Yuletide 2015
December 25, 2015 2:19 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday morning, fans all around the world woke up at the crack of dawn to eagerly open their gifts on the most important day of the year. ...Wait, what, I have to go do this "Christmas" thing? Sorry, I'm busy reading this year's new creations for the Yuletide Fanfiction Challenge (previously and previously). Yuletide is a Secret Santa fanfiction exchange that takes place every year around Christmas time. (Huge props to capricorn who posted an amazing 2013 Yuletide FPP that is the template for this one).

The basic setup:
1) "Nominate" media to be part of the challenge, whether that's a TV commercial, a popular sci-fi series, a cult favorite video game, or even...anthropomorphized planets.
2) List the fandoms you'd like to write and receive a story in, and the characters you'd like to write and read about.
Optional step 2.5) Write a letter to Santa with more details about your likes and dislikes to help your author craft a perfect gift.
3) Get your secret assignment.
Optional step 3.5) Panic.
Optional step 3.6) Get a volunteer beta.
4) Produce a story of 1000 words or more, in your recipient's requested fandom with your recipient's requested characters, by December 22nd.
5) Wake up Christmas morning and enjoy!

Of course, if the panic overcame you, authors always have the ability to throw in the towel and have their request picked up by one of Yuletide's thousands of dedicated pinch hitters, who will often claim a request in seconds. (Now moved to a closed mailing list) and a follow-up with Yuletide Madness, the last-minute archive.

Leading the pack of the early top-bookmarked stories is Hamilton haunting Burr.... sexily.

Looking for more? See this year's impressive output of over 2500 stories here, or sorted by fandom here.

And we would be remiss to let perhaps the most famous Yuletide fanfic of all go unmentioned. (Warning: story linked in article is possibly Not Safe For Anything.)

Further discussion and recommendations can be found at the Yuletide Livejournal community, and participants also gather in a Yuletide IRC channel to share the agony and the ecstasy that is Yuletide.

But maybe you didn't like your present this year? Got a rude response from your giftee? Or you're just in it to gawk at the inevitable drama (this year it was Nazi RPF...)? There's always yuletide_coal, an anonymous Dreamwidth community for the Grinches of Yuletide to commiserate about the coal in their stockings.
posted by dorothyisunderwood (29 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Awwwwwww yiss. There's Babysitter's Club gen fic, which is an occasional pleasure of mine, and a veritable embarrassment of riches for Brooklyn 99 and Check Please!, and a couple of Hawkeye Comics fics and also--OMG, someone wrote Hatoful Boyfriend fic!--and Hot Fuzz! And SO MUCH Rivers of London fic! And Road to El Dorado, and and and! RICHES.

Also, holy crap, Harry Potter was eligible this year? My, how the mighty have fallen.

It's maybe worth mentioning if you aren't familiar with Yuletide that a lot of Yuletide fics are gen, much more so than in general fandom or in other fests.
posted by sciatrix at 5:20 AM on December 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

The best part of Yuletide is the "I didn't know I needed this, but I really needed this" experience -- apparently this year for me, that's "Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton" futurefic. Huh.
posted by dorque at 5:43 AM on December 25, 2015 [5 favorites]

I'm intrigued that there are 11 fics about the 12 dancing princesses.

And 8 from Carry On!

Kate Nepveu just put out her 2014 recs, if you want to look back a bit.
posted by jeather at 5:48 AM on December 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nah, Harry Potter wasn't eligible -- it's just that people did crossovers or fusions with HP, and so it gets in the tags!
posted by lysimache at 5:53 AM on December 25, 2015

Oh, I couldn't tell from the post right away that this was specifically for rare fandoms. That's really cool!
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:33 AM on December 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Most fandoms get one or two stories each Yuletide. To the surprise of no one, Hamilton cleaned up this year with 57 pieces. (Kinda wish it had been fifty-one, but I'm not complaining)
posted by tzikeh at 7:46 AM on December 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've taken part in smaller holiday fic exchanges before (for Homestuck, the official trash fandom) and had loads of fun writing for them, but I had no idea there was one this huge. Definitely doing this next year.

also there are Culture fics holy crap!
posted by these are science wands at 7:54 AM on December 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's a fic for The Disaster Artist, and it's written from Tommy Wiseau's POV.

