleep Out Of My Eyes by Bagheera_san
This one isn't dark so much as bittersweet. It's a portrait of Dodo Chaplet, a companion who disappeared halfway through her last serial, as she struggles with memory loss caused by the Doctor and encounters several of his companions through the years. Bagheera_san depicts Dodo's confusion, good cheer, and courage so perfectly you can follow along even if you've never seen her episodes. (I haven't.) A gorgeous character sketch.

Nightingale, Alone by Mhalachai
I like this story's concept – that there's an explanation for Bad Wolf other than what we see in "The Parting of the Ways" – but I found the execution a little too melodramatic. Romana's grief and rage at the end of the Time War are palpable here; I just wish the author had held back on some of the metaphors.

Mirror Image by JayTheNerdKid
Seven keeps seeing Nine in mirrors, dreams, and shadows, and tries to tease out why he's being haunted. I don't usually like stories told in the second person (it's too often used to insert the author's voice instead of the character's), but I don't think "Mirror Image" would work nearly as well otherwise. To say I found this story unsettling would be an understatement, but I mean that as a compliment: "Mirror Image" is a tremendous story, and so far my favorite of the bunch.

And the Mill Wheel Slows Down by schildkroet
This is quite well-written, but mind the warning for "serious spoilers for the EDA The Ancestor Cell" – having never read that book, I couldn't really follow the story. If you're familiar with The Ancestor Cell, I think you'll get a lot out of this one; there's a great deal of emotion packed into a small space, but it clearly will work best if you have the background information I don't have.

THAT by Jedi_penguin
Another one that will be tough to follow if you aren't familiar with the background material; in this case, the audio play "Scherzo." Jedi_penguin uses one of the play's most peculiar plot elements to explore Charley's sexual inexperience and desire, and if you've never listened to the play, I think you'll be pretty confused about what's going on here. The central analogy of the story is a compelling one, and I liked the story overall, but at the same time, I'm not sure it's dark enough for this category.

Borrowed Time by Nix Nada
I think this is the only story I've ever read that focuses on Kamelion, who in my opinion was never a terribly interesting character. But here he's quite sympathetic, as a personality chip briefly gives him a taste of what it's really like to be the Doctor. It's a poignant story, and though the final line is a little heavy-handed, it does make Kamelion's tragedy that much more apparent.

She Will Not Die With Shaking Hands by Ashesonthewindows
A brief character study of Romana at the very end of the Time War. Romana is sad and scared yet still too proud and stubborn to simply give up on what she knows is a hopeless cause. It's a good story, powerful and moving.

Overall: An incredibly strong category. I'm voting for "Mirror Image," but I don't think you can go wrong with any of these.

Torchwood: WIPs

Following the lead of my colleague who reviewed the New Who Novels category, I decided to read the first three parts of each WIP and then give my opinions. Anyone who has read more of any of the stories should feel free to comment on them, of course.

Stuck on the Slow Path by sarkywoman
This story gets off to a sluggish start, as the prelude is basically a recap of the end of The Parting of the Ways. The action then skips ahead to just after The Last of the Time Lords. The Doctor is stranded on Earth, so Jack invites him to work for Torchwood. I made it through three parts, then had no interest in reading more. I appreciated the lack of errors in the writing, but the plot didn't engage my attention to any extent.

Saturday Nights by Rainbow Stripes
The first chapter is okay. The writing is decent, and the Ianto/Tosh friendship bits are pleasant. Then things head downhill, as the second chapter's rambling author's notes warn for "slight Gwen Bashing." Well, you know what? Aside from lousy punctuation, Gwen bashing was one thing I really, really did not want to see in any of these stories. And here it was, early in the category. Wonderful! In this second part, Tosh and Ianto play Mario Kart Wii, watch Grey's Anatomy, and get in a few digs at Gwen. The third piece includes a trip to a bowling alley and a lot of talking. This fic isn't actively bad (except for the bashing), but it is boring.

Slipping Through by totally4ryo & gracie_musica
This story is a FAKE/Torchwood crossover. The premise is that the FAKE characters think Torchwood is a TV show with actors playing the parts, while the Torchwood characters think the FAKE characters are the false ones, as they come from a manga. I have no familiarity with FAKE and no particular liking for this type of plot. It might greatly appeal to FAKE fans, though. Also, the writing is good enough.

