Heat-Trace

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Zine
Title: Heat-Trace
Publisher: Pear Tree Press
Editor:
Author(s): Helen Raven
Cover Artist(s): Helen Raven
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): September 1992
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Professionals
Language: English
External Links: online version of the zine
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
front cover by Helen Raven
sample text, first page of "Brother's Keeper"

Heat-Trace is a slash 255-page novel by Helen Raven. On the cover, "A Sequel of Sorts to 'Brother's Keeper.'"

Brother's Keeper is a story by Frankie.

The cover graphics for "Heat-Trace" are by Helen Raven.

The author notes that the zine was "started: May 1990, Stavanger. Finished: June 1992, London."

The fic was discussed at length in the 1992 essay: Angst and emotional dynamics in slash, as exemplified in Helen Raven's "Heat Trace".

Contents

  • Brother’s Keeper (1984) ("The idea of two wounded men finding healing in one another, becoming one another’s true family) (20 pages) It is by an anonymous author [1] and included in this zine 'with the generous permission of the author.'"
  • Heat Trace (1992) ("Imagine that Cowley does not appear for the de-briefing, or that Doyle does not overhear it, so that Doyle wakes up the next morning still not knowing what Bodie is.") (261 pages) by Helen Raven

Summary

An alternate universe Bodie/Doyle novel written as a semi-sequel to the Proslib story "Brother's Keeper". The novel diverges sharply in that, while at the end of the story, Doyle is set to join CI5, Helen Raven's novel changes the situation so Doyle never joins CI5, but remains in the Met. Bodie is in CI5. [2]
'Brother's Keeper' [14 pages], the starting point, is a B/D story by an anonymous author, which appeared on the circuit in 1984. In the story, Doyle, (still a London policeman), is abducted by a North African slaver, and rescued by Bodie. who is working undercover for CI5. As they make their way slowly home to Britain, a strong bond develops between them. The last few pages of 'Brother's Keeper' suggest that Doyle will join CI5 as Bodie's partner, and things will continue as we know them. This is very neat and plausible, but disappointing for the reader who wants more. One reader wanted much, much more, and lay awake nights wondering 'What if Doyle didn' t join CI5? How would their affair develop?' 'Heat-Trace' is the answer to these questions and the others that arose along with them. 'Brother's Keeper' is included in the zine by generous permission of the author.) [3]

From the Author's Preface

"Brother's Keeper": the story I couldn't get out of my head: "Brother's Keeper" reached the UK in 1984, and I think I read it in that year. It got to me immediately - the idea of the two wounded men finding healing in one another, becoming one another's true family. The only problem was that it was too short -- I wanted more, much more, of the two of them taking on the world. For six years I lulled myself to sleep thinking vaguely about their first meeting back in London, and then I finally took myself in hand and started writing about it.
Why "Heat-Trace" is not a true sequel: The last few pages of "Brother's Keeper" imply very strongly that Doyle will join CI5 and the two men will carry on as we know them. In "Heat-Trace", this implication is ignored. When you go on to read "Heat-Trace" after "Brother's Keeper", imagine that Cowley does not appear for the de-briefing, or that Doyle does not overhear it, so that Doyle wakes up the next morning still not knowing what Bodie is.
To the author of "Brother's Keeper": Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you first of all for writing the story. And then for giving me permission to include it in the zine, even though you had read not a word of "Heat-Trace", and could not know what I was doing to your characters. I hope you enjoy it.

From A 2010 Interview with Helen Raven

At first I found Bodie difficult and had a very strong preference for Doyle, but that changed as I worked on "Heat-Trace". I wrote myself into the Bodie of "Heat-Trace" and that experience showed me that I could write myself into the Bodie or Doyle of any other story, and I forgot about having a preference.
"Heat-Trace" was very much a product of my obsession with police-work and especially with the social-work aspects of the job...
I think the writing got tighter in my Pros stories. "Heat-Trace" has sections that are very messy, but by the later stories I was much more certain of what I was doing. On the other hand, I think "Heat-Trace" is the most difficult and ambitious of all of my Pros stories, so maybe I also learned to aim for a slightly easier life!
It's been a while since there have been any stories pestering me to write them. In the past, my inspiration probably came mostly from other fans, either in conversation or via their writing. "Tailor-Made" grew from a throw-away remark from a friend about the "fatal attraction" that Bodie held for other men. And "Heat-Trace" was a two-year effort to get Frankie's "Brother's Keeper" out of my head.

