Look Through My Eyes
|Title:||Look Through My Eyes|
|Author(s):||Jane Carnall and Nicole Craig|
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The zine authors state "This story is copylefted; share as it pleases you."
Reactions and Reviews
Thank you, Jane Carnall, for writing LOOK THROUGH MY EYES (so sad-so good). I love your Cowley and Bodie; this tale tore out my heart. Works that have such a profound impact on my emotions are rare and enjoyable - even when I'm moved to tears. I'm what you would call a "Bodie-woman" even though I enjoy Doyle. Cowley has a special place in my heart, so I greatly appreciate fan stories where the Cow is featured strongly. 
I was warned. Loyal Pros fen expounded eloquently about how angry this zine made them. I'm not into Pros as TOTF [The One True Fandom], so I thought it would be interesting to read this one as a kind of outsider.
It's barely slash. It's hurt, no comfort. It's not a Wringer, a Blender, or even a Grinder. At the end, there's nothing but ash. It is also a compulsive page turner. Carnall has subtly intertwined the past and the present, letting you step thru one mind, then another. Very effective, on me. Only times I can remember feeling this way after a book were after reading Kozynki's "The Painted Bird" and Haldeman's "All My Sins Remembered."
The story covers, in detail, Cowley's capture and torture, and Bodie's efforts to bring him back to reality. It is firmly rooted in the series (with Carnall's B/C (Bodie/Cowley) twist), and a list of reference episodes is included.
Think what it would take to break a man like Cowley, then cube it. The story is not straight narrative; bits & pieces of the background are tangled with the 'action', little glimpses thru what is left of Cowley's mind and memory contrasted with what Bodie sees now. Bad juju. Slow, excruciating, painful detail and despair, never more than a paragraph or two, always from inside, never the detached observer. If the writing is effective, if it makes you *feel* - does that make it good, even if you are disturbed by the storyline?
I tend to like stories where a main character cannot determine what is real and what is not, but is constantly trying. In fact, the stories I've tried to write all have that as main theme. I think I prefer that character to find out. I'll reread 'The Mind of Man...' (B7, tortured and conditioned Avon trying to reconnect), but I don't think I'll reread 'Look...'Caveat lector. Read it at your own risk. 
I read it without the benefit of the wonderful relationship developement in the other stories--my first introduction to the concept that Bodie and Cowley were 'involved' was the hints and misdirections in this story. It hurt! Now that I've read the others, of course, I want to take another look--even though it is emphatically labelled with warnings that it is *not*, repeat *NOT* a sequel to the others... It may be the most agonizing fan story ever written--a truly depressing tour-de-force. It is, of course, extremely well-written...not a benefit, when one is drawn by the writing into reading something soexcruciatingly painful... 
As most of my friends should know... at some point in my Pros reading life I fell in love with an odd and not so popular slash pairing "Bodie/Cowley"... without belittling in any way the majority pairing (thought by many to be the OTP) between the partners "Bodie/Doyle". My conversion was caused by my reading an old story Lest These Dark Days, the first part of a trilogy, The Fox and the Wolf by Jane Carnall and some time later Step We Gaily by M. Fae Glasgow, soon followed by Grey's Minder.
Those stories were on line but not the second and third part of the trilogy, nor most of the other B/C fictions. For years I wanted to make them accessible and I even undertook to type the second part of the trilogy This classical Dilemma. It took me ages. At last, and very fortunately, I got in touch with Caroline, who was trying to gather in a single list all the "Pros" long stories (more than 50K). She very kindly proposed to scan and turn to e-docs the paper zines texts I had collected (thanks to several helpful Pros fans, which names I intend to mention in another post, since I don't know their LJ ID if they have any).
The first fruitful outcome of our common effort was, last year, the publication on line in the Proslib Yahoo group, of the second and third part of the Fox and Wolf trilogy This Classical Dilemma and As Games Are Played). I feel now guilty not to have seized this opportunity to give more publicity to this achievement and to express my gratitude to Caroline and to Frances, the hyper efficient administrator of Proslib, for their wonderful work and dedication to the fandom. I do it now, belatedly, because a new great opportunity has occurred:
Another classic and famous Bodie/Cowley story has just been published in Proslib today: Look Through My Eyes". Haleluyah! I post here the introduction I was invited by Frances to write for this occasion:
Look Through My Eyes by Jane Carnall is a very original, powerful and moving story that stirred a lot of discussion back then in 1991 and generated a whole variety of sequels, some B/D, gathered in a second zine, "A Simple Game". (They will be published later thanks to the wonderful work and dedication to the fandom of Caroline).
It's a story centered on the Bodie/Cowley pairing but it doesn't belong to the "Fox and Wolf" universe. Based on perfectly plausible premises, developed to their extreme consequences, it's darker, harsher, grittier. And yet, there is also love, tenderness and passion, expressed with the dry, understated and effective style that's peculiar to the author, and a deep, haunting sense of tragedy.
I can't honestly say you'll read it with bliss and feel like curling up with it on your couch with a box of chocolates. It's a difficult reading, hardly bearable at times. Even for the author; she said so in the after-words, joking that the first proof-reader gave it up and "ran away, screaming in the night"! LTME is not for the meek and weak of heart....I sincerely hope I'm not dissuading you from reading this novel! Sure, you won't find heart and flowers in it, but an authentic piece of good literature and keen psychology, well worth the necessary effort. There is a real suspense to the last page. The story's outcome doesn't solve everything but the sequels, including the author's, will answer the still pending questions (though in many different ways ) and in some cases even provide a happy ending.