Ember Days

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search
Zine
Title: Ember Days
Publisher: Gryphon Press
Editor:
Author(s): O Yardley
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): 1993
Medium: print
Size:
Genre: slash
Fandom: The Professionals
Language: English
External Links:
Emberdays.jpg
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Ember Days is a 218-page slash Professionals novel by O Yardley.

Description

From the flyer on the back of Backtrack #9:

"Anson laughed. "Have you ever happened to talk to one of their girl-friends? No, I thought not. Well, I suggest you try doing just that before you start alleging those two are am/thing but fully paid-up, card-carrying, red-blooded males."
"There's no smoke without fire." Rawlings said obstinately. "You just can't know for sure."
Bert Rawlings, another CI5 agent, is convinced Bodie and Doyle are more than just good friends and is determinded to prove it by fair means or foul. Neither of the partners is wrried by what he thinks of them ...but perhaps they should be."

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

Another favorite, though this one is very different in tone. Lots of angst as Bodie and Doyle are vastly out of sync with regards to their feelings for one another; much suffering ensues, on both sides, with plenty of resolution when they finally get their act together. I didn't really buy some of their behavior, especially in Doyle's case, but I still enjoyed the read.[1]
A CI5-based Bodie/Doyle novel in which Bodie reveals his feelings to someone he thinks is Doyle, then suffers Doyle's reaction when he finds out--until Doyle's own feelings become involved and he has his own angst of rejection to deal with. Particularly memorable portrayal of Doyle's parents as nudists. [2]

1993

One of the fannish things I've done lately (aside from coming up with all sorts of scandalous ideas for Bodie/Cowley, and it's all Jane's fault-—-well, no, a good bit of it is [S'] fault, actually) is to read O. Yardley's latest B/D novel, Ember Days, which is, sad to say, not good. The emotional motivations of the characters are incoherent and nasty, and the pacing is uneven. Rats; I was hoping for something much better from the author of Bear Necessities and Party Spirit, two of my early faves in the fandom. [3]
One Word Review: Annoying

One Sentence Review: I wanted to throw it against the wall in disgust many times.

Full Review (**minor spoilers**): Bodie has a one-night stand with a Doyle look-alike, believing it to be Doyle. The novel spends the next 200 pages exploring the twists and turns of B&D's relationship in view of this incident.

The character of the Doyle look-alike (Benjamin) is unbelievable--he spends a lot of his time mooning pathetically over his one-night encounter, having fallen passionately (and ridiculously) in love with Bodie at first glance. He gets very annoying very quickly, and stays that way.

The characterizations of Bodie and Doyle are unpleasant and also annoying (and during the middle 60-80 pages, *extremely* annoying). Bodie spends many, many chapters being sullen, guilt-ridden, and self-absorbed, and he constantly snaps at Doyle whenever Doyle tries to find out why. But Doyle is worse. After he finds out about The Incident, he turns into a needling, petty-minded, totally insensitive bastard who teases, taunts, and insults Bodie mercilessly and relentlessly. He plays one cruel emotional prank after another on Bodie. This behavior continues for months. Both characters come across overall as juvenile, and there's very little sense of any underlying friendship and/or trust between them.

Repetitiveness is a major problem--the conflict of Doyle's cruel taunting of Bodie goes on, and on, and on--repeated in varying ways for a large chunk of the novel until it truly grates on one's nerves. Even I, a die-hard Doyle fan, wished Bodie had hauled off and punched him a lot sooner than he finally did.

Another thing which I found absurd is the way Doyle spends most of the novel being thoroughly disgusted and repulsed by what Bodie did, and then in the space of two pages he turns a new leaf, suddenly ready and willing to leap into Bodie's bed. He spends 60 pages treating Bodie like something a dog rolled in, and then has this instantaneous transformation from Disgusted, Taunting Jerk to Lovesick, Abjectly Apologetic Sweet-talker. I found it laughably unbelievable.

Why I Kept Reading: #I hoped it would get better. It does, but only for the last 40 pages or so. #It's set in the world of CI5, which I greatly prefer to AU's. #There was enough other activity going on (minor CI5 jobs they work on) throughout to keep me momentarily distracted from the annoying relationship scenes. #I'm shallow, and wanted to get to the B/D sex. It was a long wait. [For the truly shallow out there, it doesn't occur until page 165.] The few sex scenes are brief and not terribly explicit.

I've also always enjoyed O. Yardley's writing. But this novel was far below her usual standard.