Footnotes by gracie_musica
Torchwood characters interact with characters from various Doctor Who novels. Each chapter is a complete story on its own, covering a different novel, which gives it an especially satisfying feel. The first parts are well written and entertaining, and I have enough interest that I'll probably go back and read the other chapters. Am not so sure it should count as a WIP, though, since each chapter forms a standalone story. If placed in a "series" category (there isn't one in this round of CoT), I'd give it serious consideration for a vote.

Voodoo Child by robling_t
Sequel to a long story I haven't read, so it was a bit confusing. Tosh, Martha, and Gwen are all pregnant, which will bring the Torchwood field team down to two members. Has some amusing lines and is written well enough. Fans who are familiar with this series might very well want to vote for this fic.

Tidings of Comfort and Joy by teachwriteslash
This story seems to be part of a massively long series in which "Jack and Ianto meet and become lovers before Canary Wharf." And here we go, another story with "mild Gwen bashing" in the headers. There are mentions of "Empath!Ianto" (he can sense Jack's emotions) and Gwen is compared to an annoying corgi. Also, the dialogue is punctuated incorrectly. One to skip.

Never A Silent Night by bookwrm89
Another sequel. It includes a "warning" for slash, though to be fair it also warns for angst and fluff. Maybe those elements could all be placed under the designation of "genre" instead? Getting back on track, in this fic, Jack and Ianto have a baby daughter and are about to spend their first Christmas together. Then Ianto and the baby disappear. The story is cute, fluffy, and written well enough, though Ianto is a little weepy for my tastes.

What Never Should Be by blucougar57
Gets off to a bad start in the author's notes, with an "OOC" indication. Luckily, the fic is much better than that notation might lead you to expect. It's an AU of what could have happened if Jack had refused to join Torchwood in 1899. He's held prisoner and tortured for the next 106 years. Then Ianto gets a job at Torchwood and is assigned to take care of the "freak." Interesting premise; the writing is very good. The characterization of Lisa grates, but a few of the original characters are pretty interesting. I read well beyond the first three chapters.

Out of Place by Galadriel1010
Crossover with CSI. No canon Torchwood characters appear in the first three chapters, but an OC does. Her name is Jasmine "Jazz" Donovan, and she looks like she's 17 years old but is actually old enough to have great-grandchildren. (Her character bio on this page reveals much more, including Jasmine's background in the Harry Potter universe as a Hogwarts student and Snape's adopted daughter, and the truth behind her immortality.) Mary Sue + incorrect dialogue punctuation + failure to place punctuation at the ends of many sentences + way too much talking = an odd first three chapters.

Belonging by never_more_cat
The Tenth Doctor visits Jack. Takes place after Exit Wounds and Journey's End. The story is written in first person, from Jack's viewpoint. While the Jack voice is not always convincing, it's mostly all right. The writing style is reasonably good, the author knows how to punctuate, and the first three chapters are decent.

Vampire!Ianto by missthingsplace
An AU. Jack meets a vampire who's killing Cardiff residents. The vampire's name is Ianto, and sometimes his eyes flash silver, "gleaming like the metal itself and sparkling like they were impregnated with hundreds of tiny diamonds." They make a deal; Ianto stops killing people, comes to work for Torchwood, and drinks Jack's blood for sustenance. He and Jack also have lots of sex. The dialogue is punctuated incorrectly, and this character named Ianto sounds nothing like the Ianto of canon.

Revelations by baka_sensei
Ianto's feeling insecure about his relationship with Jack. While on holiday in Venice with Martha, Ianto confides in her. For some reason, after they return home, Ianto has mysteriously become much more assertive and confident. He's also taken up smoking, though why this is supposed to be a positive thing, I do not know. Fluffy fic; the plot is slight, though it did make me curious as to what was going on with Ianto.

In Bits and Pieces by kel-reiley
A non-linear story. It skips around and plays with time enough that it's confusing at points, but the writing is often beautiful and lyrical. Characterization feels right, it covers lots of ground in an intriguing way, and many of the scenes are memorable. A strong contender.

Open Your Eyes by athousanderrors and maverick0324
Another AU, where Jack and Ianto are attending a boys' school. The action begins in 1936. Ianto's nickname is "Petal," and he's afraid to play Hamlet in a school production until Jack encourages him. The characterizations are unconvincing, the dialogue is punctuated wrong, and I quickly lost interest in the plot.

