It's Action/Adventure Theme Week at ER!

Title: Looks just like the sun
Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Dave Strider/Karkat Vantas
Categories: Dream Bubbles, Caliginous Romance | Kismesis, Flushed Romance | Matesprits, Quadrant Confusion, Blindness
Length: Medium (12,231)
Warnings: Underage, NSFW illustration

Author on LJ: [ profile] messageredacted
Author Website: favicon messageredacted

Author's Summary:
“Holy shit,” you whisper. Dave joins you at the window.
There are no stars left in the sky. Nothing but blackness and a faint soap bubble sheen.
“Is that a dream bubble?” Dave says.
And then it swallows you.

Now with an illustration by Renaris.

Dave and Kartkat get swallowed by a dream bubble and try to survive snow, lava, and Alternia's undead as they move through memories. Along the way, Karkat is blinded by Dave's dickishness decision not to give up his glasses, and Karkat has to depend on Dave to get him through.

Messageredacted is one of my favorite authors, and this time we get a hopscotch game of shifting lands, danger, banter, anger, vulnerability and suspense, all without slowing the action or seeming the least disjointed. This rolls along, and the dream bubble is the catalyst for a meaningful connection between two guys who'd rather lose a limb than open themselves to hurt or embarrassment.

There's a lovely illustration by Renaris; the dialogue is fantastic, and characterizations are spot on.

(If you love this like I do, I've also recced a much longer story by this author: rec for Land of Regrets and Second Chances)

Looks just like the sun

Dreaming in Binary by blackSparrow (PG-13)

  • Mar. 10th, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Title: Dreaming in Binary
Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Eridan Ampora♦Sollux Captor, Past Eridan Ampora♦Feferi Peixes, Past Sollux Captor♥Feferi Peixes
Categories: AU - No Sgrub Session, Helmsman Sollux Captor, Hurt/Comfort, Brainwashing, Copious Computer Speak, Space Pirates, Rebel Leader!Karkat
Length: Epic (51,774)
Warnings: Violence, minor character death, some body horror of the helmsman variety

Author on LJ: NA
Author Website: favicon blackSparrow

Author's Summary: Five sweeps after a powerful young psionic yellow-blood named Sollux Captor disappeared from his respiteblock, a certain violet-blood recruit boards the prestigious service of the Condesce's foremost battleship after taking out the )(eiress. That certain violet-blood proceeds to fuck everything up.

I'm fascinated by helmsman AUs but often too much of a wuss to read them. This one has its share of body horror and disassociation, but there's a steady progression toward Sollux 's recovery and bid for freedom that keeps this well within my limits. Plus Eridan is so turn-on-a-dime sulky, hopeful, selfish and heroic, that his campaign to return Sollux to being more than the ship's operating system is a joy to read. Partial success, paradoxically, makes things less bearable for Sollux as he comes to terms with the terrible reality of his situation. But the other trolls become more involved when there's an attempt to reach rebel leader Karkat to both warn him that the Empire has discovered the rebel base on Veridia and to make plans to free Sollux.

The characterizations are all beautifully handled; Sollux at the beginning is (rightly) more computer than troll, and the progression of his personality and subsequent feelings are bang on. Even characters like Equius and Karkat who have much smaller parts are just right. In fact the only problem I had-- and maybe I've missed some reasoning -- was that I didn't buy the rebels staying on Veridia. Granted, they're not sure they're talking to Sollux, but there are only 2 options: either the warning about Veridia comes from a friend, in which case they should leave, or it comes from an enemy who knows their location, in which case they should still leave. That aside, I had a great time reading this. It's got some beautiful character development, relationship building, action, and suspense.

