Compiled by the Espresso Addict

Espresso Recommendations

Innovative and stylish fanfiction, showcasing the very best across multiple sf, fantasy & literature fandoms. Good writing in all its forms can be found here, including gen, het, slash, OCs, AUs, crossovers, future fics, humour & pastiche

Contents: 1010 recs in 235 fandoms; 65 links


Angel | Buffy the Vampire Slayer


Ang Nuo by Corinna

One of the best original character-focused stories I've encountered in any fandom: Brother Xiao is unobtrusive, yet interesting in his own right, and he provides an interesting perspective at a turning point in Angel's long journey. Highly recommended

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 6000-20,000; Angel]

As Time Goes By by Yahtzee

Take two great series, cross with one of the all-time classic films (Casablanca), add a seasoned writer and a bleak but believable background -- what's not to love? The characterization stays true to the series, even though the plot follows the film surprisingly closely. Yahtzee writes the AtS ensemble at least as well as the series writers do, and this is my very favourite of her output (AtS/BtVS/Casablanca)

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Angel; Crossover]

Blood & Water by Rheanna

'Since when do we run the Undead Red Cross?' Deftly executed adventure set after 'To Shanshu in LA', which feels just like a bonus episode

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Angel]

Blood Types by tkp

'When she opens her vein for you, she opens up an atlas.' Unusual Angel character study which focuses on his vampiric nature, with rich poetic writing. Some vignettes are stronger than others, but there are novel insights to be had

[Added 10/02/2011; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Angel; Adult]

Captive of the Soul by Yahtzee

Among my favourites of Yahtzee's prolific 'Angel' output, set after 'To Shanshu in LA'

[Added 08/07/2004; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Angel]

Cigarette Break by Christina Kamnikar

'But as most wage-slaves instinctively know, appearances and attitudes hardly matter after a few crises. In the place where the pair actually existed, crises were daily fare, while the trivial appearances were subject to change without any real notice.' A highly unusual conversation piece, set post-'Reunion'

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 2500-6000; Angel]

Crave by Rheanna

'He felt hungry when he woke up. He always did.' Rheanna writes AtS as well as any of the series writers, and this novella is among her best

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Angel]

Fault by Ins

'Buffy imagines, in slow and intricate procession, all the ways he can die now.' I've read a number of stories centering around this premise, but I think this was the first, and is the best (BtVS/AtS)

[Added 28/01/2004; Drama; 1000-2500; Angel]

Fitter Happier More Productive by Zara Hemla

Five things that might happen to Connor. Funny, clever & heart-rending by turns, and I didn't even like Connor!

[Added 28/01/2004; Character Piece; 6000-20,000; Angel]

The Girl in the High Castle by Mosca

'They're not here to win the war; they're here to hold the line, to gain the advantage, to put the right things in the wrong shells and fight the laws of thermodynamics.' This Season 5 AU picks an interesting point to diverge from canon, and develops a believable Fred voice

[Added 01/06/2005; Drama; 2500-6000; Angel]

Gore-met by Jennifer-Oksana

'Sometimes I think that there should be strawberry-flavored blood.' Jenny-O really nails Harmony's voice in this funny, poignant character study

[Added 20/03/2006; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Angel]

Honour by Roz Kaveney

'Not making ancient demon godthings like they used to, clearly.' Set after 'Not Fade Away', 'Honour' is one of the best stories I've encountered that attempt to look into Illyria's head; Roz not only nails her attitude, but also pays attention to her nature, her history, her Fredness. All that plus a very cute bonus of an ending (AtS/BtVS)

[Added 02/11/2004; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Angel]

I Really Don't Like Mondays by Booster

'New temporary mail guy turns up. Pros: Does not wear a mask and push me through windows. Cons: Really, really should wear a mask and attempts to stab me with Dagger of Yenal.' This laugh-out-loud tale of an ordinary day at Wolfram & Hart is chockfull of priceless little details

[Added 13/08/2004; Humour; 2500-6000; Angel]

In the Waiting by Rheanna

'I got junk mail, and sometimes I got parking tickets; I didn’t get kidnapped. I felt like a movie extra who has suddenly and unaccountably become part of the main plot.' Lovely example of a story seen through the eyes of an original character

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 6000-20,000; Angel]

Itsy-Bitsy Teeny-Weeny Purple-Puppet Angel Penii by Willa

'He's just not feeling...himself, today.' Completely plausible & utterly hilarious

[Added 09/08/2004; Humour; 2500-6000; Angel; Adult]

A Letter from Screwtape to Mr. Holland Manners by HonorH

A peek at Angel's destiny, from the other side. It's a straightforward crossover, but HonorH rewards the reader with abundant black humour & bags of insight into issues that were often ducked on the show. A real classic (AtS/CS Lewis)