From 2014: The Pre-History of Slash: a talk for Slash Night 2

The story that took me two years to write is called “Heat-Trace”. It’s an alternate universe story in which Bodie is in CI5 but Doyle stayed in the police force, so they don’t have the luxury of working together while they conduct their secret relationship. It was inspired by this Circuit story [showing the story] called “Brother’s Keeper”, which I’d come across very early on and which had moved me deeply. But in my ideal world it would have veered off in a slightly different direction at the end, and [bringing out the zine and starting to flip through the pages, showing the double-column layout] would have been much, much, much longer.

I bought my first computer in order to write it, a SHARP PC-6220 which was one of the very first notebook machines, and at over £2,000 the most expensive single object I had ever bought at that point in my life. It had a 20 Meg hard drive! And a screen that was not black and white, but could display 16 shades of grey! It was a treasure. I've never bonded so strongly with any computer since.

The zine was published by my friend Sara, who was the main UK Pros publisher. I did the page layouts, though, and designed the cover –and yes I am fully aware that my graphic design talents lag behind those of the common woodlouse. It got my name much better known and I got a lot of feedback, including many actual handwritten letters, some of which I’ve also brought along [holding up a few of the letters] because… they fit right in with the zines as an extinct literary species.

I celebrated being done with “Heat-Trace” by writing a novella-length sequel to the Angel of Death story, and that I put on the Circuit. I re-read it three weeks ago for the first time in ten years or more, and it is seriously bizarre, and desperately romantic. Since my writing had got steadily better during the two years of writing ”Heat-Trace”, I could also re-read it without cringing at any of the dialog. While I was digging out the feedback letters from the back of my wardrobe, I found this certificate for an award it won [showing Huggies certificate], which I had completely forgotten about. [4]

Reactions and Reviews

1992

Heat Trace is billed as a "sequel of sorts" to an anonymous [5] circuit story from the mid-eighties called "Brother's Keeper" In important ways it is not, in fact, a true sequel, and the author warns us of this immediately; the last page or so of "Brother's Keeper" is assumed not to have happened [in "Heat Trace"]. More subtly, although Bodie is shown in BK as no more than reluctant to be fucked, Heat Trace plays up this reluctance, turning it into a near-psychotic inability nowhere hinted at in the original. (This is something of the same thing as happened in Waiting to Fall. If Bodie remained as nearly comfortable with being fucked as BK's author had had him, one of the wedges driving him and Doyle apart in HT would not exist.)

[snipped]

Heat Trace, unlike " Snowbound or the Tale of Two Situations," follows the traditional pattern. Helen signals that she is fully aware of this expectation early on; Doyle at first thinks that Bodies' recurring nightmares will be the catalyst for that last catharsis. "They'd get through them together. Maybe it would even bring them closer. Like the nightmare in the desert -- terrible, but leaving them entwined in a strange, exhausted peace." He tums out to be right, but not in the way that he expected. The problem with the slash story structured according to this pattern, of course, is that a scores or hundreds of pages establishing the pattern of hurt, forgiveness, and more is expected to believe that somehow the final fight, the worst of them all, can destroy that pattern instead of bolstering it as all the earlier ones did. The sadomasochistic dynamic, instead of reinforcing itself, suddenly destroys itself. Because this premise is understandably hard to swallow, authors are tempted to make that final crisis ever worse, this message that yes, any normal fight would only have been another phase in the cycle. But this -- this was no normal fight. This, implies the author, was something qualitatively different, something cleansing rather than muddying. We as slash readers know how to read for this.

Heat Trace follows this pattern scrupulously. The crisis, uniquely in my reading of slash is split into two parts: Doyle's breakup with Bodie and Bodie's immediate psychotic breakdown, followed by Doyle's slow descent into a similar condition. But the drastic nature of the crisis is enough to satisfy almost any reader. Both characters become incapable of function either socially or on the job. Both attempt suicide, Bodie passively, Doyle actively. As a cathartic destruction making way for a re-creation, it's hard to do a more thorough job.

