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


Coriolanus | Hamlet | Julius Caesar | Macbeth | Midsummer Night's Dream | Much Ado About Nothing | Othello | Romeo and Juliet | Shakespeare's histories | The Tempest | Twelfth Night


Sleight by Llassah

'He is not a clever man. Not as other men are. He had an uncle, growing up, who could produce a dove from the sleeve of his robe. That is clever.' It's a bit of a clichÉ perhaps, but this harsh, gritty vignette does an excellent job of conveying all the horror & confusion of war in the complex relationship that binds the two enemies together

[Added 29/10/2014; Romance/Erotica; 1000-2500; Coriolanus]


Before the End of All Things by CJ Marlowe

'"You're mad," says Ophelia, sipping her latte and looking at Hamlet overtop four-hundred-dollar sunglasses, a gift from a man she does not love.' A particularly clever take on the eternal tragedy -- to say more would spoil the premise

[Added 11/11/2008; Drama; 1000-2500; Hamlet]

Chiaroscuro by Acrossthefloors

'When Hamlet comes back to Elsinore, his eyes glitter and gleam and Ophelia can all too easily imagine that if he would only cast a glance toward her, it would leave her bleeding.' The Lovecraftian fusion is such a powerful window into the play, and Acrossthefloors skilfully builds the creepiness to the inevitable end

[Added 28/05/2012; Drama; 2500-6000; Hamlet; Crossover; Adult]

Dagon's Bargain, [unlocked] by Gehayi

'It has a certain stark beauty—even now, I can see that—but it is no spun-sugar castle from the dreams of maidens and southern poets. It is also strangely situated, hunched over a minor seaport and far from any city of military or strategic value. Yet everything about it, even the shape of the walls and the placement of the towers, says that it was built and fortified for wars beyond imagining.' Hamlet lends itself to Lovecraftian horror. This retelling, seen through the eyes of a Claudius who might be innocent after all, is an enthralling example

[Added 08/08/2015; Drama; 6000-20,000; Hamlet; Crossover]

Fine Revolution by Gileonnen

'He'd blinked once when he'd woken and then screamed, screamed all three point eight minutes that he survived rehabilitation.' A strange dark sf version of Hamlet's eternal tragedy. Haunting

[Added 15/02/2011; Drama; <1000; Hamlet]

Storyteller by Likeadeuce

'"The rest is silence," Hamlet said as the breath slipped out of him. But since his bloodied head fell back in your lap, your life has been a continual torrent of words.' Thoughtful short on the nature of fiction and the role of the author

[Added 29/05/2012; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Hamlet]

Testament by Shayheyred

'All he'd like is the time to tell the new king Hamlet's story. An afternoon will do. Two hours, or even one. A quarter hour might suffice.' A powerful & melancholy take on the theme that history is written by the victors

[Added 28/01/2011; Drama; 1000-2500; Hamlet]

Julius Caesar

Acted Over by Pauraque

'The sun gleams overhead and shadows flicker through the trees along the avenue, growing longer and shorter by turns, as though days pass in minutes. It often seems that others live in a world of slow time, while Cassius flies from night to night and month to month, pulled forward, onward.' Pauraque plays with the nature of theatre and the anachronisms in the source in this clever & original story

[Added 04/10/2013; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Julius Caesar]


The Captain of the Caledonia by Zdenka

'The monitor beside the door flickered to life, displaying words. MACBETH MACBETH MACBETH. Only his name, three times.' Given the spaceship setting, this is a surprisingly faithful retelling of the play, highlighting the differences in the way the tragedy plays out in this environment

[Added 04/02/2012; Drama; 2500-6000; Macbeth]

The Frame of Things by Killer Quean

'Lady was as full and empty as a playscript: a pure surface of rage and passion with no reason or history or feeling to explain it. The same and never the same.' Intriguing sf story, as much about the play as a computer program as it is about Lady Macbeth, ambition & betrayal

[Added 04/10/2013; Drama; 2500-6000; Macbeth]

Wyrd by Applegnat

'We are no women. We do not belong to the night, and we do not long for the day. We have no realm, no lord-and-lady-ship.' Thoughtful short with a feel of poetry

[Added 15/02/2011; Character Piece; <1000; Macbeth]