Summary: I'm glad I borrowed it instead of forking over bucks. [4]

All right, so I'm not going to pretend that I thought O. Yardley is the best writer on the face of the planet, and yes, I did hate what she did to our boys with their teddy bears, but still, O. Yardley was someone you could depend on, someone you could turn to when a sudden urge for warm fuzzies came over you, or when you wanted something romantic without excess sop. And then came Ember Days. My God, what a disappointment! We have the usual problem (couldn't someone have gone through and cut out at least a third of this?) that plagues O. Yardley, but this overly-long novel adds a whole new twist. It's called: what the hell is this in aid of? Or: you expect me to believe ffwf? Or: Gie's a break!

This novel has a preposterous set-up, which, as we all know, does not necessarily mean that it won't work as a good slash story, but the set-up is just first in a long line of absurdities, inanities and purely extraneous details.

In the beginning: Some mad criminal decides to get his revenge, and having entrapped a young homosexual having sex in the toilets, forces him to break into Doyle's flat to get any incriminating evidence he can find (yeh, right, a C15 agent, who's in an organisation that bugs its operatives bedroom and has the boss pop over for the occasional chat, he's going to keep the loot and the child porn mags lying on the coffee table). Whilst there, our young fairy (barely holding back the tears) hears someone come in. Panic! Fear! Holy Terror! But no. Wait. And hark, 'tis not retribution, but the Man Of His Dreams. Bodie, who's just his type, so of course, our fickle, fey young thing falls for Bodie immediately.

Bodie, seeing the figure in the dark (while our young poof can see Bodie well enough to fall in love with him, Bodie can only make out the curls and the slim figure), assumes it's Doyle. Bodie speaks. Doyle (but only in Bodie's mind: we all know it's the little queer) can only make an inarticulate sound of longing. Bodie enfolds him in his big, brawny arms, holds him to his big, masculine chest, and then kisses him. And doesn't notice that Doyle's tooth is no longer chipped. Okay, I'll buy that, for now. Bodie makes love to "Doyle'. And doesn't think it odd that either a) 'Doyle' doesn't make a sound or b) Doyle' doesn't sound like himself? O-kay. We'll let that ride.

Then, after the glorious sex that was so obviously making love, "Doyle" waits until Bodie is asleep, and leaves. Bodie, awakening in the morning, isn't in the slightest bit perturbed by the fact that not only has he just indulged in homosexuality, not only has he had sex with his fellow CI5 agent, but that fellow agent has, so to speak, buggered off without a word. But Bodie not only doesn't worry. He just gives Doyle time, blithely assuming that everything is rosy and romantic and perfect, and (I believe it's a weekend later) shows up expecting Doyle to waft gracefully into his arms and declare that they will live together for always.

But wait! Doyle—gasp—doesn't! Doyle doesn't care. In fact, Doyle behaves as if he doesn't even know he and Bodie has sex! Which is probably the single most convincing part of this story.

Anyway, much later... Doyle has been told that Bodie made love to our little fairy because he thought it was Doyle. He's told that Bodie did it because Bodie is in love with him—told all this by Cowley no less. What does Doyle do? Teases Bodie about being light in the loaferss. Indulges in homophobic thoughts. Expresses homophobic, nasty little comments to Bodie. And Bodie? Oh, Bodie suffers stoically throughout, stiff upper Up barely trembling.

So here we have Doyle being nasty for the sake of being nasty, Cowley being incredibly understanding and verging on match-making, and Bodie looking soulful, apart from when he's nasty too. The worst part of all this is that it doesn't ring true: the basic characterisations are the typical O. Yardley ones of which I am quite fond, and tacked on, clumsily, are these nasty behaviours, with no reason given, and with no real reaction from the people around them. There's a whole slew of really unnecessary detail and plot that makes no sense and serves no purpose other than upping page count and wasting a few more trees.

Then we get to the bit that made me want to throw the zine across the room (I didn't, but only because I had been warned (by an O. Yardley fan!) not to buy it but to borrow hers instead). All right, now keep in mind that Doyle has been told by both Cowley and Bodie that Bodie made love to our tearful, weak-kneed lily-livered homosexual because he thought it was Doyle. We are then expected to believe that Doyle has a mind-blowing revelation, when the homosexual tells him—guess what? That's right! Doyle is absolutely astonished to discover that Bodie loves him. Wow! How utterly convincing—if Doyle were a brain-damaged vegetable. Now, Doyle, who has been harbouring homophobic thoughts and attitudes throughout this novel, when he so suddenly discovers that Bodie loves him (even though it took several tellings before he noticed so minor a detail), does he recoil in horror? Is he disgusted? Why, of course not. He does what any other bigot would do: he suddenly decides that, as Bodie loves him, why, then, Bodie must be the most gorgeous thing he's ever seen, and what's more, if Bodie's in love with him, then if follows (naturally, and isn't this just so true?) that Doyle must be in love with Bodie.