[snipped]

Their sexual activity at the story's end is revealing, as well. Sex is one of the most vital and multivocal symbols in slash writing. It frequently represents the entire relationship microcosm: when the sex works, the relationship works, and when the lovers are experiencing difficulty, their sex life is disrupted. Throughout Heat Trace, one of the things driving Bodie and Doyle apart was an enforced inequality in their sex lives; Bodie could fuck Doyle, but Doyle could not fuck Bodie. Every attempt to even out the difference, either by both being fucked or by neither being fucked, failed. At the novel's end, the problem is solved not by achieving equality, but by learning to accept an institutionalized inequality. Bodie can still fuck Doyle, but not vice versa; the difference is that they have learned to be happy that way. Doyle has learned not to want what he cannot get. Is this another rollercoaster that has been declared stable, rather than left behind?

[snipped]]

Bodie and Doyle, at the novel's end, are still in a relationship of unequal power, and one possible reading of the novel is that that is how it should be. The necessary adjustment, according to this reading, was not to find a way to relate as equals, but to get the proper person — Bodie in the ascendancy. (Recall Doyle's musing, on p. 81, that maybe he just needed to a better master; perhaps, at the novel's end, he has found one in the transformed Bodie.) This contradicts, of course, the popular theory that slash is ideally about lovers relating as equals, that slash is at some fundamental level a search for love apart from power dynamics. I think that it is more true to say that slash is concerned with the interrelationship of love and power. Often, as here, they appear to be inseparable. Heat Trace does hold out some vague promise of an equal relationship in the future, beyond the story's end. Doyle is in the process of recovering from his breakdown, and what he will be when he is fully healed is unknown. The little that is hinted about their future lives is largely due to Doyle's impetus — their socializing in the gay community, Doyle's own work in computers — which may imply an equalization of power. But this is speculation. What we have as the story closes is a happy ending in which Doyle has finally achieved his wish of merging with the suffering he caused, and Bodie has thus been displaced into the role Doyle has vacated, the novel simultaneously presents a rhetoric of equality and a happy ending without it. The tension between the two is unresolved, perhaps unresolvable. Perhaps slash does not aim to resolve it, but to explore it. [6]

If you liked "Waiting To Fall", you'll love this story. HEAT-TRACE is a soap opera extraordinaire. Consequently, it is a very slow read, with not much action or adventure within its 255 pages.

It is a sequel to the earlier PROS circuit story "Brother's Keeper" but with the added proviso that Doyle decided not to join CI 5, the assumption being that he was quite content in life with his job as a constable with the MET.

Thus, it charts Bodie and Doyle's relationship, which eventually develops into a romance, albeit one which must be kept strictly secret due to Bodie's paranoia of Internal Security within CI 5. Everything they do is stifled by this absolute necessity. Bodie is also much inhibited because he is a childhood victim of incest. He is extremely reticent about his CI 5 activities, even though Doyle is a policeman and no great security risk (IMHO), so the reader is not exposed to any of the excitement involved with his CI 5 assignments in order to liven things up.

The novel follows Bodie's mental breakdown, Doyle's life apart from Bodie, and their eventual reconciliation. It is quite well written with lots of angst and it portrays an interesting variation, just not *my* concept of B/D. This Ray Doyle lacks the zest, determination and initiative of *my* Doyle and he is over feminized in this novel. Bodie is not so far out of my own parameters' bounds, excepting for his all-consuming paranoia regarding their homosexual relationship.

This zine is printed in 2-column format and the font is easy to read. Typos are few and far between. I would rate this novel as 6 out of 10. [7]

1993

HEAT TRACE is an apparently controversial Bodie/Doyle zine. I liked the zine partly because **SPOILER ALERT*** of its treatment of the incest Bodie suffered and his development of disassociative disorders and an almost split-personality. ***END SPOILER ALERT*** [8]
I think Heat Trace was less than perfect, though it's more a matter of pacing and character emphasis for me. It started as a Bodie/Doyle novel, and went into a long period of being a Doyle-as-policeman novel (not a bad thing in itself, but hardly B/D), skipped merrily over any corresponding Bodie-alone-in-CI5 section, and reunited the couple via a breakdown for Doyle that seemed painfully managed to be similar to the breakdown Bodie had had earlier. If B/D want to be neurotic or otherwise flawed lovers, that's much more plausible than their being cuddly sweethearts (even in CIS as given, certainly in this a/u), but the novel didn't shape quite right for the love affair they were supposed to be having. [9]

Thank you for sharing your comments on HEAT TRACE; reading your opinion helped imbue me with the courage to share mine. I have a real fear of unnecessarily hurting a writer's feelings, but have felt the desire to share some thoughts I've had since the novel came out. I apologize in advance to the readership if this doesn't agree with your view of the novel...

