Saturday, October 20, 2012


Last week we announced the winners for SBS4, and this week we’re back with reviews. Once again, thank you to all the authors and artists who participated and made this another shining example of the Twi-slash community. This week we bring you the banners awarded to our winners, and the judges’ reviews. These gorgeous banners were created by Ms_Ambrosia, artist extraordinaire. Please visit her at FicPics for all your graphic needs ;-). These banners are taller so they can be used on FFnet if so desired.


Readers’ Choice- The Tree House by Moirae

Validator’s Choice- GAY FOR PAY by EdwardsMate4ever
Thank you to our submission validator, MBMassin!

Hosts’ Choice- ASHES TO ASHES by Miss Dare

Miss Dare’s “Ashes to Ashes” is at once one of the most daring and thought-provoking pieces of Twilight fanfiction I have read in a long time.  It is a beautifully rendered, multi-layered piece that is both complex in thought and simple in language.  If you managed to skip Miss Dare’s entry in this year’s Slash/Backslash contest go read, now!

Miss Dare’s concept alone is intriguing.  She sets her story in a post-apocalyptic world.  We do not know what has happened – there was no great disaster or war, just “the gradual fall of the human race and the world surrounding it – till the point they’re at now, when all that’s alive is rare.”  The question of what happens to immortals once the world ends has stuck with me for days and days.

Miss Dare has a gift for detail and her setting is compelling, carefully constructed, and achingly devastating.  She had me from the opening scene:

The lizard stays motionless on the dried-out dirt between blades of thin grass – the only living representation of the world in the middle of the desert, its edges blurred in the heated air…

Eventually, the shadows of the thin grass move and the lizard runs away in one fast motion, leaving Jasper alone. The only proof of it ever having been there is a barely visible trail of prints left behind. He sighs and lies down, looking up, directly at the blinding sun before closing his eyes -- red, yellow and black spots dancing under his eyelids. He wishes the lizard had stayed. He wishes he felt life around him again instead of the emptiness of dried-out ground, abandoned by all that’s alive.

He rolls onto his stomach and inhales the dirt, pretending that the soil smells of Texan fields. Maybe it was a forest or a green field once, but now there’s only plain, flat land, extending for miles and miles, as far as sight can reach, only enhanced by some scarce blades of sharp colorless grass pointing out to the sky here and there, and old branches scattered around. There isn’t even a whisper of wind. Jasper smiles bitterly when he realizes, not for the first time, that he misses even such a simple thing as the annoying buzz of bugs. But it’s been ages, literally, since the meadows turned gray. There’s no point in reliving the lost time.

Her setting is striking.  We meet Jasper alone “in the middle of nowhere, waiting for nothing.”  She gives enough detail, enough information to create an original, alternate world, but nothing is over-told.  Miss Dare does more for setting in a mere 5,600 worlds than many authors can do in 50,000.  She also effortlessly, seamlessly weaves this original and futuristic world into what could be Canon. The events of Twilight happened. The Cullens and Alice existed. Jasper's perfect mind recalls her hands, her mouth. But that was many lifetimes ago. And that we do not know what happened -- what left Jasper alone centuries later in a dead world -- only makes this story more powerful.

Jasper is not entirely alone, though. There are other vampires, nomads, wanderers like he. And when he hears two others approaching, he prepares himself for the encounter.

He’s prepared, sitting straight on the ground, aware of the surroundings, on guard even if it might not be necessary.

There are two of them: vampires, like him. Wanderers, as most of them are these days. It might go well and soon they’ll be on their way, as it usually happens, or Jasper will have to fight. Either way is fine with Jasper. Anything is fine at this point, in the middle of this void Jasper’s found himself in.