Yeah, right. And please, do let me sell you this wonderful castle right in the centre of Glasgow...

Okay, now, apart from Bodie throwing absolutely unconvincing, unexplained and plot-destroying fits, the path of true love eventually runs smoothly. And then we come to the next big (and I do mean absolutely huge) wrench. We've had what must be close to two hundred thousand words of doom, gloom and nastiness for its own sake, and then all of a sudden, we're in what reads like an almost traditional O. Yardlcy Christmas story, right down to the romance, Doyle's unconventional family, cosy domestications and Christmas food. Coming after all this malice, it's quite a jolt, and I thought it was abysmal—until I read it separately from the main body of the novel, as if it really were just another Christmas story, and then it was fairly amusing and not that bad. But as part of the main story? Well, it worked about as well as tits on a hawg.

There are flaws in this story (choppy transitions, careless characterisations, contrived coincidences in place of plot) that I might have forgiven in a short story—but this is well over 200,000 words long. Surely, that's long enough to insert one simple sentence that would permit the reader to suspend her disbelief that Doyle just doesn't 'get' it when Cowley tells him what Bodie did, and why. In an inexperienced writer, 1 would perhaps be inclined to forgive the clumsy dialogue and inept pacing—but this is O. Yard ley! I expect much better from her. In the hands of someone new to Pros, 1 might be inclined to forgive the contradictory characterisation, but again, this is a writer who has been in the random for years, and she should know better. As a writer, she should also know better than to try to graft abberrant (for her depiction of the personalities) behaviour on without at least giving both us and the characters an excuse. And as for the depiction of homosexuals in this... Well, sufficeth to say, it inspired me to do an essay that I won't have time to finish for this issue.

This story reads like O. Yardley edited by Mephistopheles with help from Genet. It's tripping over itself, the basic characterisations (which are the same nice boys of all O. Yardley's stories) coming to a crashing halt against maliciousness behaviour which seems all the nastier for coming from Her Boys and for being so utterly unnecessary. Not only to we have gratuitous violence in this story, but we have gratuitous cruelty, and it does not sit well with O. Yardley's proven and appreciated style.

Overall, this is a badly done story, with a contrived, boring plot, poor characterisations, bad dialogue that doesn't 'sound' like Bodie or Doyle, uninspiring sex, an overabundance of absurdities and far, far too many words about far, far too many unnecessary details. It would be a disappointing read at the best of times, but coming from O. Yardley, it is a major displeasure. This comes across, sadly, like a 'keeping up with the Joneses' attempt, when the simple truth is that O. Yardley has always been a terrific Smith. [5]

1994

"Ember Days" [NOT a circuit story, from Gryphon Press]: in a word, AVOID. This novel was a major disappointment; could have (and should have) been chopped in half, and a few gaping character motivation holes filled in to boot. TEDIOUS.[6]
Usually, your zine reviews send my diaphragm into laughing cramps, but the comments on Ember Days didn't, it just read as statement of facts, because as the plot was retold, pointing out the baroque dynamic of the piece, all I could remember was the deep satisfaction I had felt as I read Ember Days. Indeed, plot, motivation and credibility are not the measnre of the satisfaction a piece of work produces. Ember Days had gripped me deep into the night several nights in a row and it was as satisfying as multi-layered junk food, (that means VERY to me). [snipped] O. Yardley's view of B&D here, actually meshes in with mine: Evil lurks below the surface, and is tamed by Cowley for the good of Queen and Cowley. Very specificaly: It was exactly what spoilt the story for you that made it for me. [7]
While I have yet to read it (and god only knows if I'll be able to wade through it) a local slash fan who did manage to read it cover to cover (boy, has she got stamina-she reads faster than a speeding bullet and it still took her 3 long weeks to finish it) described it as O. Yardley on speed writing stream of consciousness (Yow!). She said it goes off on every tangent imaginable (and then some) yet never quite manages to actually go anywhere. It's too bad, because like you, I've always looked to O. Yardley for a good, satisfying read of a certain type. My early Pro's reading was enjoyably filled with her stories. I'd like to say I'll reserve judgement until I've read EMBER DAYS but when two readers whose opinions I value highly have little positive to say, I find myself not wanting to invest the not-inconsiderable time to read it. [8]