This is going to be the best Christmas ever!
posted by zorseshoes at 9:56 AM on December 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Surprised Dune qualified for this but you guys need to read this 10,000 word story with Actual Plot and Characterization, like, right now:

posted by subdee at 10:04 AM on December 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hurrah! I ended up on the pinch hit list this year kind of late in the game, but the author who picked up my prompt wrote me SUCH A NICE SWEET CHARMING STORY and probably the kindest author note anyone's ever sent in my direction. (It's a Carry On story which, fair warning, contains sexy bits.)

Would it be weird for me to crosspost my recs list here, once I have one? Cuz I...I kind of want to......?
posted by Narrative Priorities at 11:04 AM on December 25, 2015 [5 favorites]

I am going to brag and point out that I received Dept. Head Rawlings fic this year, and it is PERF: The Cake Pull Has Been Compromised.
posted by Sokka shot first at 11:05 AM on December 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm definitely going to dump my recs list here, everyone else should do the same. Going through 2500+ fics is daunting!

I too will brag and say I got an adorable Beck/Johanssen fic for the movie The Martian this year, and I'm delighted.

I've got so many tabs open right now, but I have to say, my "God, I love Yuletide" moment this year was seeing this Eartha Kitt/James Dean/Paul Newman fic, because oh my god. NSFW, obviously.
posted by yasaman at 12:00 PM on December 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

BRING OUT YER RECS. That's the only way I ever find anything good. (Hey there, long time listener reader, first-time caller writer...)

Here are my Goblin Emperor recs.

(I hope the Elemental Logic series makes it next year. I need to know more about Garland.)
posted by wintersweet at 1:01 PM on December 25, 2015

I didn't participate this year (restricted myself to one small fandom pairing secret santa) but I've been reading more widely than I usually do. So many cute stories for The Martian! A few for Ex Machina, which I just watched yesterday! A cute little Cormoran Strike and Robin story! A few Rivers of London stories to check out! I have the whole day to just sit and read and I'm going to enjoy myself.
posted by PussKillian at 1:38 PM on December 25, 2015 [1 favorite]

Besides the Dune one (you guys all dropped everything to read it, RIGHT?) there's a really great short Swordspoint fic where Alec is a visiting director and Richard is a fight choreographer in a summer regional theater camp; a nice evocative The Wind Rises story about Naoko making a painter friend in the sanitorium; and cute episodic stories for Natsume's Book of Friends and Princess Tutu.

(Beacause yeah, they're half tiny anime fandoms from 10 years ago, but the authors *nailed* exactly what was so great about those shows in the first place. Anyway, even if no on else cares I'll still have this comment here for my own reference.)
posted by subdee at 6:49 PM on December 25, 2015 [3 favorites]

I loved the mock This American Life episode about people who've traveled to other worlds. Totally nailed the Ira Glass voice.
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:06 PM on December 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

My Boxing Day tradition! I loooooove Yuletide! I have a baby this year, so I didn't read very many but the few I did read were GREAT as usual.
posted by Aquifer at 7:22 PM on December 27, 2015

All of the stuff for Mefi's Own jscalzi's Redshirts was terrific, but the Redshirts story Textual Poachers is amazing. It manages to be a pacy story worthy of the original, AND a love story, AND a meditation on fan fiction.

There are also three excellent fics for The Bone Key.
posted by pie ninja at 3:05 AM on December 28, 2015

Also, Accio Insurance is fun -- crossover between Allstate, Progressive, and Hogwarts.
posted by pie ninja at 3:06 AM on December 28, 2015

My first round of recs (please excuse the fancy formatting, I'm using the HTML I wrote for Tumblr...!)