Miss Dare's pairing is both uncommon and unexpected, but it is immediately the most natural and perfect thing. Garrett is beautiful but travel-worn, weary, and jaded like Jasper himself. And his companion Zafrina is an intriguing and original. We learn a little about Zafrina and her unique talents in Breaking Dawn, but Miss Dare takes this character and makes it her own. Though Zafrina is not involved with Garrett - they are simply traveling partners - she plays a crucial role in the development of Garrett and Jasper's nascent relationship. And we see an exceptionally skillful and creative use of her gift -- a gift I was intrigued by in Meyer's Canon yet felt was never fully realized. Miss Dare does so, expertly. To explain would give too much away. Suffice it to say, Miss Dare delves into questions dark and painful, poignant and significant, and truly fitting for the dystopic world she creates.

There is sex, and it is hot and lovely.  It isn’t rushed or tawdry or unrealistic.  Rather, it’s logical, comforting, and tender – even if it begins as something simply to fill the void of nothingness that is all-encompassing in this post-apocalyptic world.

I loved this story.  It is a personal favorite among a myriad of wonderful Slash/Backslash entries.  The imagery is pristine. It has a dreamy, dystopic, and visceral quality to it that deftly, breathtakingly complements Miss Dare’s captivating concept. The Jasper/Garrett pairing is unique, and the world she fashions is resonant and unforgettable.  Everything about this story is well handled.  If only more fic could read like this.  Wow.

On the whole, this piece has such power. The concept alone is remarkable. The setting in the post-apocalyptic world is well executed, and the characters are believable, skilfully drawn, and heart-warming.  

Most importantly, perhaps, Miss Dare's "Ashes to Ashes" leaves us with hope in a world where there is none; it leaves us with the chance of a new beginning at a time when everything is over.

This story is powerful, heartbreaking, and thought provoking.  It is at once a beautiful and significant addition to our fandom.   -
review by Avioleta

Judges’ Choice Honorable Mention- A Genius for Affection by Karenec

One of the reasons I agreed to judge SBS this year was because I really wanted to get back to my Twilight roots. I miss it and I was looking forward to reading some really great Twi slash. None of the entries disappointed, but from the first few paragraphs, I knew that Karenec’s “A Genius for Affection” was going to be in the running for my favorite.

The story has three of my favorite things: inked Edward, a broken but perfect Carlisle, and food. What more could you ask for?! Carlisle is a doctor who is both a co-worker and good friend of Esme’s. He’s gone through a messy breakup that’s left him pretty damaged and as the story begins, it’s clear that he’s just barely coping with everything. Esme convinces him to grab them both lunch from a food truck that is parked outside of the hospital, and that’s where the story really begins.

He looks up and swallows when he meets a pair of lively grey eyes and a beautiful smile. A young man wearing a black t-shirt and green bandana over his head is waiting for Carlisle’s order.  He is leaning against the counter while people work busily in the space behind him. His gaze is friendly, but knowing, and seems to look inside Carlisle, making the world around him fade. He forgets about Jasper’s text and Esme’s pasta, that his legs are tired from walking, and that the spring air is humid.

The way Karenec describes Carlisle and Edward’s first meeting is truly beautiful. It’s totally swoon-worthy without sounding trite or forced and you really can’t help but to fall immediately in love with Edward. Carlisle is flustered but Edward rolls with it easily, comfortable and quietly confident. They continue seeing each other at lunch time and it’s clear that something is beginning to develop between them. Edward flirts in his own, casual way (slipping cookies into Carlisle’s bag!) and Carlisle internally freaks out over it all. He tries to distance himself from Edward, but ends up miserable because of it.

“Hey, doc.” As always, the young man is smiling, though today he seems somehow shy. “I wondered if we'd see you again anytime soon.”

“Ah, yeah. I went to the cafeteria yesterday, just for a change.”


“It was shitty.”

The young man’s laugh is loud, filling the air with a wonderful sound that turns people's heads. The noise is infectious, and makes Carlisle laugh too.

