More Sentinel Recommendations.
Remember what I said about being surprised about having
so many Sentinel recs? Well, okay, no longer surprised.
There's something downright *soothing* about Jim and Blair,
even when the stories themselves aren't soothing at all. I choose not
to examine that too closely.
Older Sentinel recs can be found here.
Page updated June 15, 2003 with one new rec.
Julad and Calico: The Wrong End of the Story
Creepy, wild, fabulous and terrifying. A walk through madness
in beautiful language.
Personally, I would've preferred a darker ending, but we all know
grit kitty: Another Mode of Belonging
Oh, this made me so. Very. Happy. Just... when kidfic works --
*really* works -- when an author puts the time and effort in to
making a family story work...
God, it just fills a *need*, you know?
And in this story, Jim never stops being Jim and Blair never
stops being Blair, and the kid is wonderful. Trust me. You won't
regret reading this.
I found the ending a bit abrupt, but since I thought it could be fixed
with the addition of one or two sentences (as opposed to, say, a
chapter), I don't count it as a problem.
Pares: Some Enchanted Leavening
Yet another I can't believe I haven't recced this yet yadda yadda yadda.
I mean, it has everything! Blair, exuberant bi slut bomb of academia
Jim, cranky softie who licks stuff! And is cranky! But a softie!
And beer! Lots and lots of BEER!
Really, what more do you need?
I've been in a Sentinel place just lately, so it's just a great *joy*
me to come across a story I hadn't actually read yet. And, well, it's
Des, so you know it's good.
I loved the conceit used for this fic, loved the utter *Blairness* of
it, and the way it manages to work through many of the collective
kinks of Sentinel fandom in a fresh, believable way.
Very nicely done.
Oh, man. How much do I love the way Helen writes Jim? He's
prickly and confused and in love and Blair is right there, battling.
Winning most of the time solely by being himself. *happysigh*
Yeah, this works. Have a quote:
"Sandburg, you canít just parade around with your hair and your
smell and expect me not to want it," Jim said, tired of lying
about it, tired of all the time he spent even lying to himself about it.
Just go read, you silly thing.
Francesca: In The Eye Of The Beholder: Audiotape
Now this was interesting. I'm always going to be a fan of Sentinel fic
focuses more on the issues that could possibly keep Jim and Blair apart
than how quickly a given situation can be manipulated to get them together,
and this used a rather uncommon one to good effect.
I really enjoyed and understood the Blair and the Jim in this story,
OC, while just a sketch, made for an excellent foil.
However, the themes of the story were more than a little jumbled, to
point where I wasn't sure what I was supposed to take away from it
beyond... well, see, there's the problem.
Still, it was a highly enjoyable read, it made me laugh out loud more
once, and the sex was stellar.
And: Nothing On
Have I recced this yet? How can it be that I haven't, if I haven't? *sigh*
God, a lovely character portrait, through the blatant, deft, and thorough
of ridiculously hot sex.
Where would we be without people who could do that?
Virginia Vaughn: Damned
Woo. And also, *eeek*. This story is a lot like being beaten when you
you deserve it, and secretly? Kinda want it, even though it hurts. Just one
blow after another, and all you can do is aim yourself toward the source,
asking (if silently) for more.
So, not a *happy* story, no.
But then, I have a thing for stories that fuck with the way things 'should'
whether they're wild AUs, or simply the path most people don't take with
the canon we're given. This story falls in the latter category, and while I
wasn't *completely* convinced of Jim's characterization, the style and
skill with while this was written more than made up for the little niggles.
And the last paragraph is a KILLER.
Helen: Restitution [HELEN! Get your site back up, please.]
Ah, Helen. Will we ever get her back from the wilds of boyband land?
sparkly young lads can be pretty seductive, you know. For now, those of us
who like our guys to be a tad less glittery can only look back and remember.
Restitution is written in a style I just adore, a straight shot into
the minds of
Jim and Blair, with all the awkwardness and stumbling that a real guy's mind,
that *those* guys' minds would have. It's brilliant, and I've aped her shamelessly
in my own work.
And since it's Helen, it's also funny as hell:
At first, he'd been irked at how easily they ignored him. He'd grown
to a certain response from women: he was in decent shape, and tall, and
not an obvious asshole. He'd thought that women liked tall. After being
confronted with the somewhat bewildering quantity of women who went
for Sandburg, he'd been forced to revise that opinion.
"Jim, it's. I'm okay. I'll be okay," and Jim hugged him again, closely,
Blair pulled back and said, "Are you gonna be okay?"
"Me, yeah, I'm fine."
"Not that the hugging isn't fine, but,"
"I just thought you might need a hug."
"You thought I," Blair knitted his lips together determinedly and then
said a little too solemnly. "can you repeat that?"