Tale of a Time Agency by just_being_me08
In this AU, Ianto is a new student at the Time Agency and he meets Jack, who's an older student. Guess where this one is going. I like the Time Agency setting, though, and the story held my attention through the first three chapters. Pity that the author punctuates the dialogue wrong and uses ellipses to a distracting degree, not to mention incorrectly (too many dots, and the numbers of them appear to be random, at that): Well…..I……….He was at Poseidon last night is just one example.

Overall: My vote will likely go to What Never Should Be or In Bits and Pieces.

Sarah Jane Adventures: Fluff

MILF-Hunting by KBox
The good news: this story is funnier, more plausible, and more in-character than the last story of this author's I reviewed. Also, even if I am awfully tired of the MILF acronym, at least this story didn't squick me the way the previous one did. The bad news: quite a bit of dialogue is mispunctuated; the story contains awkward constructions such as "Luke failed to register her discomfort, and continued expositing as enthusiastically as ever"; and more critically, this is crack, not fluff, at least in my opinion. It isn't the author's fault it was nominated in this category, but if you want to vote for fluff, this isn't it.

...And Things That Go Bump in the Night by Aeshna
Previously reviewed here. Again, I'd call this crack (or cracky PWP) and not fluff.

Our Secret by Cosmic_llin
Now this is fluff, as Sarah Jane runs into Chrissie Jackson and ends up bonding with her. Chrissie isn't always a sympathetic character, but she is here, thanking Sarah Jane for saving Maria's life and explaining why she always called Sarah Jane the wrong name. Light and sweet, and I wished it had been a little bit longer.

The Still Point by eponymous_rose
A beautifully written ficlet where Sarah Jane and Alan talk about their children and the wonders – and terrors – of seeing the universe. The prose is dreamy and lyrical, the character voices are spot-on, and after reading this story, I wished the show had given us a scene like this.

And When I'm Introduced To One by Maymargaret
This is a delightful story in which we see Sarah Jane's team in the past, present, and future through Harry Sullivan's eyes. Maymargaret has a perfect handle on the character voices, especially Harry's. I really, really wish the author had run this by a beta, though, because it's missing several commas and contains the sort of typos that slip through spellcheck ("wouldn't in its self"), as well as numerous capitalization errors ("Pizza"?!). Please, authors. It's not that hard to find someone to review your work.

Keeping Up With Sarah Jane by Maymargaret
This story predates the other one by the same author, and their plot and theme are very similar. Here, Harry meets Luke for the first time and comes to terms with the idea that his old friend has a son – and not just any son, but one who doesn't officially exist, and has already helped save the world. Because this story doesn't switch between time periods the way the author's other story does, "Keeping Up With Sarah Jane" feels more unified and direct. Unfortunately, it still suffers from missing commas and a comma splice here and there.

Fire and Ice by Settiai
Sarah Jane and Alan Jackson grow a little closer while under alien attack. It's a cute story with just a touch of humor, everything I look for in a good bit of romantic fluff.

Late Night Phone Call by koshiroryuu
I started giggling early on in this story and didn't stop until I reached the end. It's a 3am phone call from Maria to Sarah Jane – Maria's been studying at Cardiff University, and has obviously encountered a very old acquaintance of Sarah Jane's. Fizzy, delightful fun.

The Holly and the Ivy by SadieFlood
Much as I loved this story, I'm reluctant to call it fluff, since there's real dramatic tension here: will Maria and Sarah Jane survive trapped in a car in the middle of nowhere, with the temperature dropping and snow starting to fall? The interspersed vignettes that describe their Christmas preparations are more light-hearted and touching, and had the story consisted just of those elements, I'd say it was right for this category. That aside, even if the story doesn't quite work as fluff, it's a beautiful character study.

The Doctor and Clyde Go Adventuring (or, Don't Drink the Water) by Purple_bug
Does exactly what it says on the tin: Clyde and Ten wander an alien pub and shopping mall, get into trouble, and have to run for their lives. The Doctor feels more fully developed here as a character than Clyde, but that doesn't really detract from the story.

Memo to the BBC: please make Clyde the next companion, okay?

Not Everything About Growing Up Has To Involve Aliens by Paperclipbitch
This was terribly cute Clyde/Luke about their romance and first time together. I'd have given this one top marks if the formatting hadn't driven me nuts: I couldn't tell if the italicized words in practically every sentence were a deliberate attempt to mimic Clyde's interior monologue or just overenthusiastic emphasis, but either way, it was annoying as hell.