HEAT TRACE, a full length PROFESSIONALS novel by Helen Raven, is billed as a "sort of sequel" to the short story BROTHERS KEEPER. In addition to being a handsome fanzine that looks to have been lovingly produced, the author's writing is clear, concise and of high quality. But even with ail these good marks, I feel PROS fans should take the general tone of this 'zine into account before purchasing.

If you enjoy long, drawn out and intense internal reflections that minutely examine a character's actions and non-actions spanning months and years—then this is the novel for you. Unfortunately, my attention was not riveted by this politically correct psychodrama which featured PC Doyle adjusting to his new found homosexuality and resulting sensitivity to the brutality in his world.

Another distraction in this admittedly A/U story is the portrayal of a Bodie so horribly insane that he premeditatedly murders the only CI5 character that is supportive of a positive sexual relationship between our heroes. This act occurred in the first third of the novel and undoubtedly colored my views for the remainder of the book. I admit freely that my opinion of murder is unfashionably narrow: I rarely believe in innocent by reason of insanity and support the concept of guilty, though insane.

I plowed through the remainder of the story, hoping to find understanding and retribution. Instead, I encountered a sketchy psychological "recovery" for Bodie and a fundamental breakdown for Doyle that is far too detailed to be fictionally entertaining and too tedious to be educationally enlightening. After 240+ pages, I found the ending to be rushed, skimpy and dissatisfying—like a slice of mushy lemon pie after a too heavy meal.

Even after all this, I still say dedicated PROS fans should read HEAT TRACE— I just recommend that you borrow a copy from your friend, the obsessive coilector, before plunking your dime down on the counter. [10]

I was up nearly that late myself, but for a much less excusable reason. I was reading Heat Trace.

*****************Spoilers***********************************

A couple of you (Lezlie and Lauren, I think) had warned me about this, so I thought I was going into with a good sense of reality, and that anything better than awful would be enjoyable. 2/5ths of the way into the novel (pg 100, say) I still felt that way., The writing had its moments--some good sentences even paragraphs--and even though the plot itself seemed to be dragging on rather ridiculously, I can put up with a lot of that for good character interaction, which this has some of.

Unfortunately, right around then, our two boys break up fairly catastrophically. (its phonetics' day in the neighborhood) . First we follow Bodie for about 5 pages, and then the POV changes to Doyle. After about 5 pages, I started to wonder what Bodie was doing. After 30 pages, I wanted to scream. Yes, I know he's suffering--so what. I don't want each pathetic little moment of 18 months! alone played out in front of me especially since he is cycling through the same 3 or 4 emotions--I can do it; I was right to break up with him: I was wrong: I was a shit; I'll never make it with out him. By 60 pages, I couldn't think of why I was still reread this. By now it is obvious that there are few pages left, so even the cathartic ending is going to be short and hurried. I am getting crankier and crankier. When I finally finished the zine at BF early this morning, it is a good thing I didn't have the author's home ph number in England. I would have considered the long-distance charge no obstacle from getting to tell the author everything she had done wrong!!!

I had other problems with the novel. I have no idea whether the author has any child abuse history, but the persistence of the theme seemed almost voyeuristic at times; certainly made me uncomfortable in a way that non of the AIDS stories has ever affected me.

Worst was the fact that Doyle kept asking himself, why did the first sex he have with Bodie, work (sorry, terrible sentence)? I kept wanting to scream, "Because that story and this one don't fit!!!!!!" I could never just accept that this story was a sequel to that one.

The story is not awful--I have read plenty that were worse written. There are many sentences worthy of being read aloud to the fellow fen in the room I was reading. And a couple of spots were very effective and chilling. When Bodie says he'd kill to protect his secrets...

