Do you sometimes feel that there's an awful lot of shippy fic (in general) that could be "Any Two, Three or However Many Characters of Either Gender" - that the cliche takes over from the characterization?
Well, yes, obviously. In as much as that "sometimes" would be all the bloody time if it wasn't for the fact that I deliberately ignore the big fic comms and the Daily and so on. The real problem is that fanfic has a double Sturgeon's Law: 90% of it is utterly unreadable crap that isn't even punctuated or spelt properly (the depressing thing is that from what I understand of RL publishing most of the slush pile is the same, it's just that there are those heroic junior editorial staff there to stop us having to see it) and of the 10% remaining, 90% of that is just the normal sort of crap -- out-of-character, mediocre prose, that kind of thing. This means that basically we have 1% goodfic. Which in absolute terms is still lots of goodfic, written by wonderful talented people, but in relative terms is a drop in the ocean.
I think calling the Any N People thing a "cliché" is too generous, actually: it's authors using canon characters as Mary Sues to explore their feelings about love, sex and relationships despite the fact that the idealised Hollywood-style OTP twu wuv forever relationships they like to fantasise about often don't fit the characters in question at all.
Do you have any guilty pleasures when it comes to fanfic?
Porn of the '90s Trek series from the ASCEM archives at trekiverse.org. Moreover, porn of really boring canon couples like Riker/Troi and Odo/Kira, that's often at least slightly OOC but I don't care. And I read the same few ones over and over again. This is completely the opposite to my behaviour in my "active" fandoms. OTOH, I have never managed to find porn I like of the couple I ship the most in that fandom, Picard/Crusher, because for some reason I cannot begin to comprehend there's fucktons of ageplay fic of them. Which is not a kink I like much and which does not strike me as at all in character for those two (I know I just said I read stuff that's a bit OOC, but not that much). It has just now occurred to me as I type this that maybe it is something to do with the fact that Wesley is around branding Crusher as a mother? Which would be skeevy if it is the reason.
And does going back and reading nice things people have said about my fic over and over again count as a fanfic guilty pleasure? 'Cos I definitely do that.
What was wrong with Forgotten? Is it the one that has Handy as a villain? And there was a panel showing all the Doctors that the writer thought was the best Who illustration ever? (from peeeeeeet, following on from my whining about Tony Lee in the questions post)
You know those fanfics that include old school stuff but the author clearly knows nothing much about it beyond what they've read on Wikipedia and maybe watching one or two serials? It's like that, all the way through, except someone got paid actual real Earth money for it (this is something that seems to be getting to me lately, it bothers me about Demons as well -- I'm fine with things being bad, but I don't like the feeling that people got rewarded for the badness). The framing plot is moderately interesting, but the flashback sections it's there to serve feel like they've been written by some sort of new-school-fan gestalt opinion. The One-era flashback is the one that fills me with the most rage, because it subscribes to an interpretation of the original TARDIS crew's relationships and characterisation that clearly hasn't even watched to the end of Edge of Destruction.
Also, OMGmostamazingcomicsartistever Pia Guerra had to stop drawing it halfway through (for entirely valid reasons), so that was a Bad Thing because her art had been making the fail tolerable. I'd far rather they'd waited however long it took for her to be able to finish it.
And yes, it's the one with the ZOMGlookalltheDoctors picture, which really isn't all that. Handy isn't the villain, though; that was a fakeout.
And this last one has an answer short enough that I don't feel the need to cut it, though it will make precious little sense to anyone except me and the questioner:
Do you still want that copy of Years of Rice & Salt?
Oh good god, I'd completely forgotten about that! Nah, don't worry. Looking at what have become my to-read bookcases, I don't think I'd ever get round to reading it properly. I skimmed enough of it to get the gist and the more I play Civ IV (where they have a "religion" system that is as open to vehement argument about how well it models the way history really works as everything else in the game) the more I realise I can do my own alt-hists along the same lines rather more enjoyably than trudging through KSR's infodumps.