Building to Last Universe

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Title: Building to Last
Author(s): Terence
Date(s): 1990-1998
Fandom: Professionals
External Links: available at the Circuit Archive], Archived version

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Building to Last is a 17-part series (plus two non-numbered stories) of domestic bliss Bodie/Doyle fiction written by Terence and published in parts in Chalk and Cheese, The Hols of CI5, and Holiday Shrieks.

One Southern California fan copied the first 14 of these stories from Chalk and Cheese and bound then together into a custom zine.

In the first story, Doyle's girlfriend accidentally leaves two Star Trek: TOS Kirk/Spock zines (the fictitious "Stroke" and "Bondmates" published by "Shuttlecock Press") at Doyle's apartment Doyle and Bodie's sexual relationship begins after they read the zines.

All of the fiction is told in first person. Most of the stories are told from Bodie and Doyle's point of view. Some of them are told from the point of view of other characters, including by-standers, "Michael" Murphy, original characters, and a talking cat.


Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

[Assault and Battery]: Yet another thrilling installment in the "Building to Last" universe AKA Curtains, Cuddles & Cats. A worried and fretful Bodie reluctantly leaves "Raven" (his kitty cat, not Doyle in elf form) with a thirteen-year-old cat-sitter while he and Ray go away for their annual two week "fitness review." WITH MACKLIN, you berks. You've got bigger problems than will the kid change the litter box! [1]


I enjoyed the stories with Bodie's "Raven" in them. (Terence has now named these 'The Building to Last Universe' stories.) It's obvious the author knows cats! But the story that really had me rolling in the aisles was "The Grand Mating Dance." Split my sides laughing my way through that one, I did! [2]


[Dirty Nappies]: Like all the 'Building to Last' stories, this one is excellent. Somehow, Bodie's maternal feelings are right in character, at least to me. Poor Doyle! Underneath his unpleasant family memories of kids and dirty diapers, a 'mother' dwells as well. In some ways, I was almost disappointed to see Cheryl reappear and claim the baby. I'd like to see a story where Bodie and Doyle raise a child of their own. [3]
[Dirty Nappies]: Terence's 'Building to Last' universe is growing on me. Bodie and Doyle are so sweet, yet realistic. The whole thing has a refreshing lack of violence and still holds my attention. A different type of A/U. [4]
[Dirty Nappies]: This, so far, is my favorite of the 'Building to Last' series. The pitfalls that befell our boys herein exposed some serious home truths; I've been there. Some of it was rather pat; to whit: the conversation in the pub with the inordinately understanding spouse who gives Doyle the necessary insight Into his one-sided resentment toward being replaced in Bodie's affections by Bodie's sister's baby; and of course the deus ex machina solving of the baby problem altogether at the end. The confrontation between Bodie and Doyle when Doyle finally takes himself home after the pub scene struck me as being out of character--Bodie being remarkably over-emotional and Doyle uncommonly anyway; just as it Is when Bodie is renamed "Will" by Doyle. I know; that's a personal hang-up on my part. [5]
[Dirty Nappies]: Good choice of subject matter, lest we forget that gay couples have the same desires as straight couples. And very often, men want children for all the same reasons that women do--to love, to rear, to stamp with a little piece of themselves. But Terence carries this another step--and we see the often all-too-classic trap that couples get into with children: one gets lost in the children to the detriment of the partner. To see it from the POV of two males makes it that ouch more striking. And that it is Bodie who gets carried away with mothering is a fine touch--and apt, since I can see just that. I'm not sure if Raven was presented as quite jealous enough of the baby. I have 3 cats who would have total snits--the alpha cat, in particular, when he's put out, beats up on the other two, then beats up on us! [6]
[Assault and Battery]: Terence's "Assault and Battery" was the best story in the zine, which was no surprise as I've been an eager reader of the 'Building to Last' series. Murphy and Chris' relationship is quite as interesting as Bodie and Doyle's. I'd be interested to see the four of them go out to the gay discos; Murphy and Chris could show Bodie and Doyle around, and if Bodie won't dance with Ray, I bet one of the others will... And many thanks to Terence for dealing realistically with bisexual characters; Bodie and Doyle are the standard slash 'no other man but you,' but Chris and Murphy ring true. [7]
[Tell a Woman]: Another lovely installment in the Building to Last universe. I get a kick out of the extended family that is being created here, not only amongst family, but friends as well. Terence ably reminds us all that the obstacles confronting lovers are not necessarily major ones like infidelity, financial problems or death--all those niggling little problems like brothers, sisters, moms and cats go a long way to making the simplest existence vastly complicated on occasion. [8]
[To Catch a Human]: Yes, I admit it, as soon as I stop drooling over the latest cover art (and C&CS's was a real treat), I scan the Table of Contents... and head first for Terence's latest endeavor. "To Catch a Human" did not disappoint. This is a fine addition to the series which is rapidly becoming one of my favorites in the fandom. Terence writes with a deft hand and her characters are both realistic and likeable. Doyle's family in "Tell a Woman" C&C7 was terrific and I hope more of the family members show up. The scene when Mad-Merc Bodie attacked Ray's brother was a hoot and I could visualize it so well from her description. Thank you, Terence, for all of these characters, not the least of which is Raven.[9]
[To Catch a Human]: I have a confession to make that hasn't yet ostracized me from fandom, but it might someday (I hope not!)--I hate cats. (Line forms starting somewhere in Siberia, all you cat-lovers. Sorry, but I just can't bear them.) That's why I haven't yet read "To Catch a Human," even though I'm more that fond of the Building to Last stories. It's bad enough, to my point of view, that the damn cat is so prominent in most of the other stories; I'm not quite desperate enough yet to read one from the cat's POV. [10]


