Nadir

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Zine
Title: Nadir
Publisher: Agent With Style
Editor:
Author(s): QSS
Cover Artist(s): K9
Illustrator(s): K9
Date(s): October 1999
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: The Sentinel
Language: English
External Links: art by K9 for this zine here
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
cover by K9

Nadir is a 182-page Sentinel rape and BDSM slash novel by QSS.

Comments by fans included the topics of: was the relationship between Jim and Blair slash? what is the difference between slash and smarm? and was the zine well-written?

Summary

From the publisher:
This highly erotic and very kinky Sentinel novel is emotionally charged and may not be for everyone! But if you dare look into the dark recesses of your mind and acknowledge the sexual fantasies you would die rather than let come to light, 'Nadir' will thrill you to the tips of your toes! Kidnapped and sexually ravaged for a 12-hour period by men he can only identify by Greek names, Blair is forced to confront parts of his psyche he's never seen before and closely examine his manhood and everything he thought he knew about himself. And he does so, seeming to put the assault--and all the attendent feelings it calls up--behind him. Until Jim is kidnapped by the same group... Will the anal-retentive cop be able to bend to the will of his sadistical abductors--or will he break before Blair can rescue him, as the pain/pleasure they force him to feel overwhelms him?

The Author's Foreword

This is my first, perhaps only, pornographic novel. It deals with DDSM (bondage/domination and sadism/masochism). I've rated it X for the simple reason that I wanted to write pornography, and any hint of merit is the result of guilt over inflicting sexual torture on fictional characters t happen to care about very much. Yes, I follow the ongoing on-line debate over adult fiction NC-17 and X ratings. I still say this is X. It's total hardcore.

For this reason (and many others more suitable to a debate on morality and personal responsibility), I urge you to keep this story out of the reach of anyone not of legal age to read such material. I also want to point out several aspects of the story itself. The fetishes I describe are real. Consensual practitioners of these various forms of sexual pleasures derive a great deal of gratification from them. I neither condemn nor condone such practices among consenting adults...in fact, I'm sure I'd enjoy some of them a lot However, gutless wonder that I am, I'll probably never explore these fetishes first hand. Soma of these practices are very, very dangerous in the hands of the inexperienced. Anyone tempted to venture into this realm should consult the web for advice and sources for the professional equipment necessary to have a healthy, safe experience. Consider this my "DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME" warning label. I have had only limited exposure to pornography (most of it badly written) from which to draw my information. Catalogs of sex toys assume a working knowledge of their wares, and while titillating in their content, complete descriptions of likely responses to the use/abuse of such toys are woefully lacking. I've extrapolated what I could and attempted to remain within the bounds of plausibility. However, because this is a fantasy BOSM story, I felt comfortable giving my imagination free rein to inflict enormous torture without delving into the likely physical damage that could result, never mind the crippling emotional aftermath of such an experience. But I stress again—I tried to remain plausible while at the same time allowing my imagination to travel freely through the universe of sexual depravity.

My fellow perverts, with all of this said —— I welcome you to MasterD's dungeon of demented delights....

Sample Interior Gallery

Fan Comments

2000

My basic comment on Nadir is 'too little comfort for the degree of hurt'. It's not saying much, it's not going into any detail, it's not a particularly constructive comment, but it *is* saying why it's not a zine I'd recommend. [1]

I decided to read Nadir and I've read Magik too, and though I have problems with both, I would say both are slash. Magik covers quite a bit of comfort and relationship between Jim and Blair and they are sexually lovers at the end. Nadir, thought the sexual torture was done by males, is more subtle (gosh, imagine saying that word in a paragraph about that zine!) in how it shows the feelings between Jim and Blair -- Blair at one point whispers "I love you" to Jim while he's being led from the room for more torture and to keep Jim from feeling so alone. And it is indicated that they will try to forge some kind of love relationship once they are recovered from the events of the story. I'd heard there was supposed to be a sequel written to Nadir in which they do become lovers.

Something doesn't need romance or comfort to be slash any more than it needs a graphic sex scene (though I'm all for sex!). If the characters love each other in anything other than a just-friends-brotherly way, it's slash by definition. [2]

I read Nadir cover to cover. It was actually the first zine I read straight through. Scary thought, isn't it? <g> I can't decide if it's because I was shocked, or appalled, or enthralled, or waiting and hoping for the comfort to start (which it never did) or the slash aspects to become apparent (which they never do). In my eyes Nadir is most definitely *not* slash. I saw no indication that these men cared for one another in any way beyond that of good friends, almost brothers, and each would give his life to save the other. Which doesn't make it slash. There's practically no opportunity for them to interact in the zine, as Blair is kidnapped and tortured, and then in the second half of the zine, the torturers do exactly the same to Jim.

I just didn't see slash. There's almost no substantial relationship exploration of any kind, here, and the relationship is integral, *crucial*, to the establishment of slash text or subtext. If they loved each other in more than a brotherly way, as April suggests, you couldn't prove it by me. I didn't think it was subtle, I thought it really just wasn't there at all. YMMV.