Midsummer Night's Dream

Contagious fogs by Naraht

'The Pondeian libraries and their bookstore neighbor had together done so much tunneling under Wide Street that it was no longer entirely safe. Occasionally fissures would open up and swallow bicyclists with a flurry of loose pages (if they were lucky) or an ominous splash (if they were not).' A long languid meander through a wonderfully realised fantasy Oxford, which both parallels & inverts the play. Worth a try for the worldbuilding alone

[Added 04/10/2013; Drama; 6000-20,000; Midsummer Night's Dream]

Love and Languish for His Sake by Alchemine

'For while all faeries are creatures of earth, the King's domain is verdant grass, is cool mist, is the quick living deer in the glade and the bursting fullness of ripe berries; and he, Puck, is for the crackling dead leaf, the rotting carcass, the strange fungus that sprouts up overnight.' An interesting glimpse of the fairy side of the play, with language as beautiful as its subject is not

[Added 29/05/2012; Romance/Erotica; 1000-2500; Midsummer Night's Dream]

Seasons Turn, Fae Turn the Wheel by Fresne

'Oberon's horns grew into a mighty rack upon his head and his flesh fuller with each passing day. Titania also grew round and heavy with the heat of the blooming world and turning flowers into rich fruit.' The fairy couple revise the plots of half of Shakespearean canon in this gleefully irreverent romp, bursting with genderswitching, shapeshifting & universal forests

[Added 09/08/2015; Humour; 2500-6000; Midsummer Night's Dream; Crossover]

Much Ado About Nothing

No more than reason by Jamjar

'"'Tis a shame neither of us can be widowed while the other lives," Benedick said. "We could have such entertainment in it, and then at the end of each day, we could make our way back to each other and report our adventures."' Jamjar tackles some of the darker aspects of the play without straying too far from the original tone, and there's plenty of exquisite banter from the newly wed Beatrice & Benedick

[Added 29/10/2014; Romance/Erotica; 6000-20,000; Much Ado About Nothing]

One of Your Father's Getting by Valderys

'She would have presided at the White House with gusto, charm and all the diplomacy she had just shown in her rejection of his offer, one that made him feel a hundred feet tall - too costly to wear every day indeed.' Using the Whedon film as canon, Valderys cunningly embeds the characters in US politics to make sense of the play's anachronistic attitude to sex

[Added 29/10/2014; Drama; 1000-2500; Much Ado About Nothing]


The Parrot Dupatta by The Alchemist

'"I've never danced the woman's role before. It was most educational."' Gripping retelling, set in the Raj, which is at its best as it fleshes out the relationship between Othello & Desdemona

[Added 25/11/2011; Drama; 6000-20,000; Othello]

Romeo and Juliet

Nothing But One of Your Nine Lives by Russian Blue

'Tybalt had died. Now he walked again, and he knew not what it meant.' When pulled off, the crack premise taken straight is among the most delicious of fanfiction flavours. This one forms an interesting lens on the Prince of Cat's character, and Russian Blue also paints a vivid picture of Verona before & during the play

[Added 14/04/2015; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Romeo and Juliet]

Starling by Loathlylady

'Black, white, black, white inside, still unlimited shades and nuances without. She had been ground between the nuances, caught in some space between maid and bawd.' Luscious prose draws one into this intriguing take on the events of the play, as Rosaline looks back in her old age

[Added 04/10/2013; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Romeo and Juliet]

Waste Our Lights in Vain by Nifra Idril

'There is a door inside Mercutio, in the shape of Romeo. It blows with the wind; open and shut, open and shut.' Sensuous descriptive prose and refreshing characterisations

[Added 13/01/2005; Drama; 1000-2500; Romeo and Juliet]

Shakespeare's histories

Honey and roses by The Alchemist

'It was something like how he felt at the end of the Easter vigil, when after a long night of prayer and liturgy the sun rises and the new fire is lit. And it was something like that perfect stage of drunkenness when care has departed and sickness not arrived, when the heart is filled with love and fellowship with all. / He licked his lips and tasted honey.' An inspired fusion of Henry IV Part 1 & Richard II with Euripides' Bacchae. Clever, with a particularly intriguing sting in the tail

