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Classic, shortish fanfiction recommendations?


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Hi folks,

I'm responsible for choosing what my friends and I read on our classic fanfiction discussion podcast, Retro Fanfic Retrospective (bit.ly/retrofanfic). I’ve perused a couple of rpg.net fanfic recommendation threads from years past, and the community seems to have a good stock of knowledge.

Finding long fanfics has been easy, but finding shorter works that would make good topics of discussion has been more difficult. What fanfics do you all recommend, for pretty much any fandom whatsoever, that meet the following criteria:
  1. From about 2005 or earlier (much earlier is fine)
  2. Less than or equal to about 30,000 words
  3. Are at least debatably good, and ideally well-received by their fandom
Thanks for your time and suggestions!
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I came of age during the fanfic boom of the 90s, but there was a strong tendency for epic or tried-to-be-epic sagas and megacrossovers at the time, and those are the ones that still occupy what parts of my brainspace that are still devoted to those old stories. Even the medium-length influential stories (like 'The Bitter End,' an early darkfic that sparked massive debate about the proper characterization of Ranma 1/2 characters -- complicated by the fact that most of the fandom, including the author, had access to a vanishingly small amount of the canon, and much more secondhand or worse knowledge) tended to be two or three times the length you're looking for.

Still, there are a few authors who stand out in my memory who had some shorter works. Stefan 'Twoflower' Gagne did a lot of Ranma 1/2 and Slayers works before moving on to original fiction, and there were a few noteworthy shorter works in there: March of the Pigs (about 35,000 words, but still pretty close), Juyza's Lyric, Wicked Garden, and Hiroshi and Daisuke are Dead. I remember all of them making their own splashes back in the days when the Fanfiction Mailing List was the main distribution method for anime fanfic.

And while trying to hunt down other authors that stood out in my memory, I came across a listing for the TASS Awards, which ran from 1994 to 2002, and listed some of the most popular or influential Ranma 1/2 works each year -- and given that it was one of the top anime in American fandom for at least the first half of that period, that's pretty significant. Some of the stories may be short enough to qualify.

I'll wrack my brain overnight trying to think of ones that still stand out after all these years, but no guarantee I can think of any.

(Oh! Moving outside of anime fandom, I just thought of a short but very influential one from before I was born: 'A Trekkie's Tale,' by Paula Smith. It's the story that gave the world the term 'Mary Sue,' for good and for ill.)


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Thanks for the responses. Something like Spiderman 2 fanfic is completely off of my radar, so I appreciate the suggestions.

To clarify, we do read longer material as well. For instance, Penguinzero, we covered Twoflower's Slayers Reflect fairly early on, and we did an episode on the 250,000+ word Pokemon Master (though only our guest managed to get through it). It's just that it's necessary to space out longer reads with shorter ones in order for the project to be sustainable. And as you say, the long stuff tends to be easier to remember and more famous, so I've got no shortage of it in the backlog. Thus, any suggestions are appreciated.

The TASS awards are a great resource. When I originally conceived of the project, I expected to be returning to the Ranma 1/2 well often, but my co-hosts can only take so much so I've used it sparingly. (To date, we've covered Angus MacSpon's Autumn and Spring, and Adrian Wong's Darkness and Light, though that one was sort of an accident.)

"A Trekkie's Tale" strikes me as slightly too short even for my purposes, though if we paired it with another story that it was parodying, it would be great historical material.

Inner Voice

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I heartily commend your selections so far! I was literally about to start copy-pasting Vader's Heart into a word processor to check its wordcount before I saw you already did it. XD And also They Say Of The Elves! Very interesting bit in your podcast's intro about how the timing of that one, just as the movies hit or were about to hit, boosted its popularity. That definitely makes sense. (But I will still defend to the death that it's a delightful fic on its own merits!)