Carry On - Rainbow Rowell

You’ll Be Mine & I’ll Be Yours
But the time that I feel belonging – the time when I feel safe, and grounded, and all that other stuff my psychologist likes me to find – that’s pretty much whenever I look into Baz’s eyes and see how he looks at me. I know. My life, which was supposed to be the greatest heroic epic saga ever penned, is now a pop ballad as told by Taylor Swift. But maybe that’s OK?
This fic just charmed the hell out of me from start to finish. It really captured the tone of Simon's voice, and was populated with so many clever funny details about Simon's life and his world and Magic and Penny and everything else. It let me spend a little more time with these great people and that's exactly what I'd hoped for when I wrote my request. It also respected Simon's traumas and difficulties — his strange catch-as-catch-can childhood and what happened in the White Chapel, as well as the aftermath of both that he's currently muddling his way through. I love that this is a story about Figuring Shit Out at his own pace, in his own way.
Note: this was written for me! How very lucky I am!

Old Dog, New Tricks
Agatha, San Diego, one year later.
A very sweet, deftly written glimpse into the new life which Agatha is building for herself. Featuring an OC for which I have genuine affection and a load of grin-inducing little details. I love that this is about Agatha setting boundaries, and making careful compromises with her own knee-jerk reactions, and just generally figuring out how to be the kind of person she wants to be, interacting with the Normal and Magic worlds on terms that work for her.

Ex Machina

She watches, silently. She waits, silently. When they meet again, she is not silent.
YES YES YES to robot ladies having each others' backs. I loved this exploration of Kyoko's inner life, her grim understanding of her own circumstance and her perspective on what transpired. I guess I’m just a sucker for short stories of staccato scenelettes!


Twenty years after Oberon's first Gathering, Alexander decides to bring the fight to the Lord of Avalon -- with some help from his friends, family, and adopted Clan. And Puck. With the mind of a Xanatos, the magic of Puck, and the courage of the Gargoyles, what could go wrong?
Someone wrote a 25,000 word Gargoyles fic for Yuletide this year and it is ACTUALLY QUITE GOOD????? This reads like one of the show’s better multipart series, hewing quite closely to the show’s tone and spirit as well as featuring the sort of mystery and twists and cleverness which makes the best episodes of Gargoyles so much fun. Like really, at the heart of things, that’s what I liked so much about this story: it’s FUN, and about kindness and created families, and absolutely dripping with sincere affection for every one of these characters. (FYI: if the wordcount is intimidating you a little, note that the main body of the story is actually only 16000 words long. The rest is made of up a series of related vignettes, many of which are charming but all of which are optional.)

The Goblin Emperor

(NOTE: I have so far only read a handful of the many GE stories written for YT this year.)

Heart’s Ease
Csethiro presents a gift to her granddaughter; master chef Ebremis recruits Csevet into an unconventional birthday scheme.
This is both a story AND a cookbook, so obviously I was 100% on board for this from the start. One of the things I love most about TGE is that, in many ways, it's a narrative of small kindnesses -- people trying to be decent to one another as they make the best of difficult situations. This story does an excellent job of preserving and expanding upon that feeling.

Further Extracts from A Handbook for Travelers in the Elflands
Published by the Press of the Crooked Stair for the Royal Merchants Guild of Porcharn
Remember that handy appendix at the back of the book, with all the in-universe explanations for naming conventions and forms of address and pronunciation? This fic expands upon it with sections on Cuisine, Clothing and Fashion, Art and Craft, Music and Theater, Literature, Religion, Courting, Sport, and Places of Interest. A seamless blend of canon and invention, and lots of fun.

Imperial Radch Series - Ann Leckie

A Life in Service
Of the three tenets of Radchaai civilization, Ettan had always clung most dearly to propriety, and she would do what was asked of her. It had not escaped her notice that this obedient streak might have something to do with her assignment.
The author describes this as “Scenes from the life of Kalr Five, pre-canon through the beginning of Ancillary Mercy,” but while accurate that doesn’t quite do this story justice. Like most of my favorite YT stories, this is a flawless expansion of one small corner of canon, and just…seriously, a DELIGHT to read. (In case you’re as bad with names as I am: Kalr Five is the member of Breq’s decade who’s moderately obsessed with tea sets.)