"I thought you," Jim started again, stopping when Blair burst into
"No offense man, but you are definitely not allowed to watch any more
But it's not *just* the funny. Helen has a knack for being ruthless
characters in wincingly realistic ways. Real life goes on and on and on,
mistakes are made, arguments are had -- messily -- and there's no
escape from any of it.
Because, well. You've gotta take the bitter with the sweet when it comes
to love, don't you?
Mairead and Aristide: Shadows and Light
I read a rec for Mairead/Aristide's erotica recently that described
something close to painful, as something as near to horror in its
pulse-pounding, mind-gripping, soul-wrending *power* as anything is ever
likely to get.
And I felt envy.
Because I hadn't thought of saying it first.
I *can't* be envious of erotica as good as hers, man. She gets the characters
just right, yeah, and that's the core of any good piece of smut, but... but...
The Cimmerians can make the rest of us -- the *best* of us -- look like
prudes in comparison. One of the reasons I'm so fucking *obsessed* with sex
is that I can *have* sex like this. Real and raw and hot and painful and mad and
terrifying and endless and more more MORE.
She takes me there.
And then she has the nerve to make language her bitch in passages like this:
Blair was already at the station when he got there. Jim endured the
first careful, questioning look, refrained from trying to interpret the
following silent nod, and settled into work. The lack of sleep left him
buzzing, drifting a little while things moved and shifted around him, a
grainy backdrop of unreality mis-set in the middle of some busy stage.
Simon's voice was too loud, Megan's too nasal. He retreated by degrees,
and eventually people stopped asking him what was wrong.
And always, there was Blair. At his side and in his mind and pulling
the blood in his veins, always Blair, Blair, Blair; tempo and aggregate
and totality of his own personal underworld. He was being sucked under,
except that somehow he knew that the drowning, the drawing had already
happened. It had happened years ago. This was no new news, despite the
fact that the sum of his body wouldn't stop tingling with the shock of
This story takes the best of the Cimmerian's often warring identities,
and light, the bitter and the sweet, to produce just pure *power*.
Shadows and light. Yeah.
Come back soon, baby girl. You're missed.
Miriam Heddy: The Sharper Edge
It's hard to find edgy fiction in this fandom done well, and while there
are perfectly understandable reasons for that, it's still a disappointment.
Luckily, we have writers like Miriam to prove the exception to the rule.
This story is a bitter little thing, jagged and harsh and unrelenting.
gets off easy, nothing is quite as it seems.
The ending has one of those vicious *kicks* I've come to adore over
years, too. About the only thing I didn't like is that it felt a little abrupt in
places, but overall?
Lanning Cook: Fear of Flying
*squee* I'd forgotten all about this little gem of a story. Lanning
guys in gloriously broad washes of color, using humor and perfectly on-target
banter to get to the meaty goodness inside. Have a quote:
"Youíre certifiable," Jim rasped, unable to resist a little thrust into
eagerly groping hand.
"Iím alive," Blair corrected him. He stroked Jim gently. "Weíre alive."
Jim buried his face in Blairís hair, breathing in the familiar, beloved
Blair had a bad case of faith. He always had, from the moment theyíd met,
and that still bugged the hell out of Jim, too, because Blairís faith was absurd,
and dangerous, and uncannily contagious. Jim gave up, drew a shaky breath
and humped shamelessly into Blairís hand, shoving Blair against the tree
trunk with each thrust. "Yes," he rasped. "Alive."
See people, I *love* it when writers use the smut to lay the characters
To me, that's what it's for.
*sigh* Lovely story.
All the surprises here are good ones, which is a little like ice cream
Sandy Justine: Writing on the Wall
One of the neat things about fandoms where the writing is, for one reason
not quite up to par, is that it leaves lots of spaces for *other* writers to step in and
weave a tale or two.
In this story, Sandy Justine tackles some of the mytho-religious elements
Sentinel with style and originality, against a backdrop of honest to goodness romance.
I'm in love.
Mallory Klohn: Kids Under Twelve Drink Free
I can't believe I haven't yadda yadda yadda.
I mean, this whole story is one big snerk. Hilarious
and fun and light and
sweet and marvelously in character and, well... yeah:
Blair peered at Jim over his shoulder. He had
a towel around his waist,
a towel around his neck, a towel slung over his arm, and he was using
a fourth towel to dry his hair. Blair thought about saying something,
but then he decided that Jim would just get dressed that much sooner,
and since there wasn't anybody else around to have impure thoughts
about Jim's chest, that pretty much left the job up to him.
(Blair hadn't known that real people sometimes
had chests like that
until the first time he'd seen Jim shirtless. He'd been dumbfounded, the
foundation of many of his beliefs shaken forever. First he'd wanted to
poke it somehow, just to be sure it wasn't some kind of granola
hallucination, but over the years, the poking impulse had transformed into
more of a stroking, caressing kind of thing. It had occurred to him to
try to develop a chest like that of his own that he could poke whenever
he wanted, but it just wasn't the same.)