Dreaming in Binary

Title: say you mean it, seal it up
Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Sollux Captor/Dave Strider, established Sollux Captor/Aradia Megido
Categories: Everyone's a troll, hurt/comfort, abusive relationship (not the pairings above), moirallegiance, matesprits, Bro Strider
Length: Medium (5,180)
Warnings: Fairly graphic depiction of an injury, abusive relationship

Author on LJ: [ profile] roachpatrol (no longer active)
Author Website: favicon roachpatrol

Author's Summary: “Daevit Stride, at your service,” he drawls. “Y’know, while we’re being so very courteous and polite in the course of these here introductions.” He kicks a foot up at you and you can see the cholerbear trap clamped around his leg, teeth sunk in through sneaker and jeans all the way to flesh. There’s a glint in the ragged depths of the shredded denim that you really, really hope isn’t bone. “Lend a hand, buddy?”

Dave's still brash and rambling as Daevit the troll. He's got a cholerbear trap dug into his leg, so he may not be at his most obnoxiously charming, but he keeps up the bravado when a bored, Wi-Fi deprived Sollux wanders out and finds him helpless in the grass near Aradia's dig site. Aradia's sweet and badass; Sollux is the smartass who will risk his life for someone he met today.

What you get is some prime hurt/comfort, dramatic rescue attempts, and calling an end to domestic violence (with Bro, who's an awful mix of life-threateningly abusive and determined to keep Daevit with him).

Even more importantly, you get roachpatrol's as-always-stellar dialogue and snarky details that make you feel like you're there... at Aradia's hive... in "The Great Lower Than The Great Mid South Continent Plains But Still Higher Than The Lower South Continent Plains Plains."

say you mean it, seal it up

MMObound by let2gotwoapplebee2 (NC-17)

  • Sep. 23rd, 2013 at 8:30 AM
Title: MMObound
Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Karkat Vantas/Sollux Captor
Categories: AU, Humanstuck, First time, Romance, Friendship, Humor, Gaming, Comic-con, Cosplay
Length: Long (18,262)
Warnings: Both characters are drunk, and one is very drunk (but very consenting) the first time clothes come off.

Author on LJ: NA (as far as I know)
Author Website: favicon let2gotwoapplebee2

Author's Summary:
Sollux Captor is 22 years old, a successful freelance web designer, and an avid player of the wildly successful MMORPG, Grubquest.

Karkat Vantas is 19 years old, a cranky CS-major freshman, and an avid player of the wildly successful MMORPG, Grubquest.

Sollux and Karkat are the worst best friends and one of the top player-pairs in the game.
In a month, they're meeting for the first time and it's exciting... and terrifying.

If you like your gooey center of affection inside a hard candy shell of profane snark, you should enjoy this. I'm troll obsessed, and Karkat and Sollux are my favorites, but with this being a nerdy human AU, anyone who likes the first blush of geek love could jump in and follow the plot.

Karkat and Sollux have a strong online friendship (and there's much use of chat and their typing quirks). They're smartasses most of the time, with exceptions like Karkat's hesitant coming out and Sollux's low point when he stops taking his meds. Though he's only three years older, Sollux is the one out in the world working, so he's quietly protective of his friend. Then they meet in person when they share a hotel room at a comic-con.

I love the places where bluster gives way to vulnerable affection and then swings back to bluster. My favorite scenes are at con, including the first evening at the hotel, Sollux's turn as a Sailor Star, the second night, and the morning after. I feel like there's a bit of a drop off after that, in the final two short chapters, but it wasn't enough to keep me from enjoying the heck out of this and hoping you will too.

MMObound (AO3)

Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Karkat/Terezi
Categories: Original animation and voice acting, film noir, frame story, romance, humor, AU
Length: Short (2 minutes)
Warnings: Technically none, although... major character death that isn't actually character death in the end due to plot twist

Artist on LJ: NA
Artists' Website: DW: Team Karkat<3Terezi (team_adorabloodthirsty) in the Homestuck World Cup 2013. Individual artist(s) currently anon.

Artists' Summary: A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets...

This original film noir animation makes me smile with stellar art, script, voice acting, sound effects and music timed to the action. Terezi is fabulously fun and in character as the private detective. I especially loved her riff on Karkat's scent and the slight echo on the beginning and in her 'evil laugh'. Karkat's great as the background rambling shouter whose Fresh Prince albums have been snatched.