But it does have an unfortunate plot, incest recovery details beyond any I want to read, and two people with responsible jobs going catatonic with remarkable ease.

[Added the next day]:

I'm feeling a little bad about the review of Heat Trace. Yes, the 60 page interlude is bad and wrong--a plotting mistake that a good editor should have punished her for--but there *are* some nice things about the novel. I think the integration of known series plot points (like Bodie being gassed in ??, and agents dying in Purging and stuff) was done very well. We always knew where the original time-line had these guys. I also thought the Ray gradually coming out as gay story-line was very well done--not heavy handed, but important to the plot. In fact, if the first half wasn't good, it wouldn't be such a tragedy that the 2nd half is sooooooooo lame! [11]
*Heat-Trace* is a piece of shit. The characterizations are completely off, and although there are a few nice moments, the characters are basically unrecognizable. Bodie is portrayed as a psycho who kills anyone who suspects that he might be gay. Doyle is nearly as dysfunctional (although not lethal). I not only can't recommend it, I wish I had never read it. I really liked "Brother's Keeper," and reading this novel has ruined my enjoyment of the circuit story. [12]
I *liked* Heat-Trace, though possibly not for the same reasons others might. Yes, they are alternate u characters, not exactly drawn from the episodes, but I have a high tolerance for such things as long as there are interesting little details. One of these interesting little details was insight into the life and work of a British beat cop. A lifetime of reading British mysteries and working for a while in the library of a US police training academy had left me with little or no idea of how a Brit constable worked the beat. Now I know, and I know all about the shift system, and something about cop training, and how inexperienced cops react to a riot situation. Loved all that. I also think this is a good novel for fans of comfort; some of the sex scenes have the same feel as h/c sex scenes; since the premise of the novel is that Bodie and Doyle both had emotionally deprived childhoods, among other things, this comfort aspect fits in fairly naturally. [13]

1994

Is the ending of Heat Trace "happy"? Well, on the whole, I agree it is. It is certainly more upbeat than downbeat, anyhow. But, I would argue that it is happy not in the sense that characters have achieved the relationship that they wish, but because there is real hope that they might. I see these two men as having found the yellow-brick road and figured out which direction to go, not as having already reached the Emerald City. They found the road at the beginning of the novel; they found each other. But they kept getting lost. At first Bodie thought just shuffling around so long as he kept those bricks in sight was enough. But he really didn't try to go anywhere. Or when he and Doyle did, they just wandered up a bit, and back a bit, rather confused about direction. Then Doyle got frustrated and wandered off altogether— either there was an easier way to the Emerald City or maybe he didn't really want to go there after all. By the end of the novel one had the sense that somebody had gotten a map. But they still had a long way to go. I guess this is what Shoshanna sees as the "vague promise." I see it as less vague. And more importantly, I don't see their current position as stable. [14]

1997

Yes, Sara's zines are good, aren't they? ... Heat-Trace" was simply mind-blowing; that sustained description of mental breakdown is the most powerful I've read anywhere. I hope that doesn't put anyone off - all does end well for them but on the way, I was on the edge of my seat about what they went through. [15]
Get this if it means mortgaging the cat. Wonderful *long* novel, sort-of sequel to a circuit story called "Brother's Keeper" (I think) - the story is included in the zine so you know the set-up. Briefly (lord, this is hard! It's bloody long) - Doyle is rescued in the desert by Bodie. When they return to England, Doyle doesn't join CI5 but stays a policeman; their love-affair is played out against a backdrop of homophobia and terror on Bodie's part of anyone finding out. Story is wrenching but worth it - and does have a happy ending - but along the way, we're treated to the most tearing emotional rollercoaster it's ever been my pleasure to gasp along with. Lots of hot sex-scenes, too. If ye have tears, prepare to shed them now. . . [16]

1998

Mention of this zine always creates controversy; it is not universally beloved in Pros fandom, but oh, the rewards for the lover of angst and romance. [17]
I loved it when it first came out - I was still a newish Pros fan surrounded by long-term fans who hated the novel and thought it spoiled "Brother's Keeper", the circuit story that inspired it. I did not have a previous relationship with 'Brother's Keeper" and thought BK was more than a bit unbelievable, so I read HT as a story on its own. I'm perfectly willing to accept Pros AUs if they are well thought out, but many fans don't want the characterization stretched too far. [At least] that's the reaction of the few [local] fans I could force to read it, and I understand [L.S.] threw the zine across the room in despair that this was the new face of Pros writing.

