The Scented Llama of Doom Best not to ask really...


Web Recommendations

This is a list of stuff that I’ve found on the web during my (extensive) travels. I’ve enjoyed all of things listed here but it might be worth mentioning that
a) I’m a geek and
b) have idiosyncratic taste.

Fanfiction Recommendations:

Fanfiction - works of fiction written by fans. 99.999% of it is terrible. The 0.001% that isn’t is surprisingly good. Ever wished a cancelled series was continued, a pair from a favourite show got together or that Harry/Bella weren’t complete idiots with negative IQs? This is the place to go…

Harry Potter:

The undisputed king of the fanfics - with so many of these being written it’s a hardly a surprise that some of them are really good.

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

The most popular Harry Potter fanfic on the internet at the moment. The setup: what if Harry was a genius? The author is genuinely smart (he’s an Artificial Intelligence researcher when he’s not writing fan fiction). Takes a few chapters to get going but once it does it should get you hooked. Now complete.

Harry Potter and the Wastelands of Time

Written by Joe Ducie who is now a published author. An Alternate Universe tale where Harry fails to stop Voldemort and makes a deal to go back in time and try again. And again. Stuck in a Ground Hog day loop Harry becomes a cynical, whiskey guzzling anti-hero determined to stop Voldemort whatever it takes. Manages to turn the rather mild magic of the original into something closer to epic fantasy. This is one of the best fan fics I’ve read.

Harry Potter and the Heartlands of Time

Sequel to Wastelands of Time. Still in progress. Sadly it doesn’t look like Joe is going to finish this one.

Harry Potter and the Natural 20

What would happen if a character from a Dungeons and Dragons game ended up in the Harry Potter universe? Milo Amastacia-Liadon is exactly that complete with D&D spells appropriate for his class and level, hit points and an ability to work out the plot. If you’ve ever played an RPG, read the The Order of the Stick and like the Harry Potter books you’ll love this…

Renegade Cause

A Crime/Political thriller. A dark, gritty portrayal of the Harry Potter universe with a tangled plot and quite a bit of violence. Trigger Warning: Occult themes and one disturbing sexual assault scene.

Criminal Limit

Sequel to Renegade Cause. Hasn’t updated in a long while though so it may have been abandoned.

Oh God not again!

A delightful Harry Potter as Mary Sue parody. Had me in stitches. Probably the funniest Harry Potter fic I’ve ever read… (Warning - that’s a TvTropes link).

Twilight:

I’m not a fan of Twilight - these were recommended in the author’s notes for Methods of Rationality. Takes the series in a completely different direction. The author, Alicorn, managed to write +- 4000 words every few days like clockwork until they were completed. Staggering.

Luminosity

Starts with the premise that Bella isn’t an idiot and continues from there. Tries to follow the original Twilight characterization as much as possible but turning Bella into an actual character means it veers off early and ends up being almost unrecognisable after approximately one chapter. Thank God.

(Btw: The title is actually a name the author uses for “Becoming Self Aware”. She has written about the concept here)

Radiance

Sequel to Luminosity. Alicorn manages to one-up all the Harry Potter authors by actually finishing a sequel. This one explores the Twilight world in more detail and I was surprised how much potential the setting has.

Peter Pan:

A Hundred Years Ago

Short story about the origins of Captain Hook. Sad.

Sherlock Holmes:

A Study in Emerald

An HP Lovecraft/Sherlock Holmes crossover by Neil Gaiman (of American Gods, Stardust, The Sandman, and Good Omensfame). Won the 2004 Hugo award for best short story. Really helps if you have a bit of background with H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu mythos and you need to know some minutiae of Sherlock Holmes lore to appreciate the twist.

Firefly:

Testing

Any fan of Firefly would appreciate this. A stream-of-consciousness piece that gives us a look into River’s mind. There is no getting better. There is only getting different.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

I know, I know. Grown men and kid shows shouldn’t mix. To be fair, I do have 3 daughters so this shouldn’t be too surprising… I hope…

Interestingly enough I’d say the pony-fiction on the web is second only to Harry Potter in terms of quality (although I’ve yet to try some popular fandoms…). Also it’s the only fandom I know of where you can find things like this.

