M. Fae Glasgow
|Name:||M. Fae Glasgow|
|Alias(es):||Gael X Ile, Edi N. Burgh, Cally Donia, L.A. Scotian, The Glaswegian|
|Fandoms:||Blake's 7, Professionals, X-Files, Phantom Menace, Due South, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Smallville|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
M. Fae Glasgow is a prolific slash fanwriter and main contributor to the zines that were published by Oblique Publications, under multiple pseuds. She is known for her intensive psychological exploration of characters and frank exploration of BDSM and sexual themes.
Her Own Words: 1998
"I finally hunted slash back to its sett in January of 1988.1 followed it into the deep, dark hole and lo and behold, nine months later, came the birth of a bouncing baby zine, the first of quite a few. When not reading, writing or watching slash, my hobbies are bondage and devouring babies—head first, of course, so they don't scream on the way down. When not indulging in slash, macrame or jelly babies, I indulge in a Real Life so sweet, it makes The Magic Roundabout look like Clive Barker meets Stephen King via Michael Slade. I've written in quite a few fandoms, mainly Blake's 7, Professionals, Due South and Holmes/Watson. My current main obsession in life is Skinner/Mulder, in which I'm writing stories of truly appalling sappiness. By my standards, anyway! I didn't find fandom (even though I looked. Hard. And long. And... oh, sorry, I was thinking about Mulder and Skinner again there!) until after I emigrated, and this will be my first British con, so I'm genuinely thrilled to bits to be here."
Bedtime ReadingsAt Escapade she would offer "Bedtime Readings" - readings of a new slash story she had written for the occasion:
That wee Kiltie has a brain burning with tales to tell, psyches to be psyched, and deviancy and depravity to be dangled in front of our eyes. She is a storyteller born (bred I leave out, as breeding she has none). Moreover, she is that seeming rarity among writers: someone who can write quickly and to order. She takes constructive criticism well and with editors she trusts, she lets them do their work. She is quick-witted, talented, creative, highly intelligent, blessed of a cutting sarcastic humor, extremely Scottish, and red-headed. Without her, there would be no Oblique Publications and we would all be the poorer for that. 
- M Fae Glasgow,
- Write me a zine!
- Make it more nasty
- than I've ever seen.
- Tie up the hero
- from London to Dover
- but tie him tightly so he can't roll over!
Some Notable Works
- Sticky Wickets by M. Fae Glasgow - in Paean to Priapus II
- Own Goal by M. Fae Glasgow - in...As a £3 Note
- A Hole in One by Edi N. Burgh - in Paean to Priapus IV
- On Thin Ice or Skate Expectations by M. Fae Glasgow - in Bene Dictum: A Dickensian Christmas
- Pulling the Other One by M. Fae Glasgow - in...As Three £3 Notes
- If I Fell by M. Fae Glasgow - in Paean to Priapus V: Multum in Parvo
These comments below represent a very, very small selection of comments, and their focus is on Glasgow's writing in general. For more detailed comments regarding individual fics, see their separate articles.
I feel I ought to defend myself against new charges. I only said that someone said a long time ago that MFae's stories "read like AUs" (and at this point I could get the original mail message and quote, but I want to avoid quoting anyone on this, in case more lawyers are hired).
I didn't mean to imply--and neither did that person, I think--that MFae's stories ARE AUs. Nope.
[...]The point I was trying to make in my post was that MFae presents characterizations that are different from those found in most slash, which is of the rose-twined cottage type. Hence they feel like AUs, where the characterization is usually not spot on the expected characterization either. I don't mean to imply (and was careful not to say) that anyone does INVALID representations of the characters... In fact, I think people who go back to the source material and use that as the basis for their characters, and can argue cogently why they see them the way they do, are doing the most interesting writing around. They are doing it in a first wave kind of way, if they aren't using fanfic standard cliches as their main tools. (I hesitate to label anyone as First Wave simply for using the original source, because I remain unclear about the final definition of the waves. If deviations from expected characterization are a third wave kind of thing, then I don't know what to say...) 
[ Blake's 7 stories]: Now, the writing of M. Fae Glasgow---*her* Blake and Avon continue to be the tortured, confused, neurotic fellows we've all come to know and love over the years, and sex certainly doesn't make them *less* conflicted! When the emotional ante is that high, they get all that much more interesting...(While I admit she sometimes writes about practices that are a bit outre even for me, the quality of the writing is always high and the characters are never less than complex.) 