I've been following the Building to Last stories with a lot of interest. I like the way it's being worked out--the progression of the stories really reflects the series' title. I do wish the boys would do something about fixing Raven, though. I know, the latest story had Bodie going green at the mention of it, but maybe they could get Raven a kitty-vasectomy or something. I'm sure it's possible. Then they wouldn't be contributing to the animal overpopulation problem and Raven could still stay out all night having as much fun as ever. Ah, well, it's a minor quibble, anyway. I do enjoy the stories. [11]
The "Building To Last Universe" is great. Terence is doing a great job in building their relationship. Raven is a right clever moggy and did pick a pretty comfy home. As an aside—I agree with all the other LoCs—Raven needs a vasectomy. There are too many cats (and dogs) born unwanted, neglected and eventually dying either from starvation or being put down by (hah) humane societies. Yes, I know the way Raven has been built in this universe, but he does not need to go out. If B&D would have his tubes snipped, he will eventually lose the desire to roam; maybe not completely, but pretty much... [12]


I see Terence was bullied into coughing up her Neuter-Raven story before its time. Geez, cat-owners, get a life—it's fiction! What's next, a Neuter Bodie campaign? (Watch how I "fix" Raven in my story in this issue.) The finest moment in the BtL universe has still got to be Neil Doyle's double-whammy in "Tell a Woman" (expecting a fluffy white Angora queen and getting a scraggly stinking black torn—then expecting a big-eyed teenage catamite and getting flung up against the wall by Cujo in camo.) [13]


Terence's Building to Last Universe story was also excellent. Telling it from other points of view is great. However, I must admit that when it is one or the other (Bodie or Doyle) who are telling the story, I love it most. The feelings and emotions each one conveys is wonderful. [14]
I really liked the Building to Last story in C&Cll. So many stories seem to ignore the necessity for auxiliary personnel in any organization. [15]


I wasn't at all disappointed in the latest installment in the Building to Last universe. This plot turn shows promise. The question now is, has Terence finished with B&D? I know, find out next issue. Sigh... (-Terence says, "Absolutely not. I have at least five or six more stories left to tell in this universe... " Knowing her, this means we shall enjoy having BtL stories until well into the twenty-first century.-) [16]
Bodie and Doyle do argue a lot, sometimes in a genuinely pissed off manner and sometimes just for fun. They bicker and that's how they relate. This is not necessarily a bad thing (I love a good argument when it's for fun), it's just how they do things. But there are a lot of stories where they don't even do the teasing/arguing. The Building to Last universe springs to mind. [17]