[Added 08/06/2005; Humour; 1000-2500; Angel; Crossover]

Lost in the Supermarket by Lint

'"If you behave yourself," he offers, "I'll let you push the trolley." ' It's a bit rough around the edges, perhaps, but this quiet piece is well worth a try for its plausible characterisation of Illyria

[Added 09/08/2004; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Angel]

Noggin and the Vampire by Speaker-to-Customers

'I have told you how Thor Nogson, Captain of the Guard, found a stranger washed up on the beach and took the stranger to Noggin, King of the Nogs. You have heard how the stranger revealed that he was Spike, the Good Vampire, from Los Angeles in far Vinland, magically exiled to the Northlands by the evil Wolfram and Hart.' If you need any further encouragement to run to this charming crossover, Speaker-to-Customers milks the culture clash between Spike & his hosts expertly, and there are a few bonus crossovers at the end (AtS/Saga of Noggin the Nog)

[Added 25/08/2013; Humour; 6000-20,000; Angel; Crossover]

The Periodic Table of Wesley by Dana Woods

'Cadmium bars scream, too, when they're bent.' I've never been quite sure that this short captures Wesley's character, but it's worth a try for the Fred voice alone, one of the best I've encountered

[Added 25/05/2012; Character Piece; <1000; Angel]

Poppies are the Colour of Blood by Cas

An interesting window on Angel's history: plausible, beautifully detailed and completely heart-rending

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 6000-20,000; Angel]

Second Hand by Kita

'Spike the vampire bard, keeper of handed down tales no one else wants.' This insightful coda to 'Not Fade Away' draws parallels with 'The Gift'. Kita's work will be familiar to all AtS readers, but I think 'Second Hand' may be her best yet (AtS/BtVS)

[Added 13/06/2005; Drama; 6000-20,000; Angel; Adult]

Seven Virtues from a Broken Hill by Minim Calibre

Seven virtues, seven drabbles & one hell of a great summary of just how far Wesley's travelled

[Added 28/01/2004; Character Piece; <1000; Angel]

Shaken, Not Stirred by FayJay

An inebriated Wesley, perfect pacing, gorgeous details and great dialogue -- what more could a gal want?

[Added 28/01/2004; Drama; 2500-6000; Angel]

Termination by Yahtzee

'They say that evil is only the absence of good, but they lie. I feel it now, settling back over me, and it warms me in a way I haven't felt in way too long.' Set during 'Calvary' in season 4, 'Termination' oozes round the episode, featuring pitch-perfect characterisations, a couple of neat plot twists and some white-hot sex

[Added 12/02/2004; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Angel; Adult]

These Reasonable Taboos by Glossolalia

Glossolalia has captured Connor's inner voice incredibly well, as he tries to remain true to himself in the moral maze that is LA. Highly recommended

[Added 12/02/2004; Character Piece; 6000-20,000; Angel]

Things Left Undone by Minnow

Twelve vignettes about things left undone after the Angel finale. The best piece I've seen to follow 'Not Fade Away' without taking away from the episode's impact. Some of the pieces are more interesting than others, but the whole is definitely worth a try

[Added 02/11/2004; Drama; 6000-20,000; Angel]

Vivere by Rheanna

One of the most interesting takes on Angel's shanshu that I've read. Rheanna's stories never fail to delight, and 'Vivere' is probably my favourite

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 6000-20,000; Angel]

William the Bloody Useless and the Beaker of Doom by Roseveare

A lovely early Wesley and a great pissed-off Spike voice combine to make this story compulsive reading (AtS/BtVS)

[Added 28/01/2004; Drama; 2500-6000; Angel]

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Campfire Tale for the End of Days by Stultiloquentia

'So. A very long time ago, Demons walked the earth. Stomped, also. Flew. Slithered, swam, percolated, oozed.' This clever take on the First Slayer legend packs a surprising amount into its brief span

[Added 27/07/2005; Drama; 1000-2500; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Dead Man Blues by Elsa Frohman

By no means your usual Spike history-fic, 'Dead Man Blues' gives a peek at a possible Spike in the 1920s, with resonances for the Spike of the 2000s. There's also a decent twisty plot, a host of interesting original characters and some rather out-of-the-ordinary settings

[Added 12/02/2004; Drama; >50,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Dig for Victory by Nostalgia

Surprisingly few Buffyverse authors care to explore the wealth of past slayers and their stories. Nostalgia's interesting vignette is a welcome exception, and Iris is a realistic past slayer whose plight is moving, despite the brevity of the piece. More past slayers can be unearthed at the History Lesson archive

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 1000-2500; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Five Things The Chip Was Never Marketed For by Josey

