M. Fae Glasgow

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Name: M. Fae Glasgow
Alias(es): Gael X Ile, Edi N. Burgh, Cally Donia, L.A. Scotian, The Glaswegian
Type: fanwriter
Fandoms: Blake's 7, Professionals, X-Files, Phantom Menace, Due South, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Smallville
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Contents

M. Fae Glasgow is a prolific slash fanwriter and main contributor to the zines that were published by Oblique Publications, under multiple pseuds. She is known for her intensive psychological exploration of characters and frank exploration of BDSM and sexual themes.

M. Fae Glasgow was a member of the Southern California slash community for years, attending the monthly slashbashes and the local slash convention, Escapade. At Escapade she would offer "Bedtime Readings" - readings of a new slash story she had written for the occasion.

"That wee Kiltie has a brain burning with tales to tell, psyches to be psyched, and deviancy and depravity to be dangled in front of our eyes. She is a storyteller born (bred I leave out, as breeding she has none). Moreover, she is that seeming rarity among writers: someone who can write quickly and to order. She takes constructive criticism well and with editors she trusts, she lets them do their work. She is quick-witted, talented, creative, highly intelligent, blessed of a cutting sarcastic humor, extremely Scottish, and red-headed. Without her, there would be no Oblique Publications and we would all be the poorer for that." [1]

She also was the subject of a slash filk song performed at Escapade/Escapade 1996: "MFae Glasgow, Write Me A Zine!" An excerpt (sung to the tune "Mr. Sandman"):

M Fae Glasgow,
Write me a zine!
Make it more nasty
than I've ever seen.
Tie up the hero
from London to Dover
but tie him tightly so he can't roll over!

Notable Works

Professionals

Sport Series

Note: there are more series in other fandoms and other influential work that need to be added/fleshed out.