All I can say if the new face of Pros writing was half as good I'd be happy. I notice you stayed up to finish the zine. Could not put it down, even when you hated it. No matter what you think of the characterization the novel grips.

I do understand about not recognising Bodie and Doyle; I've said that many a time about stories by middling writers, but the thing Helen Raven does is make me accept these people in her terms for her story. That takes strong, confident writing and clearly developed people and motivation, and I saw that all through the novel. I'll get to the details later. I really enjoyed the sense of place in the novel; Doyle's world felt real and specific, and the secondary characters were all individuals. The riot scenes were wonderful, with that sense of being totally absorbed and focused on the small world around you that happens in a situation like that.

It's not the Doyle of the series; this is a damaged, depressed Doyle who has never really connected to anyone before Bodie. He feels needed in the police, and competent, and it's a world he knows. He went from school to the police, and may not really know of other jobs that he might do. Factory work would certainly not make him happy, and he does not have much education for anything more interesting, even if he could imagine himself in some other job. He's alone in the world, with no family or friends outside the Force. How could he make connections to hear of other jobs?

This is not Bodie of the series; this is a Bodie who has taken incredible emotional damage and survived as best he can. This is what I mean by stretched characters. I will admit this is a Big Stretch, and almost over the top, but I go along because Helen Raven makes me believe. I find the elements of humor and sweetness are still there, but subdued, nearly eclipsed by the emotional pain and repression.

....I'm not sure of what I'd cut from Heat Trace, because changing one thing forces another to change as well. The emotional plot is so closely linked together that making Bodie much less deranged requires Doyle's reaction to pull back, and pretty soon there's no story. Details could be cut; I think the Murphy incident could go without doing real harm to the rest. I'm sure Helen Raven thought she needed that to show just how far gone Bodie was, but it seems to be the bit that is most off-putting to fans and therefore does harm to the novel. I liked the long section of Doyle without Bodie; it has some of the best cop bits, like the riot scene, and I liked watching Doyle try to make a life for himself. I missed not seeing something of Bodie's healing process, but most of the novel is from Doyle's point of view, so it was not as if Bodie was just dropped. He was gone from Doyle's life and so from the novel. And the ending; I had a lot of thoughts to ramble on about the ending, but [E] summed it up so well: "Bodie unhesitatingly and unquestioningly sacrifices his whole life for love." This is wonderful, romantic in the classic sense, and makes up for not letting us see his healing process. [18]

2001

Some stories are just too, um, dark. That's why I could never re-read The Same River or Heat Trace, despite the fact both are fantastically written by one of the best writers in the fandom. [19]

2004

....some writers can create a B & D which - in parts - aren't always that recognisable to the reader and here I'm thinking of Helen Raven's 'Bodie' in Heat-Trace, but it's the power of the writing (and loads of other things) and the way she stretches the potential of the original characters which (to me) make the whole story acceptable.[20]
I like Heat-trace also because of the portrayal of some slices of British society in the 80s: stories where all their is is the lads and their luuuuv tend to bore me, I want to see in the larger context of their life.[21]
it's a deeply disturbing and provocative piece that will leave you stunned, heartbroken and moved for days.

I bought the story originally as a used zine at Media West one year. It was described to me as a Pros A/U novel that was "dark." Heed those warnings, folks, this is not for the happy-endings, happy-go lucky crowd.

This is a very dark Pros fic. Bodie is very guilt-ridden and homophobic (tormented by inner demons that people will find out he is gay) and it tears apart his relationship with Ray, eventually driving them apart for a while.

Ray in this story is a little on the slutty side, but does love Bodie and tries very hard to love his brooding lover, but can only take so much.

Helen wrote this story as a sequel of sorts to a story called Brother's Keeper and that story is also on her site. Read that first, then read Heat Trace.

