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: 976 recs in 229 fandoms; 64 links

Miscellaneous: Drama

Duchess of Malfi | Hadestown | History Boys | Into the Woods | Jesus Christ Superstar | Les Contes d'Hoffmann | Peter Pan | Rocky Horror Picture Show | Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead | Songs | The Threepenny Opera | Wagner Ring Cycle

Duchess of Malfi

Great Piece of Turf by Selden

'In hell, time runs like molten glass, often exceeding slow, and losing none of its weight or bulk along the way. And Bosola, it may be said, runs with it. When he is called upon for business, he is blown out as it were, like glass again, into his old shape, albeit a spirit in nature and essence.' Selden has an amazing way with words that suits the macabre subject matter perfectly. Not for the faint of heart

[Added 15/10/2015; Drama; 1000-2500; Duchess of Malfi; Adult]


sing it again by Scribe

'Lachesis settled into the rocking chair, shuffling her feet as close to the fire as she dared and taking her knitting needles from her pocket. The wool Clotho had given her was the vibrant red of new blood. She cast on, her old fingers nimble in the familiar pattern, the way that thread passed and passed and passed through her hands. She thought she might make a jacket.' Scribe focuses on the Fates' unique perspective, fleshing out the musical's world with well-chosen details

[Added 23/12/2017; Drama; 2500-6000; Hadestown]

History Boys

The epistemology of the closet by Naraht

'Wasn't that the very argument that Nabokov put on the lips of Humbert Humbert in Lolita? Irwin wasn't sure. He had never, truth be told, read Lolita, though he had more than once lectured on its themes... yes, glibly, admittedly so.' An incisive portrait of Irwin, before & after, melancholy & all-too-believable

[Added 29/10/2014; Character Piece; 1000-2500; History Boys]

Into the Woods

the rope you began with (was never that straight) by Fahye

'Family, in Cinderella's opinion, is a lot like the colour green. You can throw the word around and even build perfectly reasonable conversations around it, but in the end you can never be sure that any two people using it mean the same thing.' I don't know the musical, but this tale of what happens to the heroine after the story's over works beautifully anyway. Charming & engaging, with amusing cameos & thoughtful asides on fairy tale logic

[Added 04/10/2013; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Into the Woods]

Jesus Christ Superstar

I, Jehudah by Jay Tryfanstone

An original twist on an age-old story. Strongly recommended

[Added 13/01/2005; Drama; 2500-6000; Jesus Christ Superstar]

Les Contes d'Hoffmann

An Hour in Heaven by Quillori

'Venice is always a city of light. It is built of stone, heavy stone that sinks by creeping inches into the mud, but by some alchemy of architecture that stone is so perfectly proportioned, so pierced about with windows and arches, so delicately formed into balconies and curving stairs, that it seems to float, almost to rise up, and the light floods in everywhere, banishing the gloom and dank that should be inevitable in a crowded city being swallowed slowly by a swampy lagoon.' Beautifully written & atmospheric short centering on Giulietta, with a provocative notion implied in the summary

[Added 27/12/2017; Drama; 1000-2500; Les Contes d'Hoffmann]

Peter Pan

A Dream of Wind by Culumacilinte

'But there is another sort of boy as well; those who feel that they ought to grow up, that being a man is a far more interesting and reputable thing to be than a boy, and that the world, besides, is made for men, not those still in short trousers and buckled shoes.' Subtle character study of George Darling, which deftly mingles magic & prosaic

[Added 29/05/2012; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Peter Pan]

Never by Ursula Vernon

'There was no cheese in Neverland, as there were no cows. There was plenty of blood, but nobody ever thought to make pudding out of it. Possibly no one knew how.' A chilling vignette that makes Neverland's dark underpinning explicit

[Added 06/12/2011; Drama; 1000-2500; Peter Pan]

No Unworthy Aim by Sinope

'No matter how restless the patient, however so much he shuddered with waking nightmares or groaned with incurable pains, Wendy could always find the directest path from their heart to the Neverland. To one lad, she told tales of knights jousting for the honor of fine ladies; to another, she recounted travelers summiting Oriental peaks to discover lost cities of silk and gold.' It's a bit of a wish-fulfilment story for Wendy/Hook shippers, perhaps, but there are some interesting insights to be gained along the way to a genuinely moving end

[Added 15/04/2015; Romance/Erotica; 2500-6000; Peter Pan]