I haven't read the Oblaque stories that you mentioned, but I have never been able to reconcile M. Fae's dark vision of Blake's 7 to anything I ever saw on screen. It's not just uncomfortable for me to read, it's just not a fit... There are people who prefer M. Fae's stories; I am not one of them and have told her so. 
....when I think [MFae]'s perfect, she's my second-favorite writer in fandom, and I'd guess on my top ten list of writers, period. When I think she's off (my interpretation of "off" equals hurried, bored, possibily uninterested in the story she's writing--and these are ALL my opinions, I have *not* discussed this story-by-story with M Fae--then she's still better than most but I become very frustrated with those stories. (It's my old "man, this could have been *so* much better"problem.)...
Stories I *loved* include "Sunday, Bloody Sunday", a story where Bodie hit these kids with his car while he was chasing a bad guy... I read it again about a year ago and actually found things wrong; over the top description, a slightly too-emotional Bodie... but *none* of my quibbles slowed me down in the loving of Bodie repressed and on the edge of utter breakdown. I also loved Kate Ross' characterization: she was a professional in every sense of the word, and at one point Bodie goes berserk and hits her and after he's dragged out of her office she's holding a hanky to her profusely bleeding nose and scribbling notes *furiously*, before she takes care of her injury. Tough person. I liked that."Mental Traveller": I've always said this was the best ST:TNG story I have ever read, and I stand by it. Picard's characterization was very sophisticated, very empathetic; his friendship (and his reasons for it) with Data were very believable and exemplary of not only his personality, but Data's. The sex was interesting, in part because of the machine aspect; it wasn't sidestepped or ignored, and for that there was this odd, slightly kinky weirdness that in NO way detracted from the scene, the sex or their personalities. 
Most people (even those who don't like her stories) agree that MFae is one of the better writers in fandom. (Ironically, some of those who don't like her stories, use that as further evidence that writing quality in fandom doesn't have any particular value for them.) I'm going to start with that as a given: she's a great writer, and not even talk about her writing skill or style.
Figure 1)Bodie's character traits shown graphically
Say these are the character traits we saw of Bodie in the aired eps of The Professionals. If you were writing a novel (even a fan novel), you'd be able to (hopefully) justify all of those dots: make a three-dimensional character (a plane, for the purposes of this analogy).
For a short story, you have to make choices; you can't show all his facets. (For the purposes of this analogy), you have to just draw a line.
One writer draws the line 1-3-6, and writes a Bodie where those are the three most important character traits (say, the sick joke in the Bieberman ep, the time he punches his girlfriend in Close Quarters, and the time he insists on fighting Krivas hand-to-hand in Where the Jungle Ends). This gives us Bodie the 1/2 dead soulless killer....
Another author looks at these data points, and picks 2-3-5 (Three 'nice Bodie' moments. Thus we get teddy bear stories.)
M.Fae, on the other hand, (imho) sometimes deliberately chooses 1-2 or 5-6 or 6-7. Just a couple of data points, ones that may be directly contradicted in other episodes, and then hangs a story on those observed behaviors and actions.
There are times when this works wonderfully. When we have seen Bodie do or say something but it was so far out of the ordinary for him that no one has known what to do with it, for example, she will write a whole story around it that no one else would have written.
I think it also works great for well-known characters that have been nearly written to death; she finds new ways to explore them.On the other hand, this can lead to stories with extremes of characterization that seem 'off' to some, especially in Professionals stories. 
I have heard people complain before about Mfae's work as being too bleak and, more to the point, that the way she depicts the characters, particularly in Pros, as being too mean. Now, while I think that there are definitely times she goes to far in that direction, I still think that even at her worst, her depictions of Bodie and Doyle are more accurate than all the sweet and sappy "diddums" stories 
I like MFae's style for example, because she has a very unusual way to manipulate language, and an extremely strong and personal narrative voice. I don't care if this is good or not, I just like it. I also agree that sometimes this strong narrative voice does nothing to advance the plot (traditionally, this is considered a sign of a "good" story). I still like her stories, though. 
Utterly stunning angst, perversion and psychology for the strong-minded. If you like hearts 'n' flowers slash, you'll hate it. Amazingly, this writer had little or no experience of writing outside fanwriting (was put off by an early English teacher), but she writes better than a hell of a lot of pro writers. She writes very tightly-focused pieces; deep within the characters' heads, but her dialogue is very good as well.
Her view of the A/B relationship is not a happy one, and some fans think she's unfair to Blake. I almost think that, but she puts so much convincing work into the characterisation that I believe: "given the awful things the Federation did to the inside of Blake's head, it's possible to imagine him being like this."She thinks A/V is more psychologically healthy, but can't easily imagine it being happy - the foreknowledge of what happens in canon is never far away, and she also finds it very possible to imagine Avon feeling romantically and tragically in love with Blake while knowing that he ought to, if he has any sense, love Vila.