Other Fandoms

Reactions/Reviews

Oh gods, I love MFae Maybe not every story in equal degree, but how do I count the ways....
  • she's an intelligent writer. She often throws stuff in that makes you think, in ways that aren't obvious, that in a lesser writer would seem didactic or forced.
  • she can break the rules and get away with it - like the way she sometimes messes with POV, and yet you don't notice immediately, maybe only on a closer re-reading
  • she has a huge range, from humour and romance to dark and angsty or even tragic
  • she's great for kink and smoking hot sex scenes
  • I love the feel of her writing, the rhythm and flow of it, the storytelling [2]
There are moments when I am right in the mood for anything along the Oblique lines, and other times when I won't read it because it'll just depress seven hells out of me. In general though I would say that I do love M.Fae and her incarnations... [3]
M. Fae has an unflinching honesty, a particular kind of integrity with regard to the "truth" of her narrative; it's an uncommon willingness to the see a story through to the (possibly bitter) end. Her emotional investment resonates and draws a reciprocal response from me. [4]
I see Pros fandom as divided along what I think of as "genre" lines: happy/warm fuzzy vs. unhappy/bittersweet. That's a blatant generalization, admittedly, but it seems the easiest way to describe the situation. I think of one side as the "Jane of Australia" side and the other as the "M. Fae" side. [g] I don't want people thinking it's like any of the really hostile fannish situations (e.g., the Ray wars in DS), because it's more a matter of personal preference. People who like Jane's writing tend to hate M. Fae's and vice versa, but I haven't seen a really vitrolic skirmish in my seven-ish years in Pros fandom. [5]
As usual, M. Fae Glasgow writes intelligent prose that delights me with it's grammatical perfection <g>. Her characterisations are always interesting and her stories deal with the psychological as much as the emotional - and that's definitely my cup of tea. (Inspector Dagliesh)[6]
I like MFae's style for example, because she has a very unusual way to manipulate language, and an extremely strong and personal narrative voice. I don't care if this is good or not, I just like it. I also agree that sometimes this strong narrative voice does nothing to advance the plot (traditionally, this is considered a sign of a "good" story). I still like her stories, though. [7]
"MFae's prose sometimes gives me the sense of a galloping horse, but she usually manages to keep it reined in just enough to establish the reassuring sense of authorial control." (discussing her story Sunday Bloody Sunday, go there for the full review).[8]
"DAMN good story! Damned good zine! "Cochineal" explores the relationship between Clark and Lex in a way that's well thought out, mature, and complex. An excellent read. (Smallville)[9]
This fic is actually a part of a zine, so it's in PDF form. It's wonderful long and torturous. Obi Wan is a member of a race that periodically goes through stages that Qui Gon calls "the blessing", but really can't be described as anything other than being in heat. It's complicated, by the fact that Obi Wan is in love with Qui Gon. Unfortunately, Qui Gon has taken vows of celibacy not to mention as Obi Wan's master he, literally, cannot desire him. The writing is amazing and the story is good. M. Fae Glasgow really takes the time in this fic to allow for a slow believeable, transformation. The tension between Master and Padawan is almost palpable - at some points I felt so much anticipation that I wanted to skip to the end just to ease some of it. It's wonderfully tantalizing. Take an afternoon and dive into this story. You won't regret it. (The Phantom Menace)[10]
Nanshoku: Actually, I'm not entirely comfortable recommending this, as while all the sex here is more than consensual, the age issue is just enough to mildly squick me. But considering the consensuality, the delicate preciseness of the prose, and how evoking this fic is, here on the list it is. Read...explanations of the samurai's "Beautiful Way" *coughs* or nanshoku as it is sometimes called, to better understand what the fic is basing itself on.(The Phantom Menace)[11]
I love virtually everything M. Fae has written in TPM, even though I violently disagree with the premises behind some of it - and if that isn't the sign of a good writer, I don't know what is :) She's sexy, angsty, contemplative, and enamoured of the tragedy of Q/O. In a zine with two other stories that rank in my regular re-reads list, this very short piece [On Day's End and Dinner] stands out for the economy and ease with which it paints a picture of what it might actually mean to be somewhat more than human - a Jedi. (The Phantom Menace)[12]
I love the fact that M. Fae Glasgow is one of the better writers in Due South fandom and has chosen to write Vecchio/Fraser slash. She's a wonderful writer, although her writing does tend to be on the dark side of the spectrum at times. She seems to be interested in finding different angles from which to explore her favourite characters and this makes her work terrifically interesting. She writes in many different fandoms but, unfortunately for net fans, mostly for zines. [13]
I have heard people complain before about Mfae's work as being too bleak and, more to the point, that the way she depicts the characters, particularly in Pros, as being too mean. Now, while I think that there are definitely times she goes to far in that direction, I still think that even at her worst, her depictions of Bodie and Doyle are more accurate than all the sweet and sappy "diddums" stories [14]
M. Fae Glasgow is a prolific and somewhat controversial figure in the Pros world. Her name is often synonymous with dark or depressing fic, and it's true that many of her stories are bleak. She has a penchant for exploring various of the darker and more disturbing or depraved aspects of human nature, particularly dominance and the desire to be dominated, and she often paints highly unsettling pictures of either (or both) Bodie or Doyle as violent, cruel, deviant, emotionally warped, unfeeling, selfish, masochistic, or any number of other similarly unappealing adjectives. And she not infrequently sets up almost unbearably hopeless situations that can only end in despair and loss. All these things can be extremely difficult to read - and the fact that she does them so skillfully and so compellingly only makes them more disturbing.

But what many Pros fans, particularly newbies, might not realize is that her scope is in fact much broader than these stories for which she's most well known might suggest. I think it's the fact that she wrote so many darker stories (relatively unusual in fandom) - and more, that they're so well-written, so powerful, and so difficult to forget - that has given her the reputation as a "dark" writer. The truth is that she wrote many, many Pros fics, and they range across the entire spectrum from suicidally depressing to joyfully uplifting - though it's undeniable that even her uplifting fic generally has a hint of bittersweet, or perhaps more accurately, a complexity that distinguishes it from the happily-ever-after romance-novel type of slash story, and so may not be appealing to all readers. She's not one for simplistic or one-dimensional resolutions; she seems to glory in delving into the mysteries and complexities of human nature, the murky, labyrinthine, and often twisted workings of the human mind.