[Bodie and Doyle calling each other by their first name] ... it DISTRACTS. The best case of this I can think of is the series of stories set in the "Building to Last Universe." There are several stories (all in Chalk & Cheese zines), the main point being that Bodie & Doyle are lovers and Bodie has a cat. I enjoyed the stories until about the 4th one. In that one, Doyle suddenly starts calling Bodie "William" after he and Bodie care for Bodie's infant nephew, William. Worse, he not only calls him William, he THINKS of him as William. It's that way through the rest of the series. [18] Drove me nuts and totally distracted me from enjoying the stories. [19]
[Assault and Battery]: Since this is the first story I ever read about the Building to Last Universe, I wanted to read more. (I still haven't read the first part, but that'll change soon!) I like the humour and the progressing relationship. As to Raven, well, I've three of those little monsters with which I share my flat and can vividly imagine all the little catastrophes even one cat can produce. [20]
[Dancing Round the Truth]: Oh, dear. It had a germ of a good idea — Doyle facing up to his aging body — and turned it into a generic and stereotypical gay lovers' tiff ("You smiled at him, you're gonna dump me for him"; "I've got a wrinkle, he'll find someone younger") that had nothing to do with the characters as they've been set forth in the previous stories. So much for the concept of Building to Last, eh? Rae Ann Weston's compelling Doyle illo on page 146 is the best part of the story, I expected better. [21]


The Building to Last series is generally too treacly for me, I liked the bit where B&D are mildly appalled to discover that they're turned on by watching a male erotic dancer -- and have to decide that they're a bit more bi than they thought they were. [22]
I don't even mind most "I'm not gay" stories -- in fact I like stories where one guy (or both) has to re-evaluate what he thought about himself because he's in love with another guy... It's the "we're not gay, we just love each other" concept that bothers me. The idea that the character couldn't go for any _other guy if the circumstances were right -- no, it's only this pure, transcendent love which has allowed them to surmount the barriers of gender. GMAFB. I rather liked the bit in the "Building to Last" series where Bodie and Doyle are a bit taken aback to discover that they can be turned on by a male stripper, and then have to come to terms with it. [23]
[Raven Has His Say]: this one really isn't slash. Sort of. It's set in the Building to Last universe, which definitely IS slash, but only the cat gets to make an appearance this time. Raven gets interviewed by a reporter for C&C. Basically a clever device for the author of the series to say she's moved on to other fandoms, but don't give up hope. The least enjoyable story, but cute enough. [24]


[Building to Last]: First time story that has a Star Trek slash fanzine as the catalyst into a relationship. I just love the idea!! Even though this a part of a long series, this story is stand alone and complete within itself!! [25]


I think you can see reflections of that socialisation in early Pros stories. The Building To Last series by Terence, for example, really does seem to be setting out to reconstruct as close a facsimile of (stereotypical) straight marriage with children and cat as possible. No mpreg, happily. But still everything I don't want to read about! [26]


  1. ^ review by JGL at The Hatstand, Archived version
  2. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #4
  3. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #5
  4. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #5
  5. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #5
  6. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #7
  7. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #5
  8. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #6
  9. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #7
  10. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #7
  11. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #9
  12. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #9
  13. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #10
  14. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #12
  15. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #12
  16. ^ from the LoC section of Chalk and Cheese #13
  17. ^ Michelle Christian, from Virgule-L, quoted with permission (November 3, 1994)
  18. ^ Actually, Doyle only calls or thinks of his partner as "William" in a single story, the 8th one called "Tell a Woman."
  19. ^ from Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (December 23, 1996)
  20. ^ from a letter of comment in Chalk and Cheese #14
  21. ^ from a letter of comment in Chalk and Cheese #14
  22. ^ Jan Levine, from Virgule-L, quoted with permission (January 27, 1997)
  23. ^ Jan Levine, from Virgule-L, quoted with permission (December 30, 1997)
  24. ^ from Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (July 4, 1997)
  25. ^ crack_van, Archived version (July 25, 2012)
  26. ^ comments in the It ain't what you do it's the way you AU it! - Tea and Swiss Roll, Archived version thread. (September 18, 2014)