M. Fae has an unflinching honesty, a particular kind of integrity with regard to the "truth" of her narrative; it's an uncommon willingness to the see a story through to the (possibly bitter) end. Her emotional investment resonates and draws a reciprocal response from me. 
I see Pros fandom as divided along what I think of as "genre" lines: happy/warm fuzzy vs. unhappy/bittersweet. That's a blatant generalization, admittedly, but it seems the easiest way to describe the situation. I think of one side as the "Jane of Australia" side and the other as the "M. Fae" side. [g] I don't want people thinking it's like any of the really hostile fannish situations (e.g., the Ray wars in DS), because it's more a matter of personal preference. People who like Jane's writing tend to hate M. Fae's and vice versa, but I haven't seen a really vitrolic skirmish in my seven-ish years in Pros fandom. 
M. Fae Glasgow is a prolific and somewhat controversial figure in the Pros world. Her name is often synonymous with dark or depressing fic, and it's true that many of her stories are bleak. She has a penchant for exploring various of the darker and more disturbing or depraved aspects of human nature, particularly dominance and the desire to be dominated, and she often paints highly unsettling pictures of either (or both) Bodie or Doyle as violent, cruel, deviant, emotionally warped, unfeeling, selfish, masochistic, or any number of other similarly unappealing adjectives. And she not infrequently sets up almost unbearably hopeless situations that can only end in despair and loss. All these things can be extremely difficult to read - and the fact that she does them so skillfully and so compellingly only makes them more disturbing.
But what many Pros fans, particularly newbies, might not realize is that her scope is in fact much broader than these stories for which she's most well known might suggest. I think it's the fact that she wrote so many darker stories (relatively unusual in fandom) - and more, that they're so well-written, so powerful, and so difficult to forget - that has given her the reputation as a "dark" writer. The truth is that she wrote many, many Pros fics, and they range across the entire spectrum from suicidally depressing to joyfully uplifting - though it's undeniable that even her uplifting fic generally has a hint of bittersweet, or perhaps more accurately, a complexity that distinguishes it from the happily-ever-after romance-novel type of slash story, and so may not be appealing to all readers. She's not one for simplistic or one-dimensional resolutions; she seems to glory in delving into the mysteries and complexities of human nature, the murky, labyrinthine, and often twisted workings of the human mind.Not surprisingly, then, her stories generally are characterized by a heavy focus on the internal - there's often not a lot of "action," but there's almost always a lot of introspection, exploration of the inner world, both the conscious thought processes and the lizard brain - the most deeply hidden fears and hopes and emotions that drive human behavior, often without our knowledge - along with plenty of internal conflict. And she does this exceptionally well. Her writing is extraordinary - complex, layered, seductive, powerful, seemingly effortless; she conveys the most complex or convoluted of emotions and thoughts so smoothly and skillfully. She also uses omniscient point of view about as well as I've seen in fanfic; she has a distinct narrative voice and she's often "present" in her stories in a noticeable way; there's often a clear "dear readers" sense that she is the storyteller. Though I don't love all her stories, I admire her willingness to experiment with different narrative and literary devices, with unusual or controversial themes, and she does it all so proficiently. 
I love virtually everything M. Fae has written in TPM, even though I violently disagree with the premises behind some of it - and if that isn't the sign of a good writer, I don't know what is :) She's sexy, angsty, contemplative, and enamoured of the tragedy of Q/O. In a zine with two other stories that rank in my regular re-reads list, this very short piece [On Day's End and Dinner] stands out for the economy and ease with which it paints a picture of what it might actually mean to be somewhat more than human - a Jedi. (The Phantom Menace)
I love the fact that M. Fae Glasgow is one of the better writers in Due South fandom and has chosen to write Vecchio/Fraser slash. She's a wonderful writer, although her writing does tend to be on the dark side of the spectrum at times. She seems to be interested in finding different angles from which to explore her favourite characters and this makes her work terrifically interesting. She writes in many different fandoms but, unfortunately for net fans, mostly for zines. 
There are moments when I am right in the mood for anything along the Oblique lines, and other times when I won't read it because it'll just depress seven hells out of me. In general though I would say that I do love M.Fae and her incarnations... 