Not surprisingly, then, her stories generally are characterized by a heavy focus on the internal - there's often not a lot of "action," but there's almost always a lot of introspection, exploration of the inner world, both the conscious thought processes and the lizard brain - the most deeply hidden fears and hopes and emotions that drive human behavior, often without our knowledge - along with plenty of internal conflict. And she does this exceptionally well. Her writing is extraordinary - complex, layered, seductive, powerful, seemingly effortless; she conveys the most complex or convoluted of emotions and thoughts so smoothly and skillfully. She also uses omniscient point of view about as well as I've seen in fanfic; she has a distinct narrative voice and she's often "present" in her stories in a noticeable way; there's often a clear "dear readers" sense that she is the storyteller. Though I don't love all her stories, I admire her willingness to experiment with different narrative and literary devices, with unusual or controversial themes, and she does it all so proficiently. [15]
....when I think [MFae]'s perfect, she's my second-favorite writer in fandom, and I'd guess on my top ten list of writers, period. When I think she's off (my interpretation of "off" equals hurried, bored, possibily uninterested in the story she's writing--and these are ALL my opinions, I have *not* discussed this story-by-story with M Fae--then she's still better than most but I become very frustrated with those stories. (It's my old "man, this could have been *so* much better"problem.)...

Stories I *loved* include "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", a story where Bodie hit these kids with his car while he was chasing a bad guy... I read it again about a year ago and actually found things wrong; over the top description, a slightly too-emotional Bodie... but *none* of my quibbles slowed me down in the loving of Bodie repressed and on the edge of utter breakdown. I also loved Kate Ross' characterization: she was a professional in every sense of the word, and at one point Bodie goes berserk and hits her and after he's dragged out of her office she's holding a hanky to her profusely bleeding nose and scribbling notes *furiously*, before she takes care of her injury. Tough person. I liked that.

"Mental Traveller": I've always said this was the best ST:TNG story I have ever read, and I stand by it. Picard's characterization was very sophisticated, very empathetic; his friendship (and his reasons for it) with Data were very believable and exemplary of not only his personality, but Data's. The sex was interesting, in part because of the machine aspect; it wasn't sidestepped or ignored, and for that there was this odd, slightly kinky weirdness that in NO way detracted from the scene, the sex or their personalities. [16]
Most people (even those who don't like her stories) agree that MFae is one of the better writers in fandom. (Ironically, some of those who don't like her stories, use that as further evidence that writing quality in fandom doesn't have any particular value for them.) I'm going to start with that as a given: she's a great writer, and not even talk about her writing skill or style.
Bodie's character traits shown graphically

Figure 1)Bodie's character traits shown graphically

Say these are the character traits we saw of Bodie in the aired eps of The Professionals. If you were writing a novel (even a fan novel), you'd be able to (hopefully) justify all of those dots: make a three-dimensional character (a plane, for the purposes of this analogy).

For a short story, you have to make choices; you can't show all his facets. (For the purposes of this analogy), you have to just draw a line.

Bodie as dead soulless killer

One writer draws the line 1-3-6, and writes a Bodie where those are the three most important character traits (say, the sick joke in the Bieberman ep, the time he punches his girlfriend in Close Quarters, and the time he insists on fighting Krivas hand-to-hand in Where the Jungle Ends). This gives us Bodie the 1/2 dead soulless killer....

Another author looks at these data points, and picks 2-3-5 (Three 'nice Bodie' moments. Thus we get teddy bear stories.)