Overall: Many good choices here, even if they aren't all really fluff. I'm torn between The Still Point and Late Night Phone Call.

New Who crackfic

Journey's End in Crap by Sinecure

This was written in IM.  You can tell by the fact that it's not very good.  (Also, the author says as much in the notes.)  I'm quite surprised this made it past the Teaspoon mods.

A Plan With One Obvious Flaw by Netgirl_y2k

Donna is now part-Time Lord.  Donna is a woman.  The Doctor's read the Book of Genesis, he knows how this goes.  This is the perfect crackfic, right down to the last line.  I loved it.  There were a couple of bits where the punctuation was dodgy (“But we saved your village.” Donna objected. Is the "Donna objected" meant to be a new sentence, because if so, it's just kind of hanging there.  If it's not meant to be a new sentence, that should have been a comma after "village".) but that was forgivable, because this is otherwise so good.

Maturity by Orange_crushed

Handy and Rose grow old disgracefully.  This is funny and touching, and really good.

That Takes The Cake by Woffproff

Useful fact: an ellipsis is three dots: "...".  In some countries, if an ellipsis ends a sentence, it should be four dots -- that is, an ellipsis followed by a full stop: "....".

An ellipsis is not five dots, six, eight or ten dots.  That's just a row of dots, and very annoying, too.

Anyway, this is about Donna offering the Doctor some cake, and the Doctor being a pig.  The comic timing was off, and it left me rather cold.

Bouncing by Kathryn Andersen

The Doctor meets Tigger.  This is very, very short, and a bit on the twee side.  But I'm biased by the fact that I loathe Winnie the Pooh and his motley associates; if you like A. A. Milne, you'll probably enjoy the author's accurate recreation of his tone and style.

Chewing Gum by Elfgirljen

The Master objects to the Doctor's TARDIS-repair methods.  This was only slightly amusing, and left me rather cold.

Quake With Fear by Rickmaniac101

I believe this is a Doctor Horrible crossover, but as I'm not familiar with that source, I'm not sure.  I am sure that this isn't very good.  Once again, there's no comic timing, and not a lot of laughs, either, despite the farcical situation.

Doctor Who, Broadway Style! - The Sound of Music by Azriona

My least favourite fic genre ever (the filk fic), crossing over with my least favourite entertainment genre (the musical) and my least favourite musical (The Sound of Music).  It's all going adequately well until suddenly we hit the musical Moffat-bashing, and the exercise becomes unbearable.

A Rather Odd Couple by Rosa_acicularis

A Handy/Rose fic with great dialogue, perfect timing and -- it's just perfect.  I've read it before, but I'm glad I got to read it again.

Blessing and Blessing by cordelialear

The Doctor and Rose are imprisoned (again) by aliens who want them to have sex.  That's a trope that has been parodied before, and better, but this is mildly amusing.

And now, a brief announcement: As paksena/ladys_paladin is dealing with hir bannination by going anon and frankly annoying us, we've switched off anon commenting for now.  Apologies to the regular anon-types.  If it's possible to ban someone by their IP address, please tell us how (in small words, please) and we'll do that instead.

New Who: Classic fic

Belle De Jour by Chase820

A post-GitF fic in which the Doctor and Rose were sort of in a relationship before the episode, and now Rose is dealing with the consequences of his interlude with Reinette.  This is well-written, but problematic: the Ten/Rose relationship borders on abusive; there are a lot of classist asides, some but not all of which can be attributed to Rose's unreliable and self-loathing narrative; Rose is unrecognisably pathetic; the Doctor is just plain unrecognisable; and the whole exercise is unpleasant.

Necessity by KerrAvonsen

An AU from "Bad Wolf" where Rose takes the slow path to saving the world.  This has some amazing ideas, and a firm belief in Rose's capacity for brilliance.  It's marred by phonetic dialogue, and an historical allusion that no one outside of Australia is likely to understand.  But the ending is both extraordinarily silly and powerful, and had me doing a small dance of triumph before I moved on to the next fic.

Six Months in Croydon by Orianna2000

Ten and Rose wind up in on a planet where Pride and Prejudice is a sacred text.  This has the problem inherent to all plot-lite shipper fics: unless you, too, ship Ten/Rose, you're going to find it unspeakably dull.  However, it's well-written and slightly amusing in parts.  Just not my cup of tea.

The Greatest of These by dark_aegis

Rose ends up in an alien gulag.  This is well-written, but the violence made me uncomfortable, and I couldn't finish it.  Phonetic dialogue was my only stylistic issue with the chapters I did read.

