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

Narnian Chronicles

And Bide the Danger by MiraMira

'"She buys other things. A carving of a stag. A knife. Couple of pieces of furniture. A busted green ring that looked like something out of Zonko's, 'cept I couldn't figure out what kind of metal it was. After the price she paid for that last one, I'd keep an eye out for rubies from Mars if she asked.' A future for Susan as a dark witch in the Potterverse. The best kind of crossover, that elucidates both sources, with an ambiguous Aslan & double heart-wrencher of an ending

[Added 23/12/2018; Drama; 6000-20,000; Narnian Chronicles; Crossover]

Another Country by Jay Tryfanstone

'She had blue eyes, Susan, a blue so dark it was almost black, and skin as white as the flesh of a snowberry...' An ambiguous, dangerous tale

[Added 30/12/2005; Drama; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

Between by Genarti

'She had a vague idea that she would go home to Mother and Father, and everything would be just as it always had been. Even at the train station, when it took her a full minute to recognize her mother, and when she only realized that the anxious, hollow-cheeked, limping man in the brown jacket was Father because he was standing next to Mother, she still thought it would turn out all right.' Problem-of-Susan stories tend to either demonise Aslan or canonise Susan. Genarti falls into neither extreme; this fix could have written by Lewis, if he'd grown out of his fear of women

[Added 28/02/2014; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles]

Carpetbaggers by Cofax

'Rhea blinked at him, and her ears relaxed a little, swiveling outwards. She turned that dark gaze on Edmund, Susan, and Lucy, before looking back at Peter. "You appear somewhat short of courtiers, good king."' A long satisfying novel exploring how the Pevensies established their reign after Aslan left, with many & varied adventures along the way for each of the sibs. There is thoughtful worldbuilding, and a large supporting cast of OCs & minors. Cofax treads a delicate balance in adding depth & complexity to canon, including some very dark themes, while remaining very close to its spirit. Deservedly a classic. The Cave in Deerfield, also recommended, forms a brief prequel that explores one of the novel's darker ideas

[Added 20/10/2017; Drama; >50,000; Narnian Chronicles]

Clipsie the Mariner by Transposable Element

'He was very stubborn and wouldn't listen if anybody told him to look on the bright side, so Clipsie didn't tell him that she much preferred boing-boing-boing to toddle-toddle-toddle. It was a lot faster and a lot more fun.' A manifesto for the DufflepudsMonopods, that gives a voice to one of Lewis's many names

[Added 05/07/2016; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

A Dragon's Desire by Miss M

'It was, of course, the same gold treasure you have heard about elsewhere, and it was, of course, a dragon's treasure. But like Eustace many years later, Octesian had no idea what it was. Telmarines are not interested in dragon lore.' Miss M captures the tone of canon beautifully, breathing life into one of Lewis's names

[Added 22/05/2015; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

Elegant and Fine by Ursula Vernon

'He was nearly as broad as he was tall, and his head barely came up past her waist. He had gnarled hands from working metal and he was as ugly as she was beautiful.' An unusual take on the problem of Susan, with a brief but vivid portrait of her Narnian lover

[Added 29/08/2013; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

The foreigner by nasimwrites

'There is hardly any protocol here, and what little there is, is absolutely unintelligible, as it varies upon the number of limbs and amount of fur on each member of its population and the particular whims of its much-too-young rulers, which leaves experienced Tarkaans like Belazir in the most uncomfortable position of walking into Cair Paravel with as much diplomatic ceremony as a common stable-boy.' A thoughtful conversation piece presenting an outsider's perspective on the events of The Horse and his Boy. Nasimwrites gives us a strong characterisation of Peter, that most difficult of Pevensies to capture, as well as clever foreshadowing of future events

[Added 23/12/2018; Drama; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles]

From the grove of cypress and yellow rose by Redsnake05

'Tumnus was brought forth at midsummer, from under a tangle of yellow roses nestled in the bend of a small, sweet stream. His father was scratched and his arms ran with blood from a multitude of little cuts as he drew Tumnus out of the undergrowth and into the world.' A fascinating origin story for Tumnus, which does a good job of melding high & cosy Narnia

[Added 05/07/2016; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles]

