Redemption (Professionals zine)
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Redemption is a 241-page slash novel by Kate MacLean that was published in England.
From the Flyer
He was pouting fiercely as he knocked and waited, hearing Cowley's voice pause, then continue for a few moments, until his boss called out, sharply impatient, "Yes," and Bodie, still checking his tie knot, marched in.
Afterwards, he would think it amazing that he had no premonition at all.
His first impression was that Cowley was actually alone, sitting behind his desk, his expression perfectly, inscrutably neutral.
Bodie frowned, and his eyes darted automatically to the big fireplace at the side of the office, the Minister's preferred posing perch normally, but not today.
"Bodie." Cowley's voice was brisk, expressionless. "You already know, of course, the Deputy Head of the Hong Kong Special Bureau."
And Bodie just had time to think, vaguely irritated, Do I? before the realisation hit him like a blow in the gut, Hong Kong.
He felt as if he'd swallowed a bucket of ice.
His heart seemed to clench with apprehension, squeezed in a second into a tiny, suffocating pebble of shock in his chest and for a moment, two, three, he could think of nothing coherent at all. He felt, in fact, quite sick.Then he felt the presence in the room behind him and all at once he was swamped by an extraordinary sequence of emotions: horror, panic, excitement, joy, shame, and easily overwhelming them all, bitter, bitter rage.
Reactions and Reviews
- A fan created a mobile and writes a poem which comments on this story. See Paris7am, posted August 21, 2007.
- There are many, many comments about this story at CI5hq.
Some excerpts are below:
OK. It's official. I've just finished reading Redemption and once again I find myself wandering in that same old wildnerness i.e. lost and depressed because I've just experienced greatness and I miss them, I want to be in the story with them and I wish it had gone on and on and on and what else can I possibly read now which will satisfy me in the same way? I know that nothing is perfect and there's always room for different interpretations, critiques etc., but for some reason this story kept me spellbound, was an on the edge-of-your-seat page turner and I just didn't. want. to. finish. it. And, there was something else I came here to say...........oh yeah, I don't suppose anyone is up for a discussion on this? Someone who can try and help me understand why pages and pages of Bodie suffering and consuming dispirins at will, should turn out to be such a riveting read? 
And I'm wondering, when Doyle first appears on the scene and seems to be quite callous towards Bodie and his obvious suffering and colluding with Cowley, did that irritate you and make you think this just isn't the Doyle *I* recognise? Actually one of the many things I found marvelous about Redemption is that KM's put in little clues very early on that Doyle *isn't* callous. That in fact he cares quite a bit about Bodie. (Just a few instances: Doyle telling Nic he hadn't romanticised what he's been missing about England, clearly meaning Bodie; Doyle telling Bodie that he doesn't want to disappoint his mum anymore, but again, he also doesn't want to disappoint Bodie; and my fave, Doyle telling Bodie in the pub that he's still in love, but not being given the chance to tell Bodie just *who* he's in love with.) But he's such a stiff necked bastard that he can't/won't come right out and say anything. And Bodie's too wrapped up in his own pain that he can only read Doyle's actions and words in the worst possible light. Bodie is an entirely unreliable narrator for most of the novel, but KM gives you just enough to work with that you can see the things that Bodie can't. 
I'm not sure if I'm more impressed or seduced by the atmosphere created by certain writer - as opposed to original characterisations - the sub-text (though I'm never sure what that means), or what they manage to create between the lines i.e. in Helen Raven's case, at least, what is left unsaid by the writer and the characters...conversations hanging in the air, sentences terminated as if they're teetering on the edge of something massive....things which are implied rather than stated. I think Helen Raven is a master in this field and that's one of the things I love about her writing. And I think slantedlight has that gift as well. 
A Pros classic - oh, yes, certainly for me, well up in my top five, maybe even top.
