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Xena Fan Fiction Recommendations:
Classic Stories: C

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(The) Cage of the Muses by baermer
Recommended by: Viv - 12.06.99
Genre: Classic
Sex/Violence Content: Alt
Length: Novel - complete

Call me a masochist, but I love to read long stories. I even love to read them over lunch, which is why I have four-hour lunches sometimes and no viable career to show for it. Anyway, baermer is one of my favorite bards in which I can indulge this questionable pleasure. Her latest, "The Cage of the Muses," is a great, epic story: Xena & Gab are summoned to Alexandria by Cleopatra. Once there, they get caught up in oodles of political intrigue, and the Gabster is offered a position as a scholar within the city's magnificent library, which gets her embroiled in even more intrigue. (I loved reading all the "behind the scenes" machinations of the library and those within its walls.)

This is a richly detailed story-the bard has done an admirable amount of research, and these realistic touches are woven into the work very well. In addition, baermer raises some thoughtful questions about knowledge and learning, and its pursuit and misuses. I also enjoy the relationship she has created between Xena & Gabrielle-they come across as true equals who maintain a profound respect for and a sensitivity to each other's needs, beliefs, and desires. In short, this is a great, rewarding read.

(The) Conquest of Canaan by Anna Game-Lopata
Recommended by: Rocky - 12.06.99
Genre: Classic
Sex/Violence Content: Alt - Rated R
Length: Novel, 199 pages - complete

Set during the Canaanite rebellion, this story has the unique perspective of siding with the natives rather than the invaders of the Old Testament. The Canaanite women worship the female aspect of god, 'Asherah' and wish only live in peace; the One God has told his invading followers eradicate these idolaters. Tamar, an Israelite, has turned against her father and goes abroad to Greece in search of the fabled 'Amazons' in hopes of finding allies in her cause. On the way she meets a Warrior and a Bard who travel together.

This isn't a story about Xena, rather it is the story of three women in her life who teach her about different degrees of love; Voula, Tamar and Gabrielle. Each of these women have their reasons for having the warrior in their lives and the only common denominator is of course 'love'. It was fascinating to watch each relationship unfold; the romance being fresh and completely different in all three women.

The marvelous thing about this whole book, is the way this author has flipped history over and shown us the alternative view point that sets any childhood religious lessons on their ear. Very well written, provocative and courageous.

Constancy by Xena’s Little Bitch (aka Julia Noel Goldman)
Recommended by: Advocate - 01.01.01
Genre: Classic
Sex/Violence Content: Alt
Length: Short Story - complete

In this sensual tale set near the end of the Norse Trilogy, Gabrielle is still asleep and waiting for her soulmate to release her from her spell. During this time, she can exercise some control over her mental driftings and thinks back to when she first started traveling with the Warrior Princess.

"Sometimes I like to think that if things had happened differently between Xena and myself in all sorts of ways, it would have created a different life for us. If we had made different choices, been slightly different people. So sometimes I play over scenes from our journeys and change them in ways I think would later improve our life, spare us at least a modicum of pain. It's not always who you kill and don’t kill; it’s sometimes who you kiss that changes your fate."

When Xena does come for Gabrielle, readers are treated to a loving, heartfelt reunion between soulmates, and the opening of a new chapter for the Bard and her Warrior. Realistic dialogue, well-written, descriptive text and the author’s fluid writing style make this short story a pleasure to read.

Creative License by Ella Quince
Recommended by: Vivian Darkbloom - 09.10.99
Genre: Classic
Sex/Violence Content: Alt
Length: Short Story - complete

All of Ella Quince's stories are so consistently well-written and lovingly crafted that it's hard to pick just one for a review. (So you can just scoot over to Ella's site and read all of them, okay?) Nonetheless, for all intensive purposes and just to make life easier, I'll select "Creative License," one of my recent faves. The plot: A warlord named Xena captures a bard named Gabrielle, who has been telling some pretty tall tales about the warrior. From there, we are presented with unique-I also think of them as radical-characterizations of Xena & Gab as very real, flesh-and-blood women, and not glamorized superheroes. In many other stories, even when X/G are presented with flaws, their shortcomings tend to be on a grand, almost melodramatic scale (like Xena's bothersome tendency toward pathology and murder, Gabrielle's tragic need to trust All the Wrong People, etc.). Not so in this story. Here, Ella renders them on a smaller scale, but with all the charm, chemistry, and dignity of the characters perfectly intact. Oh, yeah: It's damn funny, too.

Crusader: Twisted and Butchered by Silent Dee
Recommended by: Lariel - 03.24.01
Genre: Classic
Sex/Violence Content: Alt - Language Warning
Length: - complete

A lone horsewoman crests the brow of a hill, and rides recklessly into danger, intent on stopping the massacre she sees happening before her. And when she falls off her horse and knocks Gabrielle onto her ass, Xena gets really pissed: yes, it's Najara, high on Gin and ogling the bard... Baffled by the unusual but undeniable fighting skills of the strange woman, Xena and Gabrielle join the Light and go off to fight Marrat and his slavetraders. Unfortunately, the Light in this story is a little worse for wear. Several hipflasks the worse for wear actually, and after mumbling about "fags, curries, sing-songs and last night's kebab" Najara welcomes "me new best mates" into her fold. Especially Gabrielle, whom she folds with relish. Discovering the source of Najara's "powers" - her Gin hipflask - Xena hatches the perfect plan to stop her, using the perfect bait... Not for the delicate (its filled with filthy language), this story is a raucous parody of "Crusader" and if you like your comedy naughty, tasteless and ripe - this one's for you. Personally, I loved it

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