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

Historical RPF

Classical music RPF | Historical RPF | Literary RPF | Science RPF

Classical music RPF

Clap, Damn You by Emily Shore

'It was not easy being an operatic muse when your natural vocal endowments meant that you were cut out for a life as a tenor--or possibly a baritone, who could be certain?--in the BBC Singers.' Britten, Pears & the genesis of Gloriana. Believable characterisations & a delightful wry humour

[Added 01/02/2011; Humour; 2500-6000; Classical music RPF]

Historical RPF

Amongst the Black-Haired People by Daegaer

'It was beneath Pu-abi's dignity to notice either the kindness or the disrespect of one who had been her slave for so long, so she kept her silence as Gurun carefully wiped her mouth and helped her to stand ready to wear the gold and lapis that an eresh should wear in the sight of all but their closest servants.' Daegaer has conjured a fascinating tale of political intrigue and peopled it with a cast of strong women, determined to make their lives -- and deaths -- serve their cause

[Added 06/06/2012; Drama; 2500-6000; Historical RPF]

Descent by Emilyenrose

'"Marcus Tullius Cicero," said Marcus. / The secretary looked as startled as if he'd claimed to be Mithras risen. After a moment of awkward silence one of the freedmen – Marcus didn't see which – hissed, "The younger."' The characters really come alive in this timeless tale of fathers and sons who don't live up to them

[Added 27/05/2012; Drama; 6000-20,000; Historical RPF]

The Queen and the Soldier by Hafren

'She has never seen why being what the world calls old should change the way she looks at handsome young bodies.' This clever weaving together of legends brings the 10th century Queen Gunnhild to life

[Added 04/08/2011; Drama; 2500-6000; Historical RPF]

Surpassingly by Skazka

'Perhaps he's inventing something out of whole cloth to pretend he had a life before being loved.' Antinous, beautiful & beloved of an emperor, contemplates his fate. A thoughtful study of power imbalance, chilling yet plausible

[Added 28/10/2014; Romance/Erotica; 1000-2500; Historical RPF; Adult]

Literary RPF

A Change of Season by Lnhammer

'But then as if the Empress's words were power, her own returned. Wan-er knew what she must do. If the flood was so bad that groveling would not save her, and it wouldn't, she'd go out riding bravely. / She straightened up. "One might, but one would be wrong." / The Empress's eyes narrowed. "Would one," she said dryly.' A spare, tightly structured piece set in Tang dynasty China, centered on the evolving relationship of two strong women, a poet & an empress, with sprinklings of Chinese poetry & lashings of palace intrigue

[Added 25/12/2017; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Literary RPF]

For Him I Sing by Disenchanted

'Owen, for his part, was editing a hospital literary magazine comprised largely of interminable serialised stories and advertisments for Hardy Bros. fishing rods (in one issue there was a poem which rhymed ‘laugh’ with ‘quaff’). Siegfried observed that the work seemed fascinating to Owen, whose experience with the literary world had up until now consisted solely of a friendship with a flatulent country cousin who wrote in the manner of Tennyson.' A moving joint portrait of Sassoon & Owen at Craiglockhart, anchored in sharp details. Disenchanted does a good job of portraying the two very different men as both poets & soldiers, and Sassoon's perspective on the young Owen is particularly interesting

[Added 30/10/2017; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Literary RPF]

Like fruit, my soul by Breathedout

'For once it is easy. One could make any space needed, one feels; anything needed; with one's fingers gliding fireglow-warm over the smooth glass. So simple, it appears now, to be generous. Why is one not always generous? Why does one keep oneself back so, from one's fellows, twenty-nine days out of the month?' Thoughtful & suitably erudite stream of consciousness from a tipsy Virginia Woolf, while she's revising Mrs Dalloway & contemplating Vita Sackville-West. Reads like a censored extract from her letters

[Added 25/12/2017; Character Piece; 1000-2500; Literary RPF]

Quod Me Nutrit Me Destruit by Rexluscus

'At the sight of her new husband's handiwork, the sweet-faced boy playing Zenocrate wore a bloodthirsty smile of frank erotic promise far beyond what a child of his age ought to have been able to imagine, let alone perform. It left Will feeling lightheaded.' This take on Marlowe through Shakespeare's eyes runs with the William Hughes theory for the sonnets' dedicatee. Gleefully anachronistic & enormous fun

[Added 04/10/2013; Drama; 6000-20,000; Literary RPF]

Saving Mrs. Fleming by Selena

'Truth to tell, Mary had struggled with her ending. She always did. She had also struggled with what the secret would be. Her first idea had been for Julian's father to have been a man loving other men, a Greek hero lost in the wrong era, who'd tried to live the horrible married life and failed.' Intriguing take on what might have happened had Hitchcock tried to make a film out of Renault's Return to Night. Selena knows her Hollywood & the creative differences that inevitably follow are a hoot, but the meat of the piece is Hitchcock's unexpected empathy for Renault's situation

[Added 12/08/2015; Drama; 6000-20,000; Literary RPF]

Still Climbing After Knowledge Infinite by Aquila

'The rhythm of each line drives the play forward as much as Alleyn's performance does, serves as a heartbeat underneath the action. Will's veins throb to its time; indeed, his very bones seem to pulse with it.' It's hard to capture Shakespeare the writer, but Aquila pulls it off here at the beginning of his career. But it's the snappy dialogue that really makes this piece, balancing modern & archaic, realistic & performed

[Added 29/05/2012; Romance/Erotica; 6000-20,000; Literary RPF]

Science RPF

The Ordinary Operations of Nature by Sharksdontsleep

'My mother ... fears the dangers of a turned Ankle or my being lost to the Waves of the Sea. But I feel as though I must - the Divine has blessed me with some sense of these things, and I must do my part to reveal what the Creator has given us, that through hammer and chisel we might search for the evidence of Things not yet seen.' Mary Anning's correspondence with Charles Lyell starts by charting Anning's journey from sycophancy to anger, and then takes an entirely unexpected direction, which I won't spoil here. Unusual & atmospheric

[Added 25/12/2017; Character Piece; 2500-6000; Science RPF; Crossover]

The Saga of Hearthruler Whitebeard and Snowsgrace Dreamfinder by Melannen

'All knew it was a place of great power, for the Old Ones had built a massive earthen rampart around it, in the shape of the storm's lightning, and in the center of the ramparts were many great standing stones with inscriptions of wisdom on them, and more hidden knowledge as well, in places known only to the most powerful of the priests.' A hugely enjoyable fusion which places 19th C London cholera outbreak figures into an original future based on the nuclear waste disposal report -- the kind of story that's one of Yuletide's joys. The saga voice is charming, the characters shine in their odd setting, and I particularly loved the investigation. My favourite of several interesting takes on the report for Yuletide 2016

[Added 24/12/2017; Drama; 2500-6000; Science RPF]