Songs of Innocence and Experience by The Alchemist

'Peter's laugh is the youngest thing you've ever heard. If babies came out laughing rather than crying, this is what they would sound like.' Thought-provoking metafic that starts out light but twists to deliver insights into the relationship between Peter & Hook, and the nature of all fictional characters

[Added 13/08/2015; Drama; 1000-2500; Peter Pan]

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Wiles by Rosedark

'Magenta couldn't say that she particularly mourned the sudden death of their delivery boy, but the whole affair was distasteful.' Most Rocky Horror fanfiction focuses on the human outsiders' perspective. Rosedark instead looks at the castle from the inside, in this convincingly alien portrait centering around Magenta

[Added 07/08/2009; Drama; 2500-6000; Rocky Horror Picture Show]

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Proof by Sonya

It's easy to write meta-fic for R&G, but this struck me as particularly clever

[Added 30/12/2005; Drama; 1000-2500; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead]

Steal My Breath by Luna

'He wakes before sunrise, his heart pounding. Something has touched his face in the dark. A cat, he guesses, walking over his pillow.' Clever brief prequel to the play, with a perfect ending

[Added 28/10/2014; Drama; <1000; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead]


Abraham's Daughter by Evelyn b

'That night old Abraham was shaking the toff like it was full of spiders, and toothless Sarah tolling off the set of all things that could fit around her waist back east in Ur, where she was young, and Abraham's daughter held Isaac's skinny arms still around his narrow chest so we could dot-dot-dot his face with sap.' Yuletide 2012 had several interesting stories based on the song, 'Abraham's Daughter', itself a revisionist reading of the Abraham & Isaac story. My favourite is a bit rough, but gains power from linking Canaan with another promised land. Clever & moving

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

bears the crown by Bloodbright

'She had been long inured to the sight of death, of gore, and at any rate had never much troubled herself with the pain of others; and yet something in her heart stirred uneasily when at last he fell, and the rats burst from his belly; and the young queen had felt the first gnawing behind her own navel.' A weird, dreamy, ambiguous sequel to Suzanne Vega's 'Queen & the Soldier', reminiscent in tone & theme of Wilfred Owen's 'Strange Meeting'. Bleak but with a thread of hope

[Added 27/12/2017; Drama; 2500-6000; Songs]

The Coffin Builder by Calvinahobbes

'The sign was not so much a sign as a miniature coffin, lid disconcertingly ajar.' Calvinahobbes has crafted a rich & original fairy tale from the song 'My Boy Builds Coffins', with echoes of 'Bluebeard' building tension to a lovely slippery ending

[Added 15/04/2015; Drama; 2500-6000; Songs]

Rose in June by RecessiveJean

'First time I ever saw her, I'd no inkling that she might become my friend. She was a grown lady, and I was just gone thirteen, and that sort of disparity in ages didn't seem what you might call conducive to friendship. But that was back when things were ordinary, before everybody gave up the habit of staying dead when they died, so the rules were different then.' A darkly comic tale, based on 'Darling Cora' & 'Down in the Willow Garden', with a wonderfully pragmatic narrator. Unusual & engaging

[Added 15/04/2015; Drama; 2500-6000; Songs]

The Threepenny Opera

The Bugger's Opera by The Alchemist

'"Silly Milly, Tawdry Audrey. Hercules and Hylas. Dolly and Edna." The finger lands on a gaunt face, coyly hidden behind a huge fan. "We called him the Memsaab. Would have dressed like that all day every fucking day if they'd let him." 'Like that' was in something resembling the costume of an Afghan Begum.' Clever, multi-layered origin story for Mack the Knife during the Siege of Kandahar that makes matchwood of the fourth wall & even features a cameo from a young John Watson

[Added 26/12/2017; Drama; 2500-6000; The Threepenny Opera]

Wagner Ring Cycle

Firebound by Dussek

'The image of fire in her mind flickers, first twisting into a serpent, then into the outline of a wolf, then into the rough shape of a man.' Beautifully written, atmospheric AU, which melds the base myth with the opera plot perfectly. I only wish it were longer!

[Added 23/12/2017; Drama; 1000-2500; Wagner Ring Cycle]

Wayfarer's Daughter by Meyerlemon

'When the world was young, they sang songs about my sisters.' Powerful short where every word counts

[Added 03/01/2007; Romance/Erotica; 1000-2500; Wagner Ring Cycle]