M.Fae, on the other hand, (imho) sometimes deliberately chooses 1-2 or 5-6 or 6-7. Just a couple of data points, ones that may be directly contradicted in other episodes, and then hangs a story on those observed behaviors and actions.

Bodie as teddy bear

There are times when this works wonderfully. When we have seen Bodie do or say something but it was so far out of the ordinary for him that no one has known what to do with it, for example, she will write a whole story around it that no one else would have written.

I think it also works great for well-known characters that have been nearly written to death; she finds new ways to explore them.

On the other hand, this can lead to stories with extremes of characterization that seem 'off' to some, especially in Professionals stories. [17]
How MFae approaches characterization
[discussing her Blake's 7]] stories]: Now, the writing of M. Fae Glasgow---*her* Blake and Avon continue to be the tortured, confused, neurotic fellows we've all come to know and love over the years, and sex certainly doesn't make them *less* conflicted! When the emotional ante is that high, they get all that much more interesting...(While I admit she sometimes writes about practices that are a bit outre even for me, the quality of the writing is always high and the characters are never less than complex.) [18]
The thing about MFae for me is how wide and diverse her stories are. Some of them are outright PWPs (and she writes sex extremely well!); some have a comic tone; some are flat-out dark; some are tonally middle-ground combos of romance and action; and others, like this one, are delicious angst-fests. But all are relationship-focused, which really did spoil me in my expectations, that she was able to tell a huge number of great and very different stories that, despite their varying tones and outcomes and purposes, had the relationship at the heart of every one. [19]
I love that very dense writing style (though it can be taken too far). This one is probably a bit extreme, in that a lot of it takes place inside just one of their heads, and they are apart for much of it - I'm trying to recall how I felt the first time I read it, and I think that was a big obstacle for me, the separation. It grew on me, though. I understand what you mean about the deliberate cruelty, though. M Fae is tough on her characters, that's for sure, and it can be difficult to read. The thing is, I can see them being the way the story sets it up - it's a bit of a stretch, and not the characterization I prefer or want to see, but still, I can see how she gets there from canon. I like the way M Fae explores those more "extreme" views of canon - sometimes she goes too far and the characters become unlikeable for me, but that wasn't the case here - solely because of the sequel, in which they both have mellowed. I think I love it mostly because I love the coming together at the end - poor sad Bodie, and ultimately they can't resist each other. [20]

References

  1. from the editorial of Pæan to Priapus #2
  2. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  3. comment by byslantedlight at The wide wide world of zine preferences (a kind of reccing), posted November 2005
  4. from a 2003 comment at Crack Van
  5. from a 2003 comment at Crack Van
  6. Madrigal's Miscellaneous Recs for Mfae's Adam Dagliesh story "Quantum Of Solace" dated Jan 6, 2004.
  7. MS' comment on MFae's writing posted to the Pros-Lit mailing list dated Sept 10, 2001, quoted with permission.
  8. istia at here; reference link.
  9. Katy reviewing "Cochineal" (in The Big Girl's Book of Smallville Big Boys.
  10. regnabo reviewing The Phantom Menace story "Benediction" dated July 21, 2006.
  11. One Percent:Finding The Quality In Fiction review of Nanshoku.
  12. darththalia's review of On Day's End and Dinner by M. Fae Glasgow dated September 26, 2004; WebCite.
  13. Madrigal's Miscellaneous Recs for Mfae's Due South story "No Son of His" dated Jan 3, 2004.
  14. Review of Bene Dictum #1, see that page.
  15. from a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  16. Michelle Christian's post M Fae's writing to Virgule-L dated November 27, 1996, quoted with permission.
  17. Sandy Herrold's reply to the M Fae's writing thread on Virgule-L dated November 28, 1996, quoted with permission.
  18. Subject: Re: Sex breakdown by Agnes T. on Lysator dated Feb 22, 1994.
  19. istia at here, 2013; reference link
  20. comments at March 1, 2005
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