Further Down And Deeper In by amyfortuna

'Yes, they leave a mark. I'm sorry it hurts. The pain will pass soon. You cannot go to the end of anything without being changed in some way, and this is a small price to pay for the beauties you will see.' Tourist guide to Bism which fleshes out how the realm might actually work, with a wonderfully creepy narrator and a bonus sneak crossover that I won't spoil

[Added 23/12/2018; Drama; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

Further Up and Further In by Hedda62

'Britta's consciousness had hurtled through tunnels of fire, spread like a net of twanging sensory receptors across the stars, exploded in blue-green ecstasy of cinnamon and fireflies, heard symphonies played by gods.' This surprisingly successful fusion with the Vorkosigan series (no canon knowledge required) assumes Betan survey ships that enter wormholes & never reappear end up in Narnia. The interaction of the incomers with Narnian history is fascinating, and Hedda uses a cast of OCs to provide interesting outsider perspectives

[Added 09/01/2014; Drama; 6000-20,000; Narnian Chronicles; Crossover]

Further Up and Further In by Kyra Cullinan

'It's he always gives us journeys.' The new Narnia, in ripples outwards from Tirian & Jewel. Lovely details and a very canonical feel

[Added 03/01/2007; Drama; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

Green as Poison by Ncfan

'She has seen no scales on her skin, and neither is her tongue forked.' An origin story for the Lady of the Green Kirtle that weaves together hints from canon to end with an intriguing possibility

[Added 23/05/2015; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

Heart-fire by Genarti

'Her father eats a berry of the sun, each morning, and grows slowly young again.' Portrait of the Star's Daughter, brief but magical

[Added 05/09/2012; Character Piece; <1000; Narnian Chronicles]

A High and Lonely Destiny by Elizabeth Culmer

'This is the story Jadis learned when she was three years old, told by an under-nurse with salt-pale skin and a missing left thumb, as she braided Jadis's hair into a crown: / "Long and long ago, in another world, the god El grew bored and lonely. So he made Lilith from salt and sun and Adam from earth and shadow..."' Elizabeth deftly entwines multiple tales within a tale with a suitably nasty history for Jadis. Beautifully written & inventive

[Added 11/12/2018; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles]

I'll Squeeze You a Cup Full of Diamond Juice by Edonohana

'"I caught a single glimpse of the land at the heart of the world, all heat and color, and it captured my soul. Perhaps it would have killed me if I had tried to descend into the land of flame. But I think it would have been worth it."' An adorable account of how Rilian returns to Bism, with descriptions that make one want to follow him. The ending is perfect

[Added 05/07/2016; Romance/Erotica; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles]

The Lady Running by Tea Roses

'Lucy...wasn't entirely innocent; she knew the ways of fauns and the things they desired.' Narnia was always more sensual than Lewis allowed, and Tea Roses' tale captures this aspect, without losing any of the delicacy & humour of the original

[Added 11/11/2008; Romance/Erotica; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

The Last Defense of Cair Paravel by Cofax

'In those days, the Earl of Lantern Waste was a Human named Shandon, who was descended through many mothers from King Frank himself, although several of her fathers were river-gods rather than Human.' This unusual short puts forward some interesting hypotheses about the peculiar relationship between Narnia & humans, and features an excellent OC

[Added 20/10/2017; Drama; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles]

North and South by Flourish

'For Archenland and Narnia [Anvard] was a great fortress, with enough cottages clustering around the curtain wall that it might almost be called a town; but it did not support a community of poets, or musicians, or painters, or sculptors, because in the North nearly every artisan is actually a very ordinary sort of person who pursues their art in their free time. This means that more people get to enjoy Culture, but the overall quality of the Culture produced might seem cut-rate to a Tarkheena.' Flourish does a good job of balancing Lewis's vision with a more-neutral view of Calormen (& f/f relationships) in this possible future for Aravis. I particularly enjoyed the delicate ending

[Added 23/12/2018; Romance/Erotica; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles]

Not Gods, But Demons by Kastaka

'They had come to her in the night, three shadows in her room, winged and clawed and fanged.' The villain's point of view is always interesting, and this vignette, set before The Magician's Nephew, strikes the right balance between humanising Jadis & portraying her utter ruthlessness

[Added 11/11/2008; Drama; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

Oathkeeper by WingedFlight

'Aravis had heard of Edmund Wandbreaker before — everyone in Calormen had heard the stories. This was the boy who, upon witnessing the death of his brother at the hands of the White Witch, had shattered her wand and escaped into the winter wilds with naught but his life.' A clever, vivid AU in which another witch takes the place of Jadis. Unrelentingly dark, but wholly believable