Memories of Those Friends Who’ve Gone Before Us

While Harry Potter tends to inspire novel length pieces MLP:FiM has some wonderful vignettes. This is one of them. The author gives us a small slice-of-life story set right in the beginning of the pony canon that manages to feel like an actual episode and carry some emotional weight as well. Very well written.

It’s a Dangerous Business Going Out Your Door

I really liked this one. To quote one review: This story may not be perfect. But it’s better than a lot of stories that are. It’s inspired by Tolkien’s works but manages to keep the tone and innocence of the original show. Has some beautiful scenes.

Fallout: Equestria

A crossover between Fallout the computer game (one of my all time favourites) and My Little Pony. As completely crazy as that sounds this is one amazing read. It takes a while to get going and the fight scenes are a little overdone but by gum it’s one of the best epics I’ve read in years.

The Worst Bakers in Equestria

This is a guilty pleasure - the premise is completely absurd and it runs with it. Sometimes you just need some madcap humour in your life…

Background Pony

I loved this story but it has fans pretty divided. It’s best to think of it as a series where each chapter is an ‘episode’. Follows the story of a pony cursed to forever be forgotten.

Web Original:

Worm

Go read this now! Now! It’s one of the best superhero stories I’ve ever read. It has a complex plot, beautiful foreshadowing and intelligent characters. Better than a lot of ‘professional’ fiction. By far. I’m serious. Why are you still here?

Let’s Play Recommendations:

Let’s Plays are basically a record of some random dude playing through a computer game. As silly as that sounds some of them turn out to be quite entertaining.

IceWind Dale 2

This achieves something quite amazing - reading this is more entertaining than playing the actual game.

Resident Evil 4

Mercilessly mocks the game.


Web Comic Recommendations:

The Order of The Stick

Stick figure comic set in a novel Dungeons and Dragons world. Filled to the brim with geek humour, tangled plots and some genuinely poignant moments. Forget the Big Bang Theory - this is what happens when a real geek decides to do something special…

XKCD

A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.

PhD Comics

Geek humour again. Has a pretty narrow focus but anyone who’s been to ‘varsity should relate.

Paperinik - The Duck Avenger

Ever feel the need to relive your childhood but reruns of Duck Tales are too full of the damn nephews and not enough of Donald? The New Tales of the Duck Avenger are for you! In these Donald Duck has decided to become a super hero and ends up battling aliens and all sorts of bad guys. The best thing? No nephews. These were produced by Disney Italy (Paperinik is (sort of) Italian for Duck Avenger) and are far better than you might at first suspect. It’s like reading the good episodes of DuckTales and Dark Wing Duck rolled into one! It’s a pity they’re not more widely known.

Sinfest

Bit of a black comedy strip that touches on popular culture, religion, sex, ethics, pets and a lot else. Think of an R-rated vaguely Calvin and Hobbesesque pastiche (at least Monique and Slick remind me a little of Calvin and Hobbes - your mileage may vary). (Note: The style and humour changed markedly a few years ago and most fans agree that the quality went down).

Heavenly Nostrils

A Girl and her Unicorn. Again vaguely Calvin and Hobbesesque.

Ozy and Millie

From the same cartoonist who does Heavenly Nostrils (Dana Simpson). An earlier work not as polished as Heavily Nostrils but worth a look.

Digger

Just a fantastic web comic. The New York Times called it “a visually powerful strip” and it certainly is but that’s only half the story - the writing is incredible too. Read it.

Narbonic

Webcomic following the adventures of a mad scientist and her henchmen. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Project Skinhorse

By the same author as Narbonic (in collaboration with Jeffrey Wells of much fanfiction fame). Project Skin Horse is the name of a government department devoted to helping the U.S.’s non- and part-human citizens.

Stand Still, Stay Silent

Stunningly drawn post-apocalyptic adventure/horror.