April 2004

Saiyuki recs. I'm mainly a Sanzo/Gojyo fan, but I'll read pretty much anything as long as it's done well.

First up is "The Honeymoon" by Hth, which is perhaps the only bit of Sanzo/Goku I've ever read and enjoyed, because she actually manages to keep Sanzo in character. In fact, well, I'll just let her explain:

You know how sometimes characters have a flinty exterior, and deep down they're sweet? This story is about Sanzo, who I believe has a flinty exterior and deep down, oh look, more flinty!

Then there's "Gojou", by mjj, in which Gojyo (or Gojou, however you choose to spell it) ruminates on his traveling partners and the havoc they've wreaked on his worldview. Mjj has also written "The Sanzou that Walked by Himself", an insanely hilarious parody, as well as two more of my favorites, the Master Sanzou's Lessons in the Back Garden series: "Sincerity", in which Gojyo gets a little more than he bargained for but a little less than he hoped; and "The Face You Had", in which Hakkai and Sanzo strike a deal.

P. L. Nunn is my hero, for she writes Gojyo/Sanzo the way it's meant to be: bloody, violent, resentful, and hot, with Sanzo needing it and hating himself for needing it at the same time, and his dignity running right smack up against Gojyo's pride. She's written two stories in a series, "Vindication" and "Cruel Intentions", and is working on a third, "Lost Faith"; the first can be found about halfway down this page, and the other two are further down.

"On Those Rainy Nights", by Talya Firedancer, is a partly comic, partly touching account of a Night In with the Guys. Gojyo and Hakkai have Sanzo and Goku over for mah-jongg; Goku gets sick on beer, Hakkai wins every game, and Gojyo tries not to contemplate his fascination with a certain monk.

"Maybe" by KarotsaMused is a lyrical, surprisingly elegant reflection on Gojyo's feelings for Gonou while the latter lies unconscious in his bed. It's beautiful and affecting and reads like gutterpunk poetry. A sample:

I was the down-and-dirty boy, the punk that fought for respect he never fully got and came away smiling through the blood. I was the bravado built in grime and vulgarity, shallow enough that nobody really cared if I was telling the truth. I'd make them believe.
KarotsaMused writes a Gojyo that reminds me why I fell in love with him.

And finally, because no installation of Pan's Recs would be complete without a story by Viridian5, we have "Rise": good, old-fashioned, straightforward smut in which Gojyo sets out to seduce Sanzo and, much to his surprise, succeeds. It doesn't hurt that he's got Hakkai micromanaging the whole thing.... Among her other Saiyuki stories, another favorite of mine is "No Blue Sky", in which Sanzo thinks about the events of "Requiem" and responsibility he doesn't want. V writes a fully believable, damaged Sanzo, with no false affection under his irritation, and an economy of language that makes the character ring all the more true:

I didnít have any followers, just people who wouldnít stop walking next to me. I didnít want any.

I was a Hole fan. I am unashamed. And while I loved Pretty on the Inside and Live Through This, I just couldn't get into the unrelenting cheesiness of the overly slick Celebrity Skin. There were some good songs, but overall it left me feeling... cheated, somehow.

Luckily, Courtney Love's new solo album, America's Sweetheart, makes up for it. The lyrics are a bit too meta and self-indulgent at times, including on the single "Mono", but that's always been her problem; the difference is that this time the rock is back, and so is her primal scream. The aforementioned "Mono", "I'll Do Anything", and "Hello" inspire the kind of fierce sing-a-long that gets you strange looks in public; "Zeplin Song" and "But Julian, I'm a Little Older Than You" are good-natured sendups of stoner- and neo-punk culture, respectively; and "Sunset Strip", "Almost Golden", and "Never Gonna Be the Same" are surprisingly mature, reflective songs that nevertheless still feel genuine, instead of mass-produced. The only false notes for me are "Hold On To Me" (too sappy) and "All The Drugs" (too metal), but two substandard songs out of twelve isn't such a bad average. And I've been listening to this album obsessively for the last month or so... so I'd say it was worth my money.

Old Recs
September 2003
June 2003
April 2003
February 2003
October 2002
March 2002
January 2002
November 2001

Email: panthea@populli.net

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