Arabian Nights (Professionals zine by Pamela Rose)
See also Arabian Nights (disambiguation).
|Publisher:||Manacles Press/The Presses|
|Date(s):||published 1992; archived online in 2003|
|Medium:||print zine; now also online|
|External Links:||on the Circuit Archive|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Arabian Nights is a slash AU Professionals novel by Pamela Rose, originally published by Manacles Press and later put online at the Professionals Circuit Archive. It's 172 pages, 620 K, and circa 113,000 words long.
The cover and numerous interior illos (approximately 22) of the original print zine are by KOZ. The zine posted on the Pros Circuit Archive does not include the art by KOZ, but has a illo by Suzan Lovett which is archived here.
From the Author's Preface
Okay, I'll try to explain how this story came about. I suppose it's a lesson on the pitfalls of being a smartass. A long time ago (the spring of 1986), at IDICon in Houston, I thought it would be cute and clever to put a piece of art in the artshow. My artistic abilities are nonexistent, so this seemed an amusing way to make a point about inequity in fandom. So I drew two stick figures on a piece of typing paper, matted and entered it in the artshow under the title "Sour Grapes." Attached was a little note explaining that, as a writer, I could not legally sell my fan stories outright, but if anyone saw the deep, underlying passion and romance in the above illo, I might feel compelled to write them a short story. To my total amazement and mortification, it received enough bids to go up for auction. I may be the only person to receive $125 for two stick figures on typing paper. I wonder if Picasso started out this way? In any case, guilt had kicked in big time by that point, so I was more than willing to do anything the purchaser wanted. This is where I learned payback is a bitch. The story request? "I want to see Bodie as a sheik and Doyle as his captive. Kind of like the movie 'Sahara' with Brooke Shields. And I want them to make love on a horse.
The zine contains approximately 22 black and white interior illustrations by KOZ. Below is a small representative sample. Art has been included on Fanlore with the publisher's permission.
The story is set in the 1890's in London, where Raymond, youngest son of the Doyle family and the too gentle black sheep, too, is sent to Arabia in order to no longer bother his father - wanting to draw for a living certainly isn't something a Doyle should do. When he gets captured by sheik Bodie it soon turns out that the arab, while well educated and suave, is still a wild son of the desert at heart who takes what he wants ... even if it is Doyle. In order to save a friend young Raymond accepts a cruel deal, not knowing that he is accepting his own future, also. A year later Raymond, freed of his obligations, is able to leave, to pick up the shards of his life - but does he even want to live? 
An alternate universe novel with a Victorian setting in which young Raymond Doyle is sent to Arabia as aide to a diplomat and meets his fate in the exotic figure of Sheikh Bodie. The novel was written for a charity event in which the winner got to ask for what kind of story she wanted; hence, this novel isn't Pam Rose's usual type. 
Reactions and Reviews
This story is available on the Net at the Professionals Circuit Archive. I read it there first, and so fell in love with it that when I heard it was being re-printed as a zine I knew I *had* to have it! This story is about a young 19th century lad named Raymond Doyle, age 17, who is sent to serve as an attaché at a British foreign outpost in Arabia. There he is captured and made the slave of the powerful Sheik Adu Bodie al Nassar bin Jafarr. This story is epic, spanning ten years, and explores a complex relationship of love and need, and asks the question "Who is the slave and who is the master, when love is involved?" Oooooo! Also, this zine contains some *gorgeous* drawings by Koz. A *must-read*! 
This story is about a young 19th century lad named Raymond Doyle, age 17, who is sent to serve as an attaché at a British foreign outpost in Arabia. There he is captured and made the slave of the powerful Sheik Adu Bodie al Nassar bin Jafarr. This story is epic, spanning ten years, and explores a complex relationship of love and need, and asks the question "Who is the slave and who is the master, when love is involved?" Oooooo! Also, this zine contains some *gorgeous* drawings by Koz. 
I actually keep thinking that I shouldn't like this story, but... I do. If I tell you the premise of it, you'll no doubt think that you shouldn't like this story either, but the author does, I think, a fabulous job at keeping the lads in their B/D personas, even if they're playing completely different characters altogether - an Arabian sheik (Bodie) and an inexperienced, innocent young Englishman (Doyle). And yes I know, it sounds as though Doyle is going to be a wilting pathetic creature beside Bodie's strength and wisdom, doesn't it, but actually it's nothing like that at all.Doyle is, indeed, relatively submissive at the start of the fic, giving in to the whim of his overbearing uncle despite an initial flash of temper and courage, but in showing us that one outburst, Pamela Rose alerts us almost straight away to the fact that this really is Ray Doyle - just one that's been brought up in a completely different world, with completely different experiences to CI5-Doyle - and thus a different way of dealing with some things. There's a strong feeling though that this young Doyle has still got his growing up to do, and that he's going to grow up into CI5-type-Doyle through the course of the story. Which he does. And after all, we've never seen CI5-type-Doyle at age 17 either, so we don't know that he didn't start out submissive... well, except for that whole "cutting up a kid when I was just a kid meself" thing... *g* Anyway - Bodie is a dark, mysterious, and rather arrogant Arabian sheik, but we find out very quickly that he too is longing for something more than the desert, and I think it's these hints that help settle me in for what really is a very alternative-universe story! I know that they're going to end up very like "my" lads in the end, somehow, and that leaves me free to relax into the story. And it's a gorgeous story! It may not be exactly historically accurate, and there may be one or two not-quite-Brit-isms there, but it's beautifully written - focussed in on the characters, but with some lovely descriptions of the desert and its inhabitants, a jolly good set of "baddies", and some nice supporting original characters! It sort of sweeps me up every time, and even though I have read it a few times now, the pleasure isn't dimming at all - a very good sign! It is an AU story, but I kind of get the impression that everyone dips their toes in eventually (I used to swear I never would, but now... *g*) and I think this one will be a pleasant surprise to those who do! It's all about the romance of the situation too - the lads, and the desert, and the tragedy of both their lives so far - but it's not a soppy romance by any means, the lads are nothing less than two men who happen to fancy other men. It's a brilliant cross between romance and adventure, and I really do recommend it... *g* 
I probably first read this novel the year it was published - 1992 - in (shush!) a photocopied version. Did I love it? Yes, yes and yes, from the artwork by Koz to the wonderful, absurdly romantic story. Like the author, I think Bodie makes a wonderful sheikh - move over Rudolph Valentino! The story starts in the year 1892 and comes to its conclusion in 1898. In the beginning, nasty old Uncle Cedric forces a timid young Raymond Doyle to join the diplomatic service. Much against his will, he is shipped off to Arabia, where he meets his first real friend, Zachary. While looking round a market, Doyle encounters a handsome stranger who, unbeknownst to him, has one of his men follow Doyle when he leaves the market-place. Later that night, he comes calling, climbing up to Doyle's balcony and stealing a kiss ... which is rebuffed, leaving Bodie (for it is he!) to go off and sulk in his tent. Then, as the saying goes, the story really starts. Through various misadventures, Doyle finds himself lost in the desert with his wounded friend, is rescued by the handsome sheikh, then confronted by a dreadful choice between virtue and duty... The whole thing is a rollicking, romantic read - just suspend your disbelief and enjoy!