Gen and/or Canon Pairings

Star Trek TOS - Freedom is Standing in the Light by Syn Ferguson (4k words, 1980)
Although the author does write Kirk/Spock slash, this one is a friendship fic. (it can be read as slashy if the reader desires, but was originally published as gen friendship.)
alternate link - http://www.foresmutters.org/FSPtextfiles/freedom.txt
This one's so famous it has its own fanlore page: https://fanlore.org/wiki/Freedom_is_Standing_in_the_Light

Rurouni Kenshin - Lessons by Sekihara Tae (10k words, 1998-1999)
winner, 1999 Rurouni Kenshin Reader's Choice Fanfic Awards, "Comedy" category

Rurouni Kenshin - Fever Dreams by Sekihara Tae (12k words, 1998)
winner, 2000 Rurouni Kenshin Reader's Choice Fanfic Awards, "Fanfic of the Year"

LOTR - The Care and Feeding of Hobbits by Baylor (22k words, 2002-2004)

Inuyasha - Rebound by Kristine Batey (21k words, 2002)

Labyrinth/Narnia crossover - Something in the Eyes by Clever Lass (18k words, 2004)

Star Wars/Star Trek TNG crossover - For The Honor of the Empire by Peter (14k words, 1992)
All right, this one is a personal rec; I have no idea how popular or well-received it might have been--it might have been totally unknown, it might have been a cult classic for all I know--but all I know is that as a tiny Star Wars fan in 2000-ish it was my favorite Star Wars/Star Trek crossover that I found.

Star Wars - The Sith Who Brought Life Day (13k words, January 2006)
Okay this one falls outside your requested timeframe by literally one day-- it was posted on January 1, 2006. XD
original post: https://boards.theforce.net/threads...humor-angst-ocs-vader-luke-one-post.22761239/
alternate link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/377554/chapters/616150


Slash and/or Non-Canon Pairings

Naruto - Hunter's Moon by Maldoror
(pairing: Kakashi/Iruka, 9k words, 2005)

DBZ - Dragon Ball Super Z Episode 1: Walk This World by Juuhachi-gou and Mirai Bulma
(pairing: Juuhachi-gou/Mirai Trunks, 28k words, posted on FF.net in 2000, is probably from 1997-ish based on a note from 2001 about the stories being online for "over four years.")
(this might be cheating a little; the 6 episodes of DBSZ add up to over 100k words, but Walk This World can just be read as a standalone)


Putting together this rec list was incredibly disorienting, LOL...some of the stories I was like "wait, this was published THAT long ago??? I didn't think it was that old" and some others that I wanted to rec were like "wait, this was published that recently??? I felt like it was it was so much older!"
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I'm going to pitch the Ultimate Video Rumble fanfic series, one of the last great 90's/early aught's fighting game votefics, which takes the WWE Royal Rumble concept (dozens of fighters enter a super-sized ring each minute and struggle to hurl each other out in an all-out brawl), while backstage shenanigans result from putting various characters of questionable sanity or impulse control and all shades of morality together in one hotel

the first UVR is just a little past your word count quota if you want to give it a shot.

note: familiarity with old school fighting games strongly recommended, though the writers do try to keep people up to speed on whose deal is what


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On a similar topic, I was pleased to just find that ImproFanfic and Magical Troubleshooting Crossover Fighting Federation ULTRA are still up (though their message boards, which were a big part of their culture, are gone). These were round-robin style stories -- an author would come up with a premise, write a chapter, and then hand the story off to the next person on the sign-up list to continue it. MTCFF ULTRA was similar in style to the UVR -- a fighting tournament crossing over a lot of different franchises -- while ImproFanfic hosted a lot of different stories of different styles and genres. There could be a lot written about the logistical and administrative hassles of trying to get so many different authors to contribute to a coherent narrative, but that would probably require checking to see how much of the boards are still up on the Internet Archive.

The overall length of most of the fics would probably be a problem, but reading one or two chapters of them might work. Looking at the list of fighters in ULTRA might also give you an idea of what series and characters were popular in the late 90s/early 00s anime fanfic scene.


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I heartily commend your selections so far! I was literally about to start copy-pasting Vader's Heart into a word processor to check its wordcount before I saw you already did it. XD
Thanks for your efforts! If it's any easier for you, here's the website that I use for checking word count: https://wordcounter.net/website-word-count

Kreuzritter and PenguinZero: When it comes to old fighting game (-ish) votefics, MCTFF Ultra is the one I followed back in the day, and I definitely aspire to do something with it at some point. It's just a question of how best to approach it.


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on the subject of Middle Earth, from the discontinued site Subreality, there's Nine Men & a Little Lady, as the fellowship find themselves in the company of a stranger whose name changes constantly, but whom we recognize as Mary-Sue. mostly it spoofs all the MS clichés that sprung up overnight following the first movie

Word count: 3502
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