[Added 05/07/2016; Drama; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles]

Out of Season by Elizabeth Culmer

'She didn't remember being that foolish. But then, she had grown up in the palace as milk-sister to Prince Rabadash and granddaughter to Axartha Tarkaan, the Grand Vizier. She had danced with snakes since before she could speak. That made a difference.' Elizabeth creates a vivid, detailed picture of Calormene society based on Mughal India from Lewis's blank canvas, complete with religious complexity & plenty of political infighting. The central OC is well drawn, with a believable worldview very different from Narnian & human characters

[Added 05/08/2015; Drama; 20,000-50,000; Narnian Chronicles]

Scents on the Wind by Miss M

'Horses' noses are very finely tuned, much sharper than the noses of humans, and Hwin normally registered the smells around her quite without thinking, the same way you and I may look at a bland landscape without remembering much about it afterwards.' A heroine's homecoming isn't always easy. Perfectly in tune with canon, in both style & theme. Lovely!

[Added 11/08/2012; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

Stick In the Mud by Transposable Element

'"The Tree is down," she said. / Even Mudbank wasn't prepared for that. For the first time, Pikebeak saw what a Wiggle looked like when his normally glum expression turned to shock and horror.' The beginning of the long winter from the unique perspective of the Marsh-wiggles, with interesting worldbuilding and a suitably understated humour. If, like me, you're a fan of this most underficced of Narnian races, TE has written a few other stories, including Catch, a charming tale of Puddleglum's courtship

[Added 11/12/2018; Drama; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles]

Stillwater Feast by Edonohana

'"We were all preparing for the Stillwater Feast when that naughty child slipped away," said the Sea King. "We hold it every year in a place where there are no currents, and all the world is still and quiet. You would honor us with your presence."' An all-too-brief vignette that feels just like an episode from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, with fascinating tidbits on underwater cuisine & some great Lewis asides

[Added 23/12/2018; Drama; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

those who keep silence by templemarker

'It had taken several days before their confused minds began to remember Mother and Father at all, having lived so long without parents that it was more of a shock to recall them than having forgotten.' A moving & psychologically plausible portrait of grief -- and recovery -- that differentiates between Susan & Lucy without demonising either

[Added 11/12/2018; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Narnian Chronicles]

To hold back the night by Heliopause

'"The... the laying bare of the land—Sire, you see the terrible deaths of your people, but we two... we've both grown up with tales and pictures of a war close to our country, from before our time, and this looks to us like," she paused, uncertain of how the phrase would sound in Narnia. "like the creation of a no-man's-land."' A clever AU of The Last Battle in which Jill & Eustace's knowledge of both our world & Narnia helps to change everything. I'd love to read more in this universe

[Added 23/05/2015; Drama; 6000-20,000; Narnian Chronicles]

The Traitor, the Witch, and the Lovers by Katie Vieceli

'He knew she liked it when he took control. It gave her hope that he might still embrace the cruel serpentine nature she had awakened in him oh so long ago with an innocent gift of hot chocolate and Turkish Delight.' Everyone and their pet iguana has rec'd this, years ago, but I couldn't resist. A dark & twisted AU for the Narnia series that would have CS Lewis turning in his grave. Not for the faint at heart

[Added 08/07/2004; Drama; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles; Adult]

Triptych by redsnake05

'She struggled against the sweet red loam, pulling a heavy dark stone from her chest as she coalesced from the earth of her shaping.' A strange, powerful story of Jadis, Lilith & Aslan that reads like a cross between Narnia and the Old Testament, and raises fascinating questions about free will vs the bonds of love

[Added 11/12/2018; Drama; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles]

What Is This, A Joke? by Moriwen

'Susan took out a pamphlet from her jacket pocket, folded it open to a page in the middle, and handed it to Spike. Potential side effects of prolonged contact, it read, in print so small he had to strain to read it. Dizziness, vomiting, ennui, lucid dreaming, existential angst, pregnancy, death.' This fusion with the Buffyverse allows for a more ambiguous presentation of Aslan than usually convinces me. Slow to start but worth a try for its original take on Susan, who appears at the halfway point (Narnia/BtVS/AtS)

[Added 07/08/2014; Drama; 2500-6000; Narnian Chronicles; Crossover]