If you are in the mood for a dark intense, no holds barred angst-fest, then this is the novel for you. Helen is a very accomplished writer and pulls off the A/U and the characterizations quite well. You may not agree with "her" Bodie or "her" Doyle, but you will never forget this story! I guarantee it. [22]

2005

Believe me, if you're in the right frame of mind you'll appreciate this work. A superior piece of writing, in my humble opinion. [23]

2006

I really like "Heat Trace" despite the fact that Doyle doesn't seem quite Doyle - and maybe Bodie not quite my Bodie either. This is something of an AU in that Doyle never joined CI5, although Bodie did. The lads have both been traumatised quite severely, and Raven does a wonderful job of exploring this. London, and England of the times seems very real,and this is a wonderfully long story, full of depth and many wonderful descriptions of their inner thoughts and feelings in particular. Beware - it's very angsty too, and my heart aches for Doyle especially. A beautiful read that plunges me into some elsewhere every time I read it. Highly recommended! [24]
I'm eternally interested in how everyone has their own line of where Bodie and Doyle stop being themselves and become someone else, to the point of being hard to read about. I sometimes wonder about some of Helen Raven's fic like that for example - I adore Heat Trace, but I can see that the lads aren't themselves, as such. And yet they're not so far out, or perhaps they're different in a way that I can still relate to on some other level. Hmmn - not sure what sense that makes! And yet in... um... oh, perhaps some of Jane's fic they might still be in the CI5-verse even and yet not be close enough for me to deal with... And then again in Harlequin Airs, even though they've the different backgrounds and so on, I get them as them. [25]
Even though Heat-Trace is perhaps one of my top 3 favourite Pros stories and has influenced me more than any other, I think I'm now able to step back and be objective about it and say yes, the lads definitely aren't themselves, well, particularly Bodie. I just can't see him being able to kill off his old mates/colleagues so easily and recover from his illness so (relatively) easily. [26]

2007

I haven't read Redemption yet, though I plan to correct that omission shortly. But the same feelings gripped me after reading Heat Trace. In that case it was pages and pages of Doyle suffering. As londonronnie says, I felt as though I'd gone through everything with him. Truly it is the quality of the writing. [27]
Yes! I know exactly what you mean as Heat Trace has always been my lodestar when it comes to judging stories. It had been years since I found a story so absorbing and when I discovered Heat Trace it was like 'coming home' to the joy of reading. And afterwards, I was so down that I actually wrote to Helen Raven and told her she was responsible for my depression..... [28]
I also wrote to Helen after finishing Heat Trace, which was one of the early Pros stories I read, to tell her that she had given me a real and slightly unsettling insight into severe depression. And it is another story which I return to periodically - though not if I'm feeling at all fragile myself! And some writers seem able to add new but wholly believable dimensions to the characters which add considerably to my enjoyment. [29]
An AU, Bodie's in CI5, Ray's a police officer, they have a secret relationship and some secrets of their own. The third Pros fic I happened to read when I discovered the fandom less than a year ago, and really loved it. The story's very deep and angsty and psychological... Sometimes it gets a bit OOC, but mostly it's great. [30]
I like Heat Trace a lot with it's nearly cold matter of factly tone of both pov's and the details of how depressive a secret affair is. Never found it described this way. I'm perfectly fine with Bodie having a dark past of some kind. But that Bodie is capable of the things he's doing to Murphy is really a hard fact to swallow! I wasn't prepared for that even though you could foresee it at some point. [31]

2009

I absolutely HATE Heat Trace. I hate the characterization of Bodie and Doyle, neither of whom are recognizable as their Pros characters to me. I hate the dialogue, I hate the relationship, and I hate the storyline. But I did enjoy the anonymous story that "inspired" Heat Trace. IMO, it's amazing how Helen Raven took a good tale and totally fucked it up! Does everyone like that story? I totally don't see it. [32]
I don't use the word 'hate' often, however, I cannot abide Helen Raven's stories. I hate her characters, I don't recognize them as being Bodie and Doyle; they're horrible, depressing characters I don't want to spend any time being with. I don't care what the heck happens to them. 'Hate's' a good word for how I feel about Heat Trace. [33]
Heat-Trace is definitely an AU, and the characters are stretched in the way that they often have to be in AUs, but I love HR's writing - now she really does build atmosphere in a story, and I think she does it so well, the melancholy of this one, that it's one reason why alot of people don't like it! I can totally buy H-T B/D bearing in mind what happened to them in the desert - and if Doyle did turn down CI5 then I can absolutely see him going into a decline about it, and so on... It's not canon-CI5 B/D, but then it was never supposed to be, so... I love it though - I always have to make sure I've got a long time free for reading before I re-read though, because I never want to put it down... And there are other people who love it, because I've talked to them about it, but there are many who don't. And that makes an amazing story to me - love it or hate it, everyone remembers it - and it evokes some feeling from everyone who does. Writing that's remembered... (and yet no comparison at all to the other writing that's remembered, that's been discussed in this thread - Jane's writing! Huge gulfs between the two talents, imnsho... [34]
Heat Trace is mostly tiresome in my opinion. [35]