Amazing writing, and one great pleasure for me has been how quickly it bears, nay demands re-reading! faramir_boromir comments in her LJ that all the clues are there as you read, and she's right - it's very satisfying. The really good news, and which may help your mourning, is that this is one of those zines which is just as pleasurable, if not more so, to read second/third/fourth times because, once you're not aching to rush on and know what happens next, you can really savour the quality of the writing, the aforementioned clues, the sheer unputdownableness of it! Believe it or not, I actually think it is even better on second or third reading. I'm not usually a Bodie girl but I really felt KM had got under Bodie's skin, really enabled me to feel his anguish and bewilderment and the resolution of which I will say no more for fear of spoiling it for folk who haven't read it yet! And I could feel for Doyle, too - as the layers of the story are delicately peeled back and the plot revealed. And KM manages to move the story from a point at the beginning where you can't see how this can possibly be resolved in any satisfying way - a tension she keeps up till practically the end. Mmm, shivers down my spine, must go re-read it - yet again.... I don't want to give away too much for those who haven't had the pleasure, but since you've mentioned the marriage.....! That was the thing I had in mind when I talked about the thing at the beginning which seemed couldn't be resolved - Bodie apparently happily married. (Apparently, of course, because it isn't long at all before the first tiny cracks start to appear!) I do remember almost a physical jolt reading page 2 when Bodie first refers to himself as Nic's husband! To some extent I agree with you about the timing, two years didn't seem quite long enough, if that includes the weeks/months before Nic re-enters Bodie's life. But I think five years would be too long, given the intense/obsessive nature of Nic. Could she keep that up for long, especially as she is starting to try to tie Bodie down even more, which fits in completely with what is later revealed about her nature? And how long could Bodie keep up his facade of calm and detachment? Interesting! Doyle and Cowley's treatment of Bodie. Mmmm, well, it was intriguing trying to work out quite what Cowley was at, especially with his history of triple think and manipulation of the lads in canon. KM kept me guessing most successfully with Doyle's state of mind until well into Safehouse 5 territory when so many things drop into place! And, however badly Doyle has behaved in the past, his anguish was quite convincing for me.Of all the characters, I think the one I felt most sorry for by the end was Sylvie who was blameless in the whole thing but with the least options and the greatest losses, it seemed to me. 
Of all the characters, I think the one I felt most sorry for by the end was Sylvie who was blameless in the whole thing but with the least options and the greatest losses, it seemed to me. I have to admit that I never gave Sylvie a moment's thought....which probably says more about me than her! And I hope it was because we weren't given the chance to know her as a person in her own right. I think the person I felt most for was Bodie and his sheer frustration and hurt at being manipulated, used, humiliated and kept in the dark by everyone. And then, just when he might enjoy some degree of normality and freedom, Nic once again manages to play on his guilt and ruin any happiness he might have felt at that stage. Her behaviour reminded me of the two women in the bible who fight over the baby when the fraudulent mother would accept dividing the baby in half and the real one says, 'give it to her - I don't feel nic *did* want Bodie's happiness, she just wanted *him* whether he was happy or not. I think Doyle would have let things be (and almost did) if he thought Bodie was genuinely happy. Hmmmmm, it's all v-e-r-y interesting..... 
This discussion makes me consider buying a zine for the first time!
Question: why do some writers resist having their stories on the internet? The show and characters are subject to copyright laws, so they can't make a profit off "zines," and more people will have access to and read the fics if they're published on line, so why not? I don't get the reluctance. It seems to me that if someone went through all that time and effort to write something (just for personal enjoyment, since they cannot financially profit from it), then they would get the most satisfaction in seeing as many people as possible enjoy their work. Doesn't limiting it to a zine substantially reduce the number of readers?And another question: are there still writers who only publish in zines, or do all of the current writers post their stories on line? 
I'll toss out my reasons for loving zines. I love books. I want my stories in book form. I don't care for screen reading and I can't curl up with the laptop or a hand-held easily. I love the art in zines. I like the idea of having in stories in book form. Printing out reams of loose pages is a pain, and zines are in a nice, neat package. And there is always the option to net post after the story times out, so the writer loses nothing in tribbing to a zine. They do get free zines, and it also helps one learn patience to trib to a zine.