1997

If I had to pick a couple [of Pros fics/zines] to leave out [of my "must have" list] because I simply *couldn't* afford them all, this would be one of

the two. I enjoyed it but not nearly so much as the glorious "Injured Innocents" or "Printed Circuits". Basic plot: Bodie surprises a Doyle look-alike in Doyle's flat and, via various complications, Doyle eventually finds out, puts two and two together and for a while is perfectly foul to B because he feels threatened. All does end well; but there's a somber air to much of the book. [9]

2009

Interesting read! I liked how this story unfolded, first with Bodie's mistake, then his utter shock and humiliation when he discovers that he's so very wrong. I found the middle of the story a bit slow, but overall, it was good. She has great characterisations I think. I had no problems whatsoever with Bodie, Doyle or Cowley in this. This is an great insight into how Cowley might take the news of the lads attempting to have a sexual relationship. He was devious and quite unkind a good bit of the time with his various endeavours to show Bodie and Doyle that they were making a huge mistake. I'm so glad the author showed that Cowley's machinations actually pushed them together even more. I loved Doyle's family. I admit, I laughed aloud at the 'big reveal' when Doyle's dad first met Bodie. How surprised was Cowley when Doyle dropped the news about his family and Bodie? Here he's thinking that Doyle didn't have the balls to tell his mum and dad and huge family about being Bodie's lover, and the entire thing backfired. Not only that, but Doyle proves that he's a good agent when they cut short their leave to break a big case they weren't even working on. Cowley had to be grudging grateful for the lads' professionalism. It wasn't very kind of him either, when he walked into the rest room in the final scene and opened his mouth. Even the other agents didn't find his statement called for. One note, the OC Ben was well done, I thought. I felt sorry for the rather timid lad, and Cowley's cold use of him. A thoroughly enjoyable novel from a very good writer."[10]
This was a bit dark and angsty for my taste (I do like my comfort reading), but perhaps I judged it more harshly because I expect almost unsullied sweetness and light from O. Yardley, with the odd spot of bother just serving to create tension and emphasise the love and romance (but not mush by any means). But instead there was gritty realism and vivid description, and plot and characters, all really well written... The best part of the plot for me was idea of Doyle having this double, and the relationship between Ben and Bodie in all its glory and pain and final reconciliation."[11]
This is O Yardley at her most angsty, but she is still a far cry easier to take than someone like Kate McLean or Angelfish. I must confess to enjoying the first half of the story much more than the second half. I really like how she weaves in so many details of their day-to-day workings of all the cases they are on. It really gives me a sense of being right there with the lads. I don't like the Doyle of the first half but I have to say I admire certain characteristics of his. His cleverness in thinking up ways to steal Bodie's birds and his persistence trying to get what he wants are two. My favorite scene is his tantrum when he makes Cowley change his mind about splitting up the team. But this D is a mean, unkind, manipulative, selfish bastard. The way he keeps making snide comments to B about B's perceived weakness (in his eyes) is inexcusable, and I don't blame B for taking so long to even think of trusting him again. The contrast with the D of the second half is so great they hardly seem like the same person. D's huge and boisterous family is way over the top. I like the idea that D's taking B to see them is proof that B can trust him because it gives B something he can use against D if he hurts B again. However, the emotions don't quite ring true to me. D is just too mean to B all through the first part, B is passive for too long, and the change of heart, especially on D's part, just seems a bit too sudden and unexplained. Overall I enjoyed this zine but it's not one that I will re-read often. [12]
I actually liked watching Doyle taunt Bodie and was imagining the many varied ways it could be done. It fit the particular characterizations (I'm not a stickler requiring the author mirror B/D as broadcast exactly -- otherwise how could we read Doyle as boy toy stories with a straight face). I found the main problem in this case was the repetition. You're absolutely right -- anyone (especially Bodie) would have dragged Doyle out back and re-arranged his attitudes sooner than page 90 (or so). [13]
Interesting read! I liked how this story unfolded, first with Bodie's mistake, then his utter shock and humiliation when he discovers that he's so very wrong. I found the middle of the story a bit slow, but overall, it was good. She has great characterisations I think. I had no problems whatsoever with Bodie, Doyle or Cowley in this.