The Judas Series by Wendymr

Now-AU version of the Doctor's reunion with Jack, in which they argue a bit, then ditch Martha and go off to get Rose.  In the hands of a less-skilled author, this story would be as awful and cliche as it sounds, but Wendymr writes every character sympathetically, and she has a good ear for dialogue.  The relationship between the Doctor and Jack is satisfying in its complexity; I don't believe that Martha would have gone off as easily as she's written here, but that's just a quibble.

Of Lessons and Laughter by Eyra

Crackfic where the Master has to teach the Doctor how to laugh an evil laugh.  This is amusing but insubstantial.

Cheating Time by Dark_aegis (Gillian Taylor) and Wendymr

The Doctor, bereft after the events of "Last of the Time Lords", cheats a bit and goes back to stalk his younger self and Rose.  Then he succumbs to temptation and takes Rose with him, and then the problems really begin.  This is a good fic, well-written and characterised.  One annoying quibble: the link from CoT goes to LiveJournal, and finding one's way from the first to the second chapter requires a bit of thinking.  (Hint: use the tags.) 

Mendelian Inheritance by mercurial_wit

A lyrical, grim fic about the Doctor and the Master, Time Lords, biology and sex.  It just has one minor flaw: there is nothing in the author's notes or header to even hint at the pairing.  Otherwise, it's a tiny piece of narrative perfection, and I loved it.

Seed Pearls by HonorH

Post-"Doomsday" fic where the closing of the rift causes Rose's memories of her original universe to fade.  The dialogue is a bit stilted, and Rose's is (as happens so often) inconsistently phonetic.  It also features the funniest lines I've ever encountered in a sex scene:

“Bad Wolf,” John growled into Rose’s ear.

And she howled.

Despite those problems, it's not a bad fic, just deeply mediocre.  At one point, the author features the Eighth Doctor, despite a note saying she knows nothing about him.  Reader, I facepalmed.

Acceptance and Loss by Ponygirl

An examination of Jack's relationship with the Doctor and Rose.  Well-written, plotty, and well-structured.  I really enjoyed it.

I Ching by Aibhinn

Another fic where Jack and the Doctor are reunited, Martha is summarily dispatched (is it oversensitive of me to cringe at the adjective "dusky"?  It smacks of exoticism and othering) and then they go off to find Rose.  This is well-written and nicely executed, but I feel like we've seen it all before.  Also, if I may offer a Brit-pick, the references to Rose's university education are very American -- true, this is the alt-verse, but since Rose seems to take the system for granted, it doesn't convince.

Odd Jobs by DameRuth

The author's note indicates that this is part of an AU series in which Nine never regenerated, and he and Jack and Rose are in an emphatically-bonded relationship.  This is a brief, eventless story about Rose having menstrual cramps, and Jack comforting her by telling her about his pregnancies.  Which is nice, if you like that kind of thing, but I have never developed a taste for either cramp!fic or mpreg, so it left me rather cold.

Back To School by Who_la_hoop

The Doctor dresses Rose in a skimpy school uniform, and they go into an empty school and engage in a little roleplay.  Which is a solid premise, given the amount of time Classic Doctors spent with companions dressed in school uniforms (okay, Romana and Turlough, but still...), but the execution here falls flat.  One might even go so far as to call it seedy.  The sex itself is missing some commas.

Shades of Grey by Malaleen

One day, I may write meta on the presence of the male gaze in fanfic written by and for a female audience.  Rose is annoyed with the Doctor's mixed signals, so she dons a revealing outfit and prepares to go out to Shareen's costume party.  The Doctor objects.  This fic contains a mass of troubling gender issues -- Rose is a tease, the Doctor becomes aggressive -- and an annoying and unnecessary moment where the author takes pains to mention that the Doctor and Romana were just friends, because despite what you may have seen on screen, they had totally incompatible ideas about being Time Lords, and Rose is the first companion he ever loved, and --

Well.  It's just not a very good fic, and the fact that the author needs to trash another ship in order to make hers look better is just the icing on the cake.

Diamond Sea by Whochick

The Eighth Doctor (and friends) turns up in the alt-verse, just in time to avert some invasions.  This is quite good -- it's well-written, and it's nice to see Eight's companions getting a look-in on some of the Eight/Rose action.  Fitz and Eight aren't remotely slashy enough, but it's not a bad fic at all.