There was a plan: to locate the AI cores before the Usurper could, to return to Ship and form a plan to retrieve them. I was to succeed, or I was to die. Bodies are precious, now, but not so precious Ship could not afford to lose one segment, in pursuit of something this important.
A really excellent character study of Sphene, told in small bites. This story clocks in at exactly 1000 words but DAMN does it pack a lot of punch for its length.

Dark Watch
Something broke in her a thousand years ago, or maybe it broke when she came out of stasis. Maybe it was always broken and she just didn't know.
Another small character study. I’ve always found Seivarden a little impenetrable, and this helped me tease out a better understanding of where she’s coming from. Most of this story is a conversation between her and Mercy of Kalr, and I came out of it feeling flush with affection for them both.

Monument Valley

Ida, Walking
Do you remember the stars that we saw from the ground and we knew, if we looked at them from a different angle, we could draw a line to a fixed star?
A quiet prose poem of a story, which fits the canon quite well.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 2:33 PM on December 29, 2015 [3 favorites]

Two Monks Invent Fandom.
posted by wintersweet at 8:57 AM on December 30, 2015

Author reveals are in a few hours, so I should probably get some recs in before then. All my Yuletide recs are over at my pinboard, I will provide a few that I think Mefites might be interested in below.

The Case for Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
"Under radical discontinuity, society would have gone through considerable changes--political, social, and technological--that might impact existing knowledge bases, languages, and institutional controls and memory."
3.2.2 Assumptions/Bases
SAND92--1382. UC--721
Expert Judgment on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Kathleen M. Trauth, Stephen C. Hera, Robert V. Guzowsti

Yes, it's fanfiction about the report on Markers to Deter Inadvertent Human Intrusion into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

A Series of Optical Illusions
This is bait, but the best bait is the truth; there is no lie in Jack's arm around her waist, in his fingers tangled through hers.

Miss Phryne Fisher sets a trap, throws a party, and reconciles her differences.

Absolutely perfect Phryne/Jack Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries fic.

For Him I Sing

Owen teaches Sassoon how to mourn.

Melancholy and lovely little story about Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. The style is so assured, it feels like this is a free-standing excerpt of a longer novel.

Interval (Rise Up)
Secretary Hamilton, belay that shouting!
You protest too much, there's certainly no doubting
the other figments of your own brain would agree,
and so far there's been seven, plus me--but who's counting?

If you have any interest at all in Hamilton, you have got to read this fic.
posted by yasaman at 11:39 AM on December 31, 2015 [2 favorites]

So, the reveal happened....! Are folks feeling up to confessing their own contributions....?
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:51 AM on January 1, 2016

I never write for Yuletide (I'm not good under pressure), but I'm happy to share this truly fabulous Jane the Virgin story, in which Rogelio discovers he's the subject of an RPF pairing, and decides to do something about it: Rogelioban. The layers of meta on this go very, very deep.
posted by suelac at 5:35 PM on January 1, 2016

I wrote "Pops Real Nice", one of the two fics about the Mountain Goats song "Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton" this Yuletide. It's also about the Mountain Goats song "Animal Mask". dorque, I loved "Hail, Hail" too! I also like mine and hope you did as well.
posted by brainwane at 12:48 AM on January 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

I wrote I and Love and You (You Plural), a Nomi/Amanita Sense8 fic, and Thank You for Listening, a fic on the podcast Limetown's first season, from the producer's POV.
posted by yasaman at 5:01 PM on January 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Mine is Heart's Ease for The Goblin Emperor.
posted by wintersweet at 4:13 PM on January 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Somewhat belatedly, I wrote An Account of an Evening Aboard a Train, in which Certain Truths are Revealed, also for The Goblin Emperor!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 7:09 PM on January 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

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