'"I understand," she said, "but would you hurt a poodle because a mastiff once savaged you?"' A disturbing look at the evil that humans might do in the Buffyverse. Not for the faint at heart (BtVS/AtS)

[Added 26/09/2014; Drama; 2500-6000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Foreign Devils by Indri

'She is motion and she is fury: she is the warrior of the people.' The tale of the Chinese slayer from 'Fool for Love'. Indri's vision is so convincing it feels like canon

[Added 20/03/2006; Drama; 2500-6000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

The Giles and Spike Collection by Lori

An inventive novel-length AU series, spinning off after BtVS Entropy, set mainly in London. Starts with Giles & Spike, and spirals out from them to add other Buffyverse characters. It's rather 'shippier' than my usual reading, but the ships are more-than-usually plausible, the characterisations are invariably interesting, and Lori adds action to the mix in similar proportions to the later BtVS episodes. Highlights include that rare creature, a well-written Dawn, in 'Every Day I Write the Book', and a more-than-usually interesting Big Bad in 'Waiting on a Friend' (BtVS/AtS)

[Added 12/02/2004; Drama; >50,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

A Girl Made From Sky by Doyle

'She wasn't a person, then; the idea of her flickered and flared at the edges, and she sat quietly on a cloud as the monk made paper dolls. He had a pair of very shiny scissors, and he would snip the girls (for they were almost all girl-dolls) right from the sky and whisper secret words to them that gave them life.' It's hard to write key-Dawn, and Doyle does a good job of capturing the particular brand of Buffyverse weirdness in this dreamlike snippet (Sandman crossover)

[Added 13/12/2018; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Crossover]

A Good Man by Indri

One of the very best renderings of William I've encountered, and Indri has clearly done her research on 1880s London

[Added 09/08/2004; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Into the Blue by Ascian

'Don't you know by now that running away never solved anything?' Interesting fragmentary structure & nice bleeding together of worlds in this 'Normal Again' AU

[Added 20/03/2006; Drama; 6000-20,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Jigsaw by Perri Smith

'History is linear, straight, arrowing from nowhere to infinity. It can't just start, wham, right in the middle.' A little piece in the puzzle that is Dawn Summers

[Added 20/03/2006; Character Piece; <1000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Just Full of Gifts by Karen

'I can give you a gift that you cannot refuse.' A thoughtful vignette that addresses a question that occurred to me as well after watching 'Chosen'. Written for the excellent 'When the Clock Strikes' Challenge

[Added 08/07/2004; Drama; 2500-6000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Legend by Marcus L Rowland

I won't spoil the conceit for you; suffice to say 'Legend' is one of the most original pieces of fanfiction I've encountered. Highly recommended

[Added 30/07/2004; Humour; 2500-6000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Living Dangerously by Andraste

'He once thought a house full of attractive women would be really cool, too, but in his head it was more about the lingerie and pillow fights, and less about people barging in on him in the bathroom.' An accurate portrait of Andrew, but this piece's real strength is in capturing the feel of season 7

[Added 20/03/2006; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Mr Grieves and the Fallen Woman by Herself

Magic strands season 6 Buffy in the 1880s. One of the very few 'Buffy meets William' stories that pays any heed to the realities of Victorian life. The Watchers' Council scenes are a highlight

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

My Baby Is A Centerfold by Barb C

'Anyway, I know all about The Sex in theory. I also know how sausages are made, in theory. That doesn't mean I'm panting for an up-close at the gooey details of either process.' Hilarious interlude in the Barbverse, Barb C's season 6 AU, with that rare creature, a likeable Dawn. The story should stand alone

[Added 25/05/2012; Humour; 6000-20,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Omphalos by Marcus L Rowland

Dawn visits DS9, seeking her origins. 'Omphalos' is not only an interesting & plausible crossover, but also that rare beast -- an ideas-centric BtVS story. Perhaps a little thin on some of the characterisations, but well worth reading if you enjoy Trek-style sf (BtVS/DS9)

[Added 30/07/2004; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Crossover]

Orleans by Hth

'They serve the vampires, you've heard. They have it in their heads that this daddy vamp with the alligators is some kind of test, some scourge sent by God to test their faith, and they go way, way off the deep end with this What Would Jesus Do? business, to the point of making modern-day saints out of his human victims.' Fascinating world building & a strong voice for the narrator characterise this unusual story set in the Wishverse

[Added 15/04/2015; Drama; 6000-20,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Phoenix Burning by Yahtzee

An AU following 'The Gift' that's arguably better than much of what Joss & Co wrote in seasons 6/7. Yahtzee is one of the very few writers who can interest me in Buffy as a character, and this novel focuses on her, in a rather unexpected setting. Deservedly among the fandom classics

[Added 08/07/2004; Drama; >50,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Resurrection by Rowan

