Black Hole Season

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Title: Black Hole Season
Author(s): Penumbra
Date(s): 23 January 2000
Length: 12K
Genre: MSR
Fandom: The X-Files
External Links: Black Hole Season at Gossamer

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Black Hole Season is an X-Files story by Penumbra.

Black Hole Season won three 2000 Spooky Awards: "Outstanding Short Story, Vignette or Poem" (1st Place), "Outstanding Post-Episode Story" (1st Place), and "Outstanding Non NC-17 MSR" (2nd Place).

Author's summary: "Mulder muddles through the aftermath of 'Orison'."

Reactions and Reviews

Penumbra has been recced here before, but "Black Hole Season" is my favorite of all her stories so I thought that it deserved a mention. It's Mulder's POV after the events of 'Orison,' and it's angsty and beautiful and perfect. Mulder and Scully feel like real people, struggling to cope in the aftermath of horrible events and also with their changing relationships. A must read.[1]
Black Hole Season by Penumbra would be fabulous for the title alone, but the rest of the story is just as amazing. Penumbra has a masterful vocabulary that she wields with vigor and skill in all her work; this one is just my favorite of the bunch. This short piece plays havoc with time and voice in a way that well echoes the post-Orison confusion in Mulder and Scully's world. Penumbra nails the characters' big brains and guarded, cerebral wooing of one another, but she doesn't neglect their playful side.[2]
I've always liked this fic. Loads of people are wild about Penumbra, and I'm not one of them, but Black Hole Season is one of my favorites.

It's Mulder's inner monologue, so of course it's full of images and associations. A lot of people try this and it usually fails. Too often Mulder comes off flowery and self-pitying. Penumbra's Mulder knows about loss and danger, but he's not a whipped puppy.

I was afraid that it would disappoint me on re-reading, but it held up fine.[3]
I love this story. Love it, love it, love it.

Wordy as it is, thick with allusions and darting, eccentric, dreamlike pictures ("I am the edge"), it works as poetry. Romantic poetry. It goes to show how a born writer can break rules and create a classic.

It also demonstrates how erotic something can be without sex. And how the one-bed thing is fine as long as there's a *reason*.

I believe that "Sleep, Earth Girl" is ones of the killer phrases of fanfic, right up there with "Wield the pen." [4]
I enjoyed this story, as well. It probably helped that it was short.[5]
Oh, Penumbra. I know not everyone feels this way, but for me, she cannot do wrong. I love the way she paints with words. It's the kind of way I wish I could write (and even that wish isn't original, heh).

The image of them not-dancing on the curbside is a favorite of mine, one that's always stuck with me. And of course, the section immediately following, when Scully accosts him in the elevator and then flees.

...and I tilt her chin and kiss her briefly and she smiles because the world hasn't ended but it moves, oh, it moves.

Oh, what a way to end a story. A non-ending, so to speak. Sigh.[6]
The ending is definitely one of *the* classic X-Files fic endings of all time. So is the story as a whole, of course, but I especially love the ending.[7]
I couldn't agree more... I re-read all of her short works the other day simply because I was feeling a bit rubbish and wanted something familiar... you've put it beautifully; she paints with words. I'd adore to write like that. For me, Penumbra's fics have become an integral part of my fandom; I love her Mulder and Scully.. I love her eclectic writing style; it meshes perfectly with my perception of their partnership. She writes the most exquisite Mulder/Scully moments... perfect snapshots in time...[8]
You said it! Whole portions of this fic are ingrained in my head, especially the "not-dancing on the curbside" scene and the "I am the edge" bit. Penumbra certainly raised the bar in this fandom for her unique style and memorable scenes.[9]
I also love this story, and especially the ending. Penumbra's language sometimes goes too far for my taste, but not here. There's plenty of concrete detail. Coffee, newspaper, bed--it doesn't get much better than that.[10]
Penumbra's language sometimes goes too far for my taste, but not here. Mine, too. This must be the Penumbra story for EveryFan, because I also loved this story. I thought the first few paragraphs seemed rather crowded, but after that the story started to move along nicely. I love how she writes about Mulder thinking about Scully.[11]
What I love so much about Penumbra's writing are the details she includes, the little, unpredictable, utterly real details that give her pieces so much texture. In my own writing I try to free myself up to include these asides that come out of left field, but it's not easy. I'm constantly worrying that what I'm writing is too far out, that no one will get it. Obviously Penumbra doesn't worry about that, and the result is heartening, because it's clear that people respond to the weird digressions.[12]


  1. ^ severuslovesme at Crack Van, April 2007
  2. ^ "omniscribe". 
  3. ^ comment by Conundrum at Fic Talk Message Board, September 2007
  4. ^ comment by EleanorS at Fic Talk Message Board, September 2007
  5. ^ comment by Wendy at Fic Talk Message Board, September 2007
  6. ^ leucocrystal at xf book club, April 2008
  7. ^ emily shore at xf book club, April 2008
  8. ^ outintherain at xf book club, April 2008
  9. ^ memento1 at xf book club, April 2008
  10. ^ counterphobe at xf book club, April 2008
  11. ^ wendelah1 at xf book club, April 2008
  12. ^ emily shore at xf book club, April 2008