References

  1. This author is Frankie, something that Helen Raven notes in her 2010 interview. "'Heat-Trace'" was a two-year effort to get Frankie's "Brother's Keeper" out of my head." -- from Hatstand Interview with Helen Raven
  2. from The Hatstand
  3. from Media Monitor
  4. The Pre-History of Slash: a talk for Slash Night 2
  5. It was anonymous in 1992. The author has since been identified as Frankie.
  6. from the lengthy essay by Shoshanna, Angst and emotional dynamics in slash, as exemplified in Helen Raven's "Heat Trace", printed in Strange Bedfellows #1 (November 1992)
  7. comment at Virgule-L, quoted anonymously, (December 30, 1992)
  8. from a fan's comments in Strange Bedfellows #1 (May 1993)
  9. from a fan's comments in Strange Bedfellows #3 (November 1993)
  10. from [K S'] comments in Strange Bedfellows #3 (November 1993)
  11. Sandy Hereld at Virgule-L, quoted with permission (March 22, 1993)
  12. a comment on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (August 8, 1993)
  13. a comment on Virgule-L by Susan H, quoted with permission (August 9, 1993)
  14. An excerpt of lengthy comments by [C J] in Strange Bedfellows Apa #4 (February 1994) in response to the 1992 essay Angst and emotional dynamics in slash, as exemplified in Helen Raven's "Heat Trace".
  15. comment on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (January 30, 1997)
  16. from a fan on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (February 21, 1997)
  17. Susan H., quoted with permission from CI5 Mailing List, June 26, 1998
  18. a fan discussing the novel on the CI5 List in 1997 quoted anonymously with permission.
  19. from DIAL #20 (2001)
  20. Feedback left in 2008 at "Bodie... on the edge of salvation or utter perdition" (Angelfish) - Visions of Bodie and Doyle: Profiles of Doyle, Archived version.
  21. MS' post to the Pros-Lit mailing list on Jul 7, 2004, quoted with permission.
  22. from a 2004 comment at Crack Van
  23. comment by minesapint at About not writing and zines, Archived version posted November 2005
  24. In 2006 byslantedlight posted the following review Everybody Dies, Archived version
  25. a July 2006 comment by byslantedlight Harlequin Airs, Archived version
  26. a July 2006 comment by shooting2kill Harlequin Airs, Archived version
  27. comment by metabolick, posted July 2007 at In mourning: Kate Maclean's Redemption (major spoilers ahead), Archived version; ; reference link
  28. comment by shooting2kill, posted July 2007 at In mourning: Kate Maclean's Redemption (major spoilers ahead), Archived version; reference link
  29. comment by rosie55, posted July 2007 at In mourning: Kate Maclean's Redemption (major spoilers ahead), Archived version; reference link
  30. Fanfic Recommendation Challenge - Heat-Trace ; Flowers in the Snow, Archived version (2007)
  31. Fanfic Recommendation Challenge - Heat-Trace ; Flowers in the Snow, Archived version (2007)
  32. a 2009 comment by blkandwhtcat at The Reading Room – Mere Anarchy by Rebelcat, Archived version
  33. a 2009 comment by ma donna196 at The Reading Room – Mere Anarchy by Rebelcat, Archived version
  34. a 2009 comment at by byslantedlight at The Reading Room – Mere Anarchy by Rebelcat, Archived version
  35. a 2009 comment by jgraeme2007 at The Reading Room – Mere Anarchy by Rebelcat, Archived version