As is traditional in this genre, I'll start out with a disclaimer. I don't own any of these stories. The authors of these stories don't own the characters. That does not, however stop them from being some of the best reads I've ever gotten addicted to. I started reading fanfiction in college. I moved fairly steadily away from my starting point of anime fanfics into , and I have never left. There's a reason for that by the way, and it's not just that fanfiction is so much cheaper than buying books. There are some GREAT stories out there, with characters that you already know and love, but with a new face, a side that is so authentic it feels like the author just never got around to showing you that part. Also, slash. :-D So, in no particular order, I give you my all time favorite fanfictions.
- Contemporary Magical Innovations, by H. Granger by Kai. Just go ahead and read this now. It is, pure and simple, a hoot. It's also not too long for a single sitting. If the story were any less wonderful, I'd be tempted to say the 'footnotes' are the best part. Case in point: "To best understand the development, function, and impact of the Unconscionables--or Uns as they have come to be called--it is necessary to place this innovation in its proper historical context: the very midst of the Wizarding Cold War (The Wizarding Wars, A Concise History, Volume 14, p. 1854-2720)."
- The Bittersweet Potion Series by Alchemia Dent and Bugland. This is an incredibly creative blend of Absinthe, shape-shifting, and HP/SS pre-slash. Beyond good, with a double plus good extra of lovely art created by their devoted fans; but prepare to hunker down for a long time, as it's massive. If you're a cat-lover, I especially recommend this to you. Pay attention to the chapter titles too, for an extra giggle! Each one comes with an out-of-context quote from the chapter that will keep you giggling. For instance: Chapter 12 of A Bittersweet Potion : Cat Paraphernalia
"The glove is interactive... You're supposed to wear it."
- The Saving Connor series by Lightning on the Wave. Another long set, thought-provoking, with innovative slants on magical theory and history. A warning however: it sometimes sways to the psychologically disturbing side, involving child abuse. This is, perhaps, the original "wrong boy-who-lived" fic. It is certainly the only one I've read that did it well. Another slash fic, very slow to build, and HP/DM.
- GreenGecko is in my top five favorite authors. Two recs for her, a short story Brighter Morning has a bit of a theme. Read it and see if you like her style. If you do, then buckle up for the Resonance, Revolution, and Resolution trilogy. There is an adoption by Snape, a lot of unstated dialogue used very effectively, another unique twist on magic, and Lapps. Shockingly, this is not slash at all! Warning, the last book is also still a WIP. It is not finished, but it will be. It will also be a long time before it is finished, as she publishes regularly, but often only once a month or so.
- Snakes and Lions by Gateway Girl. Okay, so this is ancient. It's also completely irrelevant that it was finished before book 5 came out. This is still, hands down, my favorite HarryDraco friendship (erm, pre-slashy). The scene where they sneak out to get sozzled on a church steeple, where Draco comes up with the best idiot Boy Explanation for a tampon, ever... well. Yeah. I'll never look at cat toys the same way again.
- Cartographers Craft by Sam the Storyteller. From the summary: In the summer after Harry's sixth year, Harry and Remus uncover a section of the Marauder's Map which has been hidden for the past twenty years, releasing a carbon copy of sixteen-year-old from its depths. Which doesn't sound like much, perhaps, but Sam is indeed a wonderful storyteller. Also, this fic comes with its own soundtrack of cleverly chosen songs. Bonus! Also, the author has published another of original fiction, based on a book referenced throughout Cartographer's Craft. Nameless is available for free download, or in dead-tree format at Lulu.com. Double bonus! For a much more lengthy, and talented, review see this blog entry.
- Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Less Wrong. Fine, it's still a WIP. It's also got over eleven thousand reviews for a very good reason. For any logic buffs, sci-fi addicts, it's an absolute must. All science mentioned (which is a LOT) is real science. The theorems mentioned may take some research before they don't hurt your head to think about. I also encourage you to go exploring the links to various websites on his profile. The author's summary, so far as it can be summarized: Petunia married a professor, and Harry grew up reading science and science fiction. Then came the Hogwarts letter, introducing strange new opportunities to exploit. And new friends, like , and , and Professor Quirrell.
- Brave New World by Theatresm. This is SS/OC, and it is not a Mary Sue. Yes, that is possible. It is also a beautiful labor of love, with lovely illustrations and a well-designed site. It's another ancient one, completed before , thus very much AU.
- (and 10.) Okay, I'm cheating on this one a bit. I will recommend darn near anything written by Lomonaaren. At this point that's over 170 stories. Sure, some of those are one-shots, but there are also plenty of long fics, and series. Truly a prolific writer, and still posting at least a couple times a week. Also, while there are WIPs in there, nothing has been abandoned - she always finishes a project. Among the series, these are my favorites:
- The Frames of Mind series (read A Reckless Frame of Mind first, then A Determined Frame of Mind). Summary: HPDM preslash, AU post-war, no spoilers. Draco is a Psyche-Diver, and his newest patient is Auror Potter, who's been a pathological liar for over a year—and has just tried to violently end his own life.
- The Intellectual Love Affair series (A Potion Named Desire, An Alchemical Discontent, and A More Worldly Man is the order in which they'll make most sense). Summary: DH spoilers, ignores epilogue, HPDM preslash. When Ron dies, Hermione falls into a deep depression. Desperate to relieve her symptoms, Harry reluctantly approaches independent apothecary for help.
Also, if for some reason you've not read the original, here it is: Harry Potter, the Series.