I would have been happy with food truck cookie flirting for several thousand more words, but Karenec throws in a plot twist disguised as a dinner party invitation. I won’t ruin the surprise, but let’s just say that from there, things really get moving. Edward and Carlisle develop a relationship outside of work and Carlisle’s past demons really come back to haunt him. Karenec masterfully writes his struggles without it seeming too angsty or over the top. Carlisle has to come to grips with his low self-esteem and the fact that he’s terrified to give any part of himself to another person. It’s completely understandable but at the same time really difficult to see Edward try so hard to prove that he’s not going to do anything to hurt Carlisle.

“I’m sorry for being such a head case, Edward. I'm... I've been starting my life over for a little while. I still get thrown off.”

Edward nods and seems to consider Carlisle’s words. His eyes glaze over in thought for a moment, and when they focus again, they are clear and determined.

“Tell me what happened.”

From there, they fall into a more comfortable “getting to you know you” routine and the burn is slooooooow! Edward is patient with Carlisle and doesn’t push for anything more than honesty and maybe a chaste kiss at the end of their dates. Things do eventually progress, but just when Edward and Carlisle seem to be finally moving into the next stage of their relationship, a ghost from Carlisle’s past shows up and sends him into a bit of a tailspin. He shuts Edward out and slips back into his old ways of self-doubt and isolation before Esme steps in and tries to snap him out of it.

“Edward is… different. He’s not careless with his emotions or his heart. When he wants something, he is fully present. All in, you could say. He would never hurt you the way Jasper did, Carlise. He doesn’t have it in him to do that to someone he cares about.”

Carlisle’s throat tightens and his eyes sting. “You don’t know how badly I wish I could believe that.”

“Trust him.”

“That’s just it. I don’t trust myself. Not my instincts or my head, and especially not my heart.”
Her mouth lifts on one side, reminding the man so strongly of Edward that he bites the inside of his cheek.

“Edward can teach you how. He has a genius for affection. You just have to let him in.”

Carlisle, thankfully, listens.

“Genius for Affection” is a beautiful story about heartbreak, redemption, and trust. It really is everything that Twi slash should be. The characters are written exactly the way you want them to be. Carlisle is so multi-layered and such an old soul while Edward is an eternal optimist but also incredibly wise. Esme is the perfect friend--she doesn’t hover too much, but she’s there when needed and is a truly lovable and relatable character.

Karenec weaves together not just the story of Edward and Carlisle’s relationship, but of Carlisle’s path to innate, personal happiness. The ending is very satisfying without feeling unattainable. I would love to see what happens next for these boys!   - review by Donnersun

Judges’ Choice 2nd Place- Tiny Blue Speedos by Mrsbeas

“Tiny Blue Speedos” by Mrsbeas is a story full of angst: real, wonderful and sweet teenage angst.

Usually when someone tells me a story is angsty, I’ll avoid reading it because all I can picture is one of the characters declaring they need to buy a can of tuna and the other one breaking it off because “oh noes, a can of tuna! we can’t be together! I’m not good enough at eating tuna!” In two words: not credible.  

But Mrsbeas takes us back to the basics, to that place and age we are all familiar with, when our friends grew boobs while our own chest persisted in staying flat (and maybe even started to get concave the more we kept staring at it). A time when guys started flirting with our girlfriends while we still looked like their younger sisters. Or if you were a boy, when the other guys started growing pubic hair, and got taller and more muscled, while you looked like a ten year-old who’d stumbled into the wrong classroom.

Mrsbeas’ Edward is full of self-doubt and frustration. Being part of the swim team means daily showers with his teammates who are all starting to show physical signs of the men they will soon be while he stays the same. His body hair won’t grow, his muscles won’t show despite a healthy dose of sports, and his cock definitely won’t grow.  Naturally, like most teenagers he becomes obsessed with these problems.

From there, it became a slippery slope of puberty. Edward could almost tell by the way his teammates started sauntering into practice who had reached this milestone next. By the end of the year, most of the guys had at least started growing pubic hair, which Edward eyed with jealousy.