All parts shine! I'm not sure whether the animator and the voice actor are the same person, but this is some great work packed into two minutes. When I think of all they had to do -- from drawing the images and writing the script, to recording and editing the final piece, I'm... pretty much tired just thinking about it. Seriously impressive.

(I originally posted a review of the voice acting at the new DW comm Podfic Love - a good place to look for podfic recs, or to rec one yourself.)


Space Bro by JumpingJackFlash (R)

  • Jul. 1st, 2013 at 8:48 AM
Title: Space Bro
Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Karkat Vantas/Sollux Captor
Categories: Post Sburb, Humanstuck, Group Amnesia, First time, Romance, Friendship
Length: Medium (10,961)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: [ profile] gomichan (original fiction archive)
Author Website: faviconJumpingJackFlash and on tumblr as JumpingJackTrash

Author's Summary:
In which Karkat Vantas is a surly ex-Marine who is absolutely for sure NOT a gray space alien, nor has he ever been a gray space alien at any point in his life ever, regardless of what this weirdo Sollux Captor claims when they meet in a bar one miserable Friday night.

Marvel at the beauty of the "universe-spanning bro-ship" that is Space Bro! After the game, the trolls are human on Earth, and only Sollux remembers their previous lives. He's been searching for Karkat for thirteen years, but the hard part is telling him the truth without scaring him off.

JumpingJackFlash is terrific at making you care so much about the characters that you find yourself leaning forward in your seat. The dialog's great, and the narrative voice is so very Karkat. He's blustering and funny and vulnerable at once. Sollux is hopeful but aware that he sounds like a fruit loop and that his years of searching may lead to a sad sack of nothing. I especially love the memory of their last moments before the universe ended and the way Karkat handles the realization that Sollux is more than a friend.

After you enjoy this one, if you're ready for more, there's an Eridan/Equius story set in the same amnesiac universe: California Dreaming

Excerpt under the cut )

Space Bro (AO3)
on tumblr
Title: Chasing Those Circles In The Ground
Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Eridan Ampora♥Karkat Vantas, Eridan Ampora♦Feferi Peixes
Categories: First time, hurt/comfort, action, romance, angst
Length: Medium (11,501)
Warnings: Violence, sexual violence

Author on LJ: [ profile] roachpatrol (no longer active)
Author Website: favicon roachpatrol

Author's Summary:
CA: oh my god really
CA: fuckin hell i shoulda got gillpox prevvious if that wwas all itd take for you to accept my standin invvitation to come and hang

Eridan is suffering through a case of the gillpox, so Karkat decides to come over to help out, and they meet face to face for the first time. Things are going pretty well, until Karkat does the seemingly impossible and catches gillpox himself.

I love all the twists and turns in this, getting whiplash as they switch back and forth from sweet to violent, for fear of what the other will do now that secrets are out. Semi-delirious but determined-to-live Karkat is perfect here, and for poor Eridan, gillpox are suddenly the least of his concern as he comes to terms with his flush crush being completely off the hemospectrum. I also love the way Eridan navigates between "Do we have to kill one another?" angst and "Can we make this work?" hopefulness. It's a suspenseful and emotional ride.

Chasing Those Circles In The Ground

Title: Land of Regrets and Second Chances
Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Tavros Nitram♥Gamzee Makara, Karkat Vantas♦Gamzee Makara, Feferi Peixes♥Sollux Captor, Equius Zahhak♥Aradia Megido, Nepeta Leijon♦Equius Zahhak and pairings that are spoilers: Terezi Pyrope♥Dave Strider, Eridan Ampora♥Karkat Vantas, hints of Eridan Ampora♠Sollux Captor
Categories: Post-Scratch, AU, Hemospectrum, Prejudice
Length: Super!Epic (110,931)
Warnings: Violence. Character Death (Details would mean major spoilers. If you prefer to know, please ask in comments.)