Plus, in h/c, I like a comfort payoff, which you won't find in this zine, and the torture becomes repetitive and is a bit over the top and gratuitous. But I will have to say, the zine does carry a fairly accurate and explicit warning about the content. [3]
I'm not sure Blair could have survived the electricity stuff at all! But it was kinda like watching a wreck, you just had to keep reading it. That's what happened to me anyway. [4]
it's also possible to be so subtle in the implications that you have to read the thing under high magnification to see even the hint of it, and I think that was the problem with Nadir. For me, pretty well everything in that story about the J-B relationship was so throwaway, so hidden under layers of repression, that I was left with a feeling of total dissatisfaction. Given what both men suffered in that story, I felt it needed a bit more overt comfort - or at least sympathy - than was obvious to me. [5]

<< Oh, I'm not saying there was enough relationship to suit me or enough comfort -- there wasn't. I'm just saying I could see it was slash. Not with a payoff mind you, but I felt it was implied they wanted to be lovers and would at some point -- of course it's not known that they would be able to get past what was done to them. And I think you'd have to be *really* good friends with someone, maybe even more than in a brotherly way, to enslave yourself to save him as Blair nearly does for Jim. That's pretty high up on my scale of what you'd do for someone you love.

"maybe even more than in a brotherly way". But not *absolutely* in a more than brotherly way, and not necessarily a sexual way. For me, sexual desire is a baseline element. Remove it, and it's not slash; it's gen. Blair and Jim care for each other in the story, and they go through hell, but their love for one another isn't sexual. So if anything, the story to me is of the gen hurt/hurt genre. If there was more comfort and connection between the two, it might be gen hurt/comfort or smarm; it would also probably be more fulfilling to the reader, slash or gen or other. But until one of the boys show's an interest in the other 'that way', it doesn't become slash for me, because love belongs to both the gen and slash categories. [6]
I haven't read Nadir, so I can't comment intelligently on whether or not it's slash ('tho I must say, from the descriptions it's gotten here, I'm no no rush to read it anyway!) -- but I can speak to the question of how we define slash. :-) I've seen people saying that Nadir had "no romantic /" and I wanted to point out that romance isn't a prerequisite for slash. Sexual desire -- even, I think, sexual *tension* -- is enough to make a story slash. Regarding warnings on zines -- I realize warnings are primarily a net phenomenon, and whatever, we've hashed out the warnings thing here before. I do think it's a decent idea for a zine seller to tell a potential zine buyer what sort of story is contained inside; categories help people find what it is they're looking for. But that's not exactly the same as warnings -- that's more like answering buyers' questions honestly, or something. [7]

Like you, I'm in no rush to read Nadir, but it seems to me to be a question of the presence or absence of sexual tension/desire between Jim and Blair. I'm thinking of the GDP series again, which is gen, and which contains m/m rape (of Blair), but no desire between Sentinel and Guide (in fact, the series suggests that such a thing is abhorrent, and not just for same-sex pairs).

I'm also thinking of Virg Vaughn's Damned, which is definitely slash but borders on (if it isn't outright) partner rape; the desire is one-sided, single-minded, driven--but it's there. No romance, but the pain and tension have a definite sexuality to them.

(Oooh, we're into middle grounds now, things that fall into that hazy area that just drives me wild with story-lust!)

And then there are stories where there is love, but no sexual tension or desire. There's a funny little gen series about an intern at the hospital who keeps getting between Jim and Blair, and getting in trouble because of it. I think it's by Besterette. At any rate, in that series, there's no sex, no suggestion of it, no hint that this is anything but a Sentinel and a shaman, quietly going about their ways, caring deeply for and being protective of each other. Nice little thing, nothing standout, but hey.

So, the question is: what does Nadir have? Just the rape, like GDP? Or is there something else there as well, something that makes the air go *sizzle*? Or is the love that same pure supportive friendship-love that I like in the idiot-intern series? [8]
Different for everyone (as has been made plain by this thread :}) but for me it had an interesting plot (the criminals were unusual, that's for sure), excellent sexual torture scenes, underlying love between Jim and Blair that was strong and resilient enough to help them make it through alive, a good opening for a sequel, and enough not-quite-Jim moments that made me go 'huh?' that I probably wouldn't buy the sequel. By my definition of slash, I read love and want between J&B, so it qualifies. By my definition of 'good enough to read again,' well, I *liked* the electricity. I'll never look at mylar balloons quite the same way again. So I'd probably re-read parts of it, but not the whole zine. The main scene that comes to mind from the zine is Blair standing in front of a hooded Jim, and connecting to him through this total haze of pain and confusion. There was definite desire there (as I read it) from both sides. When that scene stands out over the number of quite well executed torture scenes, which I like, that clinches my idea of it as slash. Sizzle's a good word for it. [9]
Well, I loaned my copy away, but I would LOVE to hear what you're basing that one. I'm with Destina saying, this story is NOT slash. I don't say that categorically very often. I'm frequently driven crazy by people like Mamoru, who think stories without sex in them aren't slash. But there was no evidence to me that Nadir's Blair and Jim love each other in any *sexualized* way. More than brothers? Yes. In a way different than brothers? Not that I saw. [10]

2001

Nadir - a story I didn't really like; now *there* was repression and not really discussing what had happened with anyone - the rape was far, far more fully developed. [11]

References

  1. ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (September 11, 2000)
  2. ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (September 5, 2000)
  3. ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (September 5, 2000)
  4. ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (September 5, 2000)
  5. ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (September 5, 2000)
  6. ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (September 6, 2000)
  7. ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (September 6, 2000)
  8. ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (September 6, 2000)
  9. ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (September 6, 2000)
  10. ^ comments by Sandy Hereld at Prospect-L, quoted with permission (September 6, 2000)
  11. ^ comments at Prospect-L, quoted anonymously (January 21, 2001)