See what I mean? Laugh out loud moments all over
the place. Dammit,
why can't she be more prolific?
Why, God, why?
Resonant and Kass: Origin
Good goddamn. Good *goddamn*. Blisteringly hot
and in character,
which you'd think would be damned near impossible with a line
"I have --" Blair swallowed and said very clearly,
"I have wanted this
Blair grinned at him, apparently aware that the
moment of crisis had
passed. "I mean it. I've been trying to figure out a way to get us here
for ever, man, though I have to admit none of my scenarios ever
involved a blindfold and a book of poetry. Jim, man, say something.
You look like somebody just punched you in the gut."
I don't want to spoil anything, but all I can say is... try. This. At. Home.
There's really no one like Pares for dosing romance
with realism and still
making it all *wonderful*. Sweet and hot and just... check the quote, eh?
Eventually, he stretched out and rested his cheek
against the small of Blair's
"Jim?" Blair murmured.
"Shh. I'm communing," Jim said.
And for five or ten minutes he merely let the
sea-steady wash of Blair's breath
rock him as he studied the curve of Blair's ass, the shadowed place where
the back bisected and a shallow channel split Blair's ass.
Eventually Blair's fidgeting became distracting
and Jim stroked his ass
"Are you done yet? I've gotta say, I'm starting to feel a little objectified, here."
*snicker* No mystical experiences, no weepy Blairbot,
just two guys, one
of whom happens to be a curious Sentinel, naked and well on their way to
Breath of fresh air, really.
What I really loved about this story, though,
was the progression through Blair's
relationships. I really do have a kink for happy het Blair. *g*
Merry Lynne: People Like You
Yet another story that should've been recced *ages*
ago. Hilarious and
*real*, a story that lets the guys be *guys*, and y'all ought to know by know
that *that's* something I'm not likely to get tired of anytime soon.
Here's a quote:
Coming out was probably taking that compulsion
to an unwise extreme, but
hell, I was on my fourth beer.
And he was asking for it.
"So you, you're not like just a parent or friend,
as such," he said, stomping a
little harder. "You're a lesbian or a g--"
"Yes, Blair," I said solemnly. "I'm a lesbian."
I love guys.
And I *love* horror.
Oh, do I *ever* love a good horror tale. Screw
romance, screw *screwing*. If
a writer can give me a shiver or two, I'm theirs. And Martha delivers the goods
with this long and satisfying tale of modern necromancy the old-fashioned way.
*g* Mmm, have a quote:
Blair closed his eyes. Somehow Susan must have
known he had already
surrendered, because she pressed the bloody cloth to his chest even before
Blair said Ross's name. He said it loudly, almost shouting, so all of them would
be sure to hear him. So they wouldn't hurt Jim anymore.
Everything seemed to move much more slowly this
time. He felt the slide of the
cloth over his shaved chest. The cloth was sticky and sodden with blood,
smearing the letters, unwriting the words. Somewhere deep inside himself, far
away in the secret places of his soul, he felt the loosening bonds, tethers
snapping one by one as each letter disappeared. When the last tether gave
way, he felt a crack as though his spine had been shattered, or his skull cracked
open wide, and everything he was rushed out into the place worse than oblivion.
The dark city knew him this time. Hell, he wasn't
a visitor anymore. This was
practically home. He felt a stretch, an accommodation, and realizing that he
was recognized in this No-when, No-where bent his soul. He howled without
voice, and when he saw the bright thread, he lunged after it. It was a way out
of here, and he did not care where it took him as long as it was away. He felt
a terrific pressure as he journeyed, squeezing and reshaping him, and he
realized suddenly the bright thread he held gleamed only with ichor and grue.
It was as warm and slick in his grasp as an unraveled intestine.
Then the wrench came once more, his body jerking
and twitching as he arrived
home. The return of sensation was more difficult this time. He felt the pressure
and weight of the blessed, ordinary world, but everything else was so strange
he wondered if he were still dreaming. He lay huddled on his side upon wet
stone or concrete, and he could hear the drip and rush of water, but nothing
else. There was little light, and he saw it reflecting off the water onto the smooth,
curving walls around him. He was sluggish and immeasurably tired -- no
surprise, considering -- but he was surprised to be alone. Where had everyone
else gone? Where was Jim? He opened his mouth to call, and felt something
spilling out over his lips. Fat white worms which splatted on the hard surface
under his cheek.
Maggots. His mouth was full of maggots.
Son of a bitch, Blair thought, beyond horror,
beyond any emotion at all. They'd
actually done it.
Okay, so maybe I'm having one of those inappropriate
the shrinks are always nattering on about, but you know what? I don't *care*.
This story was *marvelous*, I adored it, and if you like a good scare?
I think you will, too. *g*