I love that very dense writing style (though it can be taken too far). This one is probably a bit extreme, in that a lot of it takes place inside just one of their heads, and they are apart for much of it - I'm trying to recall how I felt the first time I read it, and I think that was a big obstacle for me, the separation. It grew on me, though. I understand what you mean about the deliberate cruelty, though. M Fae is tough on her characters, that's for sure, and it can be difficult to read. The thing is, I can see them being the way the story sets it up - it's a bit of a stretch, and not the characterization I prefer or want to see, but still, I can see how she gets there from canon. I like the way M Fae explores those more "extreme" views of canon - sometimes she goes too far and the characters become unlikeable for me, but that wasn't the case here - solely because of the sequel, in which they both have mellowed. I think I love it mostly because I love the coming together at the end - poor sad Bodie, and ultimately they can't resist each other. 
This fic is actually a part of a zine, so it's in PDF form. It's wonderful long and torturous. Obi Wan is a member of a race that periodically goes through stages that Qui Gon calls "the blessing", but really can't be described as anything other than being in heat. It's complicated, by the fact that Obi Wan is in love with Qui Gon. Unfortunately, Qui Gon has taken vows of celibacy not to mention as Obi Wan's master he, literally, cannot desire him. The writing is amazing and the story is good. M. Fae Glasgow really takes the time in this fic to allow for a slow believeable, transformation. The tension between Master and Padawan is almost palpable - at some points I felt so much anticipation that I wanted to skip to the end just to ease some of it. It's wonderfully tantalizing. Take an afternoon and dive into this story. You won't regret it. (The Phantom Menace)
M. Fae Glasgow, who probably did more than any other single person to push the sexual boundaries of slash in the late 80s and early 90s (she may have done more than any two or three people put together!), once came into a panel at which people were discussing "Why do we like slash?" and said aloud that that was an easy question to answer: "We like it because it makes us hot and wet!" And people were a little taken aback; it's not that they disagreed, exactly, but I had certainly never heard anyone say it out loud and flat like that. 
Oh gods, I love MFae Maybe not every story in equal degree, but how do I count the ways....
- she's an intelligent writer. She often throws stuff in that makes you think, in ways that aren't obvious, that in a lesser writer would seem didactic or forced.
- she can break the rules and get away with it - like the way she sometimes messes with POV, and yet you don't notice immediately, maybe only on a closer re-reading
- she has a huge range, from humour and romance to dark and angsty or even tragic
- she's great for kink and smoking hot sex scenes
- I love the feel of her writing, the rhythm and flow of it, the storytelling 
The thing about MFae for me is how wide and diverse her stories are. Some of them are outright PWPs (and she writes sex extremely well!); some have a comic tone; some are flat-out dark; some are tonally middle-ground combos of romance and action; and others, like this one, are delicious angst-fests. But all are relationship-focused, which really did spoil me in my expectations, that she was able to tell a huge number of great and very different stories that, despite their varying tones and outcomes and purposes, had the relationship at the heart of every one. 
- from the editorial of Pæan to Priapus #2
- comment by Lynn C at Virgule-L (quoted with permission), October 9, 1993. Some context: The Wave Theory of Slash, an essay by Lezlie Shell had just been distributed to many fans.
- Subject: Re: Sex breakdown by Agnes T. on Lysator dated Feb 22, 1994.
- from a fan in Rallying Call #17 (April 1996)
- Michelle Christian's post M Fae's writing to Virgule-L dated November 27, 1996, quoted with permission.
- Sandy Herrold's reply to the M Fae's writing thread on Virgule-L dated November 28, 1996, quoted with permission.
- In 1998 Michelle Christian posted this 1998 review to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission, see Bene Dictum #1,
- MS' comment on MFae's writing posted to the Pros-Lit mailing list dated Sept 10, 2001, quoted with permission.
- 2002 comments by Predatrix
- from a 2003 comment at Crack Van
- from a 2003 comment at Crack Van
- from a 2004 comment at Crack Van
- Madrigal's Miscellaneous Recs for Mfae's Adam Dagliesh story "Quantum Of Solace" dated Jan 6, 2004.
- darththalia's review of On Day's End and Dinner by M. Fae Glasgow dated September 26, 2004; WebCite.
- Madrigal's Miscellaneous Recs for Mfae's Due South story "No Son of His" dated Jan 3, 2004.
- comment by byslantedlight at The wide wide world of zine preferences (a kind of reccing), Archived version posted November 2005
- comments at March 1, 2005
- regnabo reviewing The Phantom Menace story "Benediction" dated July 21, 2006.
- Sexuality and slash fandom (2007 post), shoshanna (2007)
- 2009 comments at CI5hq
- istia at here, 2013; reference link
- istia at here; reference link (2013).