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Title: Parabiosis
Author(s): Penumbra
Date(s): November 2000
Length: 315kb/ 41.695 words
Genre: MSR
Fandom: The X-Files
External Links: online here

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Parabiosis is an X-Files story by Penumbra.

Reactions and Reviews


I'm absolutely delighted to recommend this outstanding fic by Penumbra, a writer with a stunningly original voice, wonderfully twisted sense of humor, and a bone-deep understanding of what Mulder and Scully mean to each other. Who else could write the following line, using bittersweet humor to make an anthropological observation: "Their world continued, and Mulder drummed up an intriguing decapitation case with which to woo her." The author's dense language and often metaphysical imagery surround the reader, offering new insights into the events of season 7 and weaving a veil of soft-focus (but white-hot) eroticism. And for those who might be wondering... the Museum of Jurassic Technology, as improbable an institution as ever there was, does indeed exist and should be at the top of any traveler's itinerary when visiting Los Angeles. [1]
This is an absolutely stunning fic - the pinnacle of what fanfic writers, writes in general strive for. I highly recommend you read it because this really is THE best XF fanfic out there. [2]
I also read this fic and found Penumbra jumping to the top of my 'favorite authors' list. This fic is not to be missed and Penumbra's writing captures everything that I love about the Mulder/Scully dynamic. I almost melted reading this fic and I would reccomend it highly to anyone, as well as any of her other stories !!!!!!!!!! [3]

Lydia: Okay, I'm reccing Parabiosis by Penumbra. I finished it up late last night and I'm still flashing on several of the scenes. It's a wonderfully written, very realistic MSR that spans the whole of S7. Rather than recounting the specific cases we saw last season, it focuses on the spaces in between with wonderful M&S voices and a nifty little on-going X-File involving mummies. While Penumbra's style and her use of language may take some getting used to, this fic is definitely worth taking the time to read. Highly recommended!

Kat: Lydia is far more eloquent than I, but Parabiosis deserves all the recs it can get. I can't tell you the last story that absorbed me so. It's a true gem, with scenes that should *not* be missed. Just read it.[4]


Why this must be read:

I probably gave a little too much thought to my last rec for the month. It seems like cheating to recommend more than one fic by the same author. So I was left with a little dilemma, as much of my comfort fic comes from the same sources.

In the end I've decided to give you the very first fanfic (of any fandom) I ever read and, consequently, one of the works I hold all others against in comparison. Again, I'm very surprised this hasn't already been rec'd, but perhaps the length is inhibiting.

Parabiosis is a novel-length interpretation of season seven. I lack superlatives to do it justice. It is an amazing work interweaving the beautifully evolving Mulder and Scully romance with the show's canon. I love it because the language is lyrical and there are words I had to look up; because the characterisations are true and vibrant. This is mythology and archetypes and Shakespearian sonnets; this is a story about love. It is that simple and that complex. [5]
Parabiosis is possibly my favorite X-Files fic ever. [6]
Parabiosis was one of the first fics I read when I got into the X-Files fandom and as soon as I finished it I knew that it was be one of the best fics I've ever read and that it was simply a work of art. I remember after reading it I just wished that I could someday find a love like that. [7]
I had been reading x-files fic for several years before this fic first came to my attention, and despite the considerable quantity of excellent fic out there, it instantly became my favorite. There simply aren't words to adequately convey how beautiful this story is. [8]
It is one of the best, best, best XF fics ever. [9]


Parabiosis seems so universally loved. I would like to have someone explain it in such a way that I could understand it too. I can dig out my dictionary. And re-watch season seven, again. I am sure my lack of love for the MSR doesn't help. Even the title annoys me. Although, I am not fond of Ulysses, either. I liked Dubliners. Her shorter works seem more accessible. Many people want to write like this, most without Penumbra's talent. [10]


Takes season 7 and weaves more of M&S's evolving relationship into it. Much like was said here before, this was the most mind-blowing reading experience of my life. The closest most-engaging text I've read was Jonathan Coe - House of Sleep. But Penumbra's work is so much more than that. It grabs you by the heart and squeezes. It makes you laugh, think, cry and wonder. There's even a sub-plot: a casefile involving a mummy. She had a few more amazing pieces, but this is THE one. I think she's the one who brought me back to XF fandom, after all those years; though the actual series pales in comparison to this masterpiece. She's my favorite writer, not just in fanfic. [11]
Others have recommended it for good reason. I love LOVE the Lone Gunmen's party. I think that's my favourite scene in one of my favourite fics. [12]
For me, nothing beats Penumbra's deft, intelligent characterizations or her gorgeously poetic prose. I read this fic early on in my time as an X-Phile, and to a large extent I think her characterizations did a lot to shape who the characters were in my mind for the next five years. I stayed up all night reading this fic, looking up words in the dictionary as I went along, and rereading every third paragraph because I literally couldn't believe how good it was. At the risk of being over-dramatic, Parabiosis is the most intense, profoundly moving reading experience I've ever had, no contest. [13]
Because it’s Parabiosis? But really, this makes my list because it’s long, it’s epic, and it’s a behind-the-scenes look at season seven, and all the possible scenes viewers were deprived of. The writing style is unique and I enjoy it. [14]

Unknown Date

Penumbra's astonishing ability to combine a skill with words that makes every paragraph something to savour and an emotional arc spanning the seventh series (and beautifully filling in the gaps between what we were shown onscreen) make this a story I treasure and, like a lot of people, like to open and read bits from at random every so often, for the sheer joy of the language. Penumbra demonstrates that it *is* still possible to breathe new life into the MSR genre. Just don't blame me when the ending delights you at the same time as it breaks your heart. [15]


  1. The Basement Office, November 13, 2000
  2. Christine at Crystal Ship II Recs and Message Board, 2000
  3. Anonymous at Crystal Ship II Recs and Message Board, 2000
  4. Fics of the Week: July - December 2000, Archived version
  5. recced at Crack Van, February 2007
  6. recced at Crack Van, February 2007
  7. recced at Crack Van, February 2007
  8. recced at Crack Van, February 2007
  9. recced at Crack Van, February 2007
  10. wendelah1 XF Book Club, February 2008
  11. rec by shakingpaper3 at X-Files Book Club, October 2015
  12. rec by ledez_dreams at X-Files Book Club, October 2015
  13. rec by amyhit at X-Files Book Club, October 2015
  14. rec by anonymous at X-Files Book Club, October 2015
  15. Novel-Length Recs, Archived version