He was still pretty much bald down there. And not only bald, but small.
All summer, he prayed for his turn, measuring his dick weekly for growth progress. After an agonizing eight weeks, there was little to report.

Mrsbeas describes teenage angst to perfection and with great humor: the desperation and hurt, the hope of one day being physically perfect, the awkwardness and the tricks Edward uses to try hiding the body he feels is failing him. Then he finds a way to remedy some of his problems.

As his fingers started pushing his cock around, he noticed it start to swell with arousal and realized that maybe if he jerked off, just a little, he would fill out the speedo better. As the result of thorough experimentation throughout the summer, he found that when he was hard he measured out an extra inch and a half. He didn't want to get fully hard, that might be disastrous, but just enough to fill out his cock a bit.

Thus start his wank sessions before every competition, in the process risking his coach’s wrath for his chronic tardiness. He’d do just about anything to feel like his blue speedo is there to actually hide something. Of course his semi-public wanks don’t go unnoticed for very long, and while being found out is mortifying enough for Edward, the situation is worse because of who discovers him.

It should've been quick, just a few strokes that would bring him to half-mast, but a sharp intake of breath made him freeze.

Oh God. Someone was there.

Glancing over his shoulder, Edward felt sick to his stomach. It wasn't just someone, he realized as he jerked his hand away like it was on fire. It was Jasper Whitlock, a junior, and Edward's crush for the last year, which made the situation exceptionally mortifying.

Edward’s self-doubt and angst sky-rocket. Mrsbeas’ writing keeps pulling you in, making you feel everything her character is going through, from his fears of being ridiculed by his crush to his confusion when it comes to getting to know Jasper (who does happen to have muscles, body hair, and a decent sized cock).  

His hang-ups are still there, always, but Jasper has another way of seeing things:

No buts," he said reaching down and tracing his fingertips over Edward's pecs. "You're gorgeous. Your skin is so smooth; you probably don't even need to shave before a big meet. Well, maybe your legs, but still. Do you know how much work gay porn stars put into looking like you?"

With “Tiny Blue Speedo”, Mrsbeas tells a tale about trying to accept yourself the way you are - even if perfection is nowhere in sight- and how someone telling you they find you beautiful can help you love yourself, as long as you’re clever enough to understand your opinion is only one of many.

“Tiny Blue Speedo” is delightful to read. Mrsbeas has found a perfect balance of humor and sweetness in her story.

(Oh, and brownie points to her for writing an Edward who isn’t hung like a horse on crack!)    - review by Prassacut

Judges’ Choice 1st Place- Come Away With Me by Kerigocrazy

When I saw a wolfpack fic was assigned to me, I was a little leery: the wolfpack has never been my favorite part of fic, and the idea of two of the lesser characters being drawn forward into a story gave me cause for pause.  

Then I started reading.

For those of you who don't know, I am a certified angst-hoor.  I love it.  Really, really love it.  A lot.  And this fic starts with it in spades.  There's a fatherless Embry, a Quil who's imprinted on a child, and all of the requisite wolf-pack drama that comes from being able to read everyone else's thoughts.  In addition, this fic addresses some of the issues I had with the original stories to begin with, particularly around Quil's imprint on Claire.  And it does all of this in few more than 2500 words.  


This story is everything a good fic should be - smart, sweet, angsty and incredibly well written.  Thank you, Kerigocrazy, for writing a fantastic story and sharing it with us all.  And readers, if you haven't read this yet?  Goddom, get ON IT!  :)   - review by Chicklette


Public Choice-  Pain Management by Discordia

Banner Maker’s Choice- Wrong by TwistedInMasen

Judge’s Choice (Capricorn75)- Tight Ends and Tackle Boxes by Amandac3

Judge’s Choice (Avioleta)- Diamond Kisses by pmu

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