[Added 24/12/2017; Drama; 2500-6000; Shakespeare's histories; Crossover]

The sky above us shoots to kill by La Reine Noire

'My brothers were out on the claim and I was in Warwick's saloon when Black Meg and Clifford her mad dog took off Father's head with a Bowie knife in the middle of the street.' The Deadwood universe makes a wonderful alternate setting for Richard's malevolence (Henry VI, Part 3)

[Added 20/01/2012; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Shakespeare's histories]

The Tempest

After She Wakes by Fresne

'...It wasn't that she wasn't allowed to run. It was that she couldn't. The weight of her clothes were too heavy.' A little different from the run of Tempest stories, 'After She Wakes' focuses on a Miranda trying to make the best of her happily ever after. It's a bit of an issuefic but I adore Fresne's solution to Milan's rigid gender roles

[Added 11/08/2015; Character Piece; 1000-2500; The Tempest]

And His Innocent Child by Fadeaccompli

'...Ariel sees Miranda as a double-image: infant and adult, and all the stages of childhood between. Her father is a single fixed point. There is no change to Prospero, whatever he says, that reaches to his core; he is a man of magic and books, even when the books are gone.' Unusual portrait of Ariel that catches its nature, alien & out of time

[Added 15/10/2015; Character Piece; 1000-2500; The Tempest]

Anemophilia by Anonymous

'They had a half-starved bull on one of the crafts and they led it out and it watched with its chin in its palm as the poor bony thing stumbled in the sand. It huffed and snorted and yes, led them up the beach, onto the plain, where there was the stream, cool and free from brine.' A fascinating, original take on Ariel's history through the ages. In need of a thorough edit but worth a try nonetheless

[Added 04/10/2013; Character Piece; 1000-2500; The Tempest]

The Blue-Eyed Witch by Selden

'The queen leans forwards with a creak of stays, watching her son as he nods and turns, and tosses back a jest to his half-seen companions. He moves within the glass like a small flickering fish caught in a child's cupped hands, unknowing as the water drains away.' Rich writing in this tale of two witches

[Added 19/10/2017; Drama; 1000-2500; The Tempest]

Whom Stripes May Move, Not Kindness by Airgiodslv

'He charmed Caliban with his own magic, with books and pictures, tricks of physics, and he forgot longing for women.' A dark prequel to the play, packed with rich details

[Added 07/12/2011; Drama; <1000; The Tempest]

Twelfth Night

Deep with the First Dead by Moemachina

'She had been raised to sit up straight, play the harp, make her letters, and do a little embroidery. Her brother had learned Latin, Greek, how to hold a sword, how to do his sums, how to look over the estate. She had never envied him.' A delicate piece which makes sense of Olivia, both her grief & her inevitable recovery. The members of her household are also well drawn, as each tries to help her in their own way

[Added 04/10/2013; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Twelfth Night]

movements of the mind by Lost Spook

'Feste smiles and gives a bow of his head in acknowledgement, running his fingers over the lute. "Strange, is it not? For when it lived, it was dumb as that post and yet now, dead, it sings sweet harmony."' Quiet vignette series which develops a plausible take on Feste through the years, and his relationships with Olivia & her father. Lost Spook has a good line in 16th-century wordplay too

[Added 25/12/2017; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Twelfth Night]

The Pirate and the Puritan by Shayheyred

'Antonio spat into the murky water, glowering at the ripples he caused. Fucking Illyrians and their fucking pompous airs, like their fucking Duke Orsino and Orsino's new fucking brother-in-law, the faithless Sebas-- He spat again.' Twelfth Night lends itself to slash sequels, but this isn't a pairing I'd ever envisaged. Shayheyred renders it surprisingly believable in this noir take on the play. Great fun

[Added 19/07/2011; Romance/Erotica; 2500-6000; Twelfth Night]

With A Cunning Hand by Gehayi

'The kid glances at the Little Caesar's pizza box next to my elbow and, without even pausing, says that his name is Cesario. No last name. Just...Cesario.' Gehayi develops a strong voice for narrator Curio in this romp through the events of the play, recasting Orsino as a mafia boss. Great fun!

[Added 25/11/2011; Drama; 6000-20,000; Twelfth Night]