Author on LJ: [ profile] messageredacted
Author Website: favicon messageredacted

Author's Summary: Your wriggling day is in three days, and while you normally celebrate this event with the apathy it deserves, this particular sweep is different. That’s because it will be your eighth sweep, and it happens to coincide with the arrival of the imperial drones. This is a milestone that every troll looks forward to with a heady combination of excitement and terror. For most trolls, when they reach their eighth sweep, they become adults.

Not you.

When you reach your eighth sweep, you will die.

I got a little down when I finished reading this, because it was just so damn amazing, and I didn't want it to end. The plot is genius. Characterizations are incredible; I cared about everyone, for good or bad, crying at one point and laughing aloud at others.

Troll culture actively encourages prejudice, and they cull to create successively more bloodthirsty generations. Sometimes gentle Tavros and outcast Karkat don't hold grudges about cruel behavior, partly because the person who hurt them is acting properly by societal standards. It makes it easier to understand why Eridan, Equius and Vriska think as they do, instead of just writing them off (though I have rarely wanted to reach into my kindle and strangle someone as much as I did Vriska here.) It also makes selfless behavior even more moving.

Tavros and Karkat's desperate race across the grublands changes them both, and I love the contrast when they're in life threatening situations receiving texts from humans and trolls with far less deadly concerns. I've never loved Tavros as much as I do here; messageredacted shows the strength and endurance behind his gentle nature.

Feferi wants to change things, and as the heiress with Sollux at her side, she stands a chance... if Eridan doesn't ruin it. Karkat, Tavros and Sollux have to find ways to not be culled, with help from Gamzee and their friends. And on Earth, Jade remembers the game and discovers that Jack may not be gone. If he destroys everything, none of the rest will matter.

It all makes for can't-put-it-down reading, with suspense, sacrifices, humor, and social commentary. Relationships and storylines come together beautifully.

I know Homestuck isn't as quickly accessible as a fandom for which you can watch an episode and not be completely lost reading most stories. If you're tempted to read this but don't have a lot of Homestuck background, I'd suggest referencing the wiki about trolls, the hemospectrum, and relationship quadrants. This list of handles will help keep track of who's texting whom in TrolliianExiile/PesterChum, although you can usually tell from the context.

Land of Regrets and Second Chances

Title: Unwanted Free Ugly Troll
Fandom: Homestuck
Pairing: Gen
Categories: AU, Hurt/Comfort, Kid!Fic, Drama
Length: Epic (71,873)
Warnings: None

Author on LJ: NA
Author Website: favicon coldhope, and on tumblr as ceruleancynic
Artists: Various - credited in the chapter notes

Author's Summary: The first time you pass by the troll in the box you kind of try not to see it.

Hurt/Comfort and Kid!Fic: this story has it by the truckload. You don't have to know Homestuck to read it, because it's very AU (Karkat as a small child instead of an angry master of insults!)

Dave Strider passes a tiny, abandoned troll boy in a box in the rain. He brings Karkat home, and later, an abused troll, Sollux, arrives. Over time, the Strider brothers go from doing what they can for two trolls, to working for widespread social change on a level they never expected.

I'm not normally drawn to kid!fic in particular, but I couldn't put this down. Coldhope is a master of tugging at your heart, but the Striders' no nonsense attitudes and foul mouths, and a pitiably obnoxious adult troll (Cronus Ampora), keep this from turning into treacle, even though the brothers turn their lives inside out for two boys and a strong sense of right and wrong. Sollux's budding blackcrush on Ampora provides terrific comic relief.

I love that it's been illustrated by a variety of artists in different styles.

If you're unfamiliar with Homestuck trolls:
They're nothing like fairy tale or Harry Potter trolls. They're smart and look similar to humans, despite some noticeable differences, including horns and skin tone. Although there's a lot of canon info about their culture, anything that comes up in this story - like their 4 romantic quadrants and Sollux's blackcrush - is explained.

Unwanted Free Ugly Troll


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Length Guidelines

Short: under 2,000 words
Medium: 2,000-15,000 words
Long: 15,000-40,000 words
Epic: 40,000-100,000 words
Super Epic: 100,000+ words


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