'Death is plastic-and-metal, circuitry-and-bone, a cyborg with the Council's logo engraved in its breast.' Highly unusual far-future AU from one of the more inventive writers in the Buffyverse

[Added 25/05/2012; Drama; 1000-2500; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

The Road to Byzantium by Barb C

'Vampires just didn't get this stuff, she reminded herself. She wished she could see Spike's eyes behind the insectile lenses of his goggles. "Look, if you do good things for people, they'll do good things for you." Honesty compelled her to add, "Sometimes."' A novelette prequel to the Barbverse that explores why the Knights of Byzantium didn't keep coming after Dawn. Like most other works in this series it contains a few annoying tropes, but it's well worth a read for the excellent descriptions and strong characterisations. Barb's competent Anya is particularly enjoyable

[Added 25/05/2012; Drama; 6000-20,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Serious Moonlight by RivkaT & MustangSally

Spuffy meets Indiana Jones: sex & plot wrapped into one neat novel-sized packet. Probably my favourite of the Bowiehabarata series, but the others are also worth a try

[Added 07/06/2005; Drama; >50,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Adult]

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Sex Poodles by Doyle

'While Ramon had a fleet of convertibles that were soaped down every day by a dedicated team of community-spirited cheerleaders (the book had said his fantasy persona should be as specific as possible), the best Xander could do was a grope in the back of a pizza delivery van. And those boxes had sharp corners.' A devastatingly accurate picture of Xander that manages to be deeply touching and absolutely hilarious at the same time

[Added 12/02/2004; Humour; 2500-6000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Silence, Sounds of by WhichWitch

'It's all connected, you see.' Beautifully written portrait of grief

[Added 07/06/2005; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Silent Upon a Peak in Darien by Doyle

Most fanfiction treats Ethan as a plot hook for magical mayhem or an excuse for a bit of Giles slash, so Doyle's nicely characterised piece makes a refreshing change. A plausible bit of fallout from 'Chosen'

[Added 13/08/2004; Drama; 6000-20,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Something Old by Mikelesq

A well-thought-through AU where 'Something Blue' ended differently. The writing's a touch on the bland side, perhaps, but the idea's clever and novel

[Added 15/01/2004; Drama; 6000-20,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

The Stranger's Portrait by Rowan

An unusual, haunting little vignette, as memorable as the portrait it commemorates

[Added 28/01/2004; Drama; 1000-2500; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Stumbling on the Fields of Praise by Dipenates

'In Sunnydale, no one went to church. Which was kind of ironic, because there was so little that was truly bad in Huxley, and yet he could count the people who hadn't gone to church on one hand.' There's so little sympathetic Riley fiction. This insightful study with the hook of his religious faith is a quiet gem

[Added 15/04/2015; Character Piece; <1000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

Theses on a Philosophy of Power by Glossolalia

'There are bloodsuckers on every corner. The usual kind, with fangs and dead eyes and skin like paper, and they die as dust. And the new kind, desperate bourgeois selling silver teapots and lace throws and children's toys to pay for passage out of the country.' Set during the Russian Revolution, this is one of the most interesting historical slayer pieces I've seen

[Added 07/06/2005; Drama; 2500-6000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream by Calle Dybedahl

One of the very few Tolkien/modern media crossovers that I've ever seen made to actually work. The characters are beautifully in character, the scenario feels plausible, and the whole piece adds depth to both sources. (BtVS/Tolkien crossover)

[Added 28/01/2004; Romance/Erotica; 1000-2500; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Crossover]

Tucker's Brother by Jessica Walker

Andrew and Spike get drunk together. One of the best character studies of Andrew I've read, though I'm not quite so certain of Spike's characterisation. A bit overlong, perhaps, but well worth a try, especially if you're a fan of the supervillains

[Added 28/01/2004; Character Piece; 6000-20,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer; Adult]

The Waking by Mad Poetess

One of the more unusual BtVS stories I've ever read. Haunting, beautiful, strange yet somehow perfectly in tune with canon

[Added 12/02/2004; Drama; 6000-20,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

While the Women Came and Went by Mosca

Another interesting response to the 'When the Clock Strikes' Challenge. I've no idea how authentic the portrayal of Afghanistan is, but I love it that someone remembered Buffy's war wasn't the only one going on at the time

[Added 08/07/2004; Drama; 1000-2500; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]

With an Alien People Clutching their Gods by Mikelesq

A highly unusual take on the summer when Buffy's dead, 'With an Alien People Clutching their Gods' features excellent characterisations, snappy dialogue, plus a strong, plausible plot that you could almost imagine as an episode. The TS Eliot quotations are a bonus

[Added 28/01/2004; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Buffy the Vampire Slayer]