This is an great insight into how Cowley might take the news of the lads attempting to have a sexual relationship. He was devious and quite unkind a good bit of the time with his various endeavours to show Bodie and Doyle that they were making a huge mistake. I'm so glad the author showed that Cowley's machinations actually pushed them together even more.

I loved Doyle's family. I admit, I laughed aloud at the "big reveal" when Doyle's dad first met Bodie. How surprised was Cowley when Doyle dropped the news about his family and Bodie? Here he's thinking that Doyle didn't have the balls to tell his mum and dad and huge family about being Bodie's lover, and the entire thing backfired. Not only that, but Doyle proves that he's a good agent when they cut short their leave to break a big case they weren't even working on. Cowley had to be grudging grateful for the lads' professionalism.

It wasn't very kind of him either, when he walked into the rest room in the final scene and opened his mouth. Even the other agents didn't find his statement called for.

One note, the OC Ben was well done, I thought. I felt sorry for the rather timid lad, and Cowley's cold use of him.

A thoroughly enjoyable novel from a very good writer. [14]
This was a bit dark and angsty for my taste (I do like my comfort reading), but perhaps I judged it more harshly because I expect almost unsullied sweetness and light from O. Yardley, with the odd spot of bother just serving to create tension and emphasise the love and romance (but not mush by any means). But instead there was gritty realism and vivid description, and plot and characters, all really well written. ...Ben was well done. The best part of the plot for me was idea of Doyle having this double, and the relationship between Ben and Bodie in all its glory and pain and final reconciliation. [15]
I admit, by comparison to many other stories, this wasn't nearly as dark and angsty as they can get. She has a fairly light touch although there is a bit more meat in this story than some others I've read. I'm probably the only person on the planet who can say they liked this zine more than Injured Innocents. *g* [16]
This is O Yardley at her most angsty, but she is still a far cry easier to take than someone like Kate McLean or Angelfish. I must confess to enjoying the first half of the story much more than the second half. I really like how she weaves in so many details of their day-to-day workings of all the cases they are on. It really gives me a sense of being right there with the lads.

I don't like the Doyle of the first half but I have to say I admire certain characteristics of his. His cleverness in thinking up ways to steal Bodie's birds and his persistence trying to get what he wants are two. My favorite scene is his tantrum when he makes Cowley change his mind about splitting up the team. But this D is a mean, unkind, manipulative, selfish bastard. The way he keeps making snide comments to B about B's perceived weakness (in his eyes) is inexcusable, and I don't blame B for taking so long to even think of trusting him again. The contrast with the D of the second half is so great they hardly seem like the same person.

D's huge and boisterous family is way over the top. I like the idea that D's taking B to see them is proof that B can trust him because it gives B something he can use against D if he hurts B again.

However, the emotions don't quite ring true to me. D is just too mean to B all through the first part, B is passive for too long, and the change of heart, especially on D's part, just seems a bit too sudden and unexplained.

Overall I enjoyed this zine but it's not one that I will re-read often. [17]
I do think there are parts that made me stop and wonder about Doyle in, as well. I found the middle of the zine drawn out, but overall I did enjoy it. Yeah, I wanted to thump both of them a few times myself! Thanks, C, for dropping in! It is a more angsty story for her, but I admit I liked this one better than Injured Innocents, even though that's many people's favourite. [18]
If nothing else it was hard to put the first part down for wanting to see what outrageous thing D was going to do to B next! [19]

References

  1. from This is Katya
  2. The Hatstand
  3. comments in Strange Bedfellows #2 (August 1993)
  4. Review posted by by Alexandra to the Virgule-L mailing list in August 1993, quoted with permission.
  5. from a fan in Strange Bedfellows APA #3 (November 1993)
  6. September 27, 1994, Alexfandra, post to Virgule-L, quoted with permission
  7. from [[Strange Bedfellows APA) #4 (February 1994), a fan commenting on a 1993 review
  8. from [[Strange Bedfellows APA) #4 (February 1994), a fan commenting on a 1993 review
  9. from a fan on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (February 21, 1997)
  10. from scfossil at The Reading Room, accessed January 2, 2011; WebCite.
  11. from jaycat92 at The Reading Room, accessed January 2, 2011
  12. from metabolick The Reading Room, September 2009, accessed January 2, 2011
  13. Morgan Dawn replying to Alexandra's review on Virgule-L 1993, quoted with permission.
  14. 2009 comments at CI5hq; reference link
  15. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  16. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  17. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  18. 2009 comments at CI5hq
  19. 2009 comments at CI5hq