Some writers wish to retain control of their work. Posting to the net is giving up any control whatsoever. The story can be used and abused, and the writer might never know. Stories are routinely taken by not very nice people, the names changed and posted in other fandoms or on other fic sites. In print, it takes a lot more for somebody to scan or retype. It's easier to take net fic to abuse.And plenty of writers still publish only in zines. Tribbing to zines has nothing to do with copyright or that sort of thing for me. It's a love of books and wanting things in print. It's the pleasure of sitting down with that book in your hand, or taking it with you on the bus or to the beach to enjoy. And when the power goes out, the book still works. It's all good. And if you get a zine you don't like, you can always resell it. Most of the zines I buy are used. I give them good homes. 
I think she has a rare grasp of male psychology -- and a real gift for characterization. Plus her style is clean and uncluttered which makes it vastly readable. I think very few fic writers could pull off this kind of emotional wallow without the reader losing patience and respect for the POV character. She does it brilliantly. 
You said "I think Doyle and Cowley's treatment of Bodie is one of the most interesting and puzzling aspects of the story - their collusion seemed absolute in the way they appeared to deny Bodie knowledge of so many things which were taking place - or had - in the past, present and future. They hurt *and* patronised him.."
I'm not sure how else they could have played this though, at least initially. There was, after all, a genuinely top secret event to check out (and one of the things I liked was that this part of the story turned on something so entirely realistic, a secret meeting the like of which very probably happened and which recalls the angst this caused at the time - very topical! It definitely brought back memories of that period for me.)so Bodie had to be able to work on that. Work always comes first with Cowley, remember! On the face of it, whatever Cowley's private misgivings about Bodie's state of mind, would Bodie have been able to do so if the issue of the broken relationship, less still, the possibility of some sort of rapprochement between Doyle and Bodie, had been raised at the beginning? Cowley admits later that he knew that if Bodie had been warned that Doyle was going to be there and that he would have to work with him, he would have refused absolutely to do so. And how do you begin to tell a man who has been thrown badly by a failed relationship but is now apparently in a stable and loving marriage that his wife has been manipulating him behind the scenes in a fundamental way? It comes out later, but even then Doyle backs off from telling Bodie about this and it is Cowley who forces the issue. I don't see how they could have started from that point unless their sole objective was to shatter Bodie. Wasn't the main objective to allow Doyle to see how Bodie really was, to check out the lie of the land? If so, there was little option but to pretend that this was a normal operation and to demand a professional response from Bodie. Which they get, although we, as observers, see the anguish it causes him to present a calm front. I think the setting out of chapters in days, also emphasises how agonisingly slowly the thing unravels, too - the main action, after all, takes place in little more than a week, for half of which Doyle is out of the country. And, at this point in the action, all three of them live out the pretence of normality with other agents, etc and in their triangular relationship until after the official meeting when Doyle stays behind to finally come clean with Bodie about his feelings. As we discussed above, I think Doyle behaved badly when he broke off the affair, so Bodie has every reason to distrust him, to be aware that he can't rely on him. Insecurity is not neurotic, I don't think, in those circumstances, it's actually logical! And Bodie knows the cost of that breach of faith - so he is torn, as is so beautifully portrayed, between keeping up his brave facade and secretly hoping, as he has for two years, that Doyle has realised his mistake. In that sort of fragile condition, the security of Nic's adoration (and there are clues that he is beginning to realise how obsessive this is) must have been exactly what he needed then though whether he would continue to need this is debateable, probably not in my view. So much of the detail is beautifully done, though, isn't it? You mentioned the Disprin - what a perfect illustration that Doyle knows his Bodie and still wants to provide for him - not only producing the Disprin in the first place but providing a supply for later where he knows Bodie will look for it. Pointed up to contrast with Nic not knowing or not caring what Bodie needs, only what she thinks he wants.Great and subtle writing, imho! 
After thinking about it and discussing it privately with the author and others, I have *so* many fairly well-developed thoughts about it, and I regret that I didn't get involved earlier, because they could have fit into this discussion - but since I failed to do that in a timely fashion, perhaps one of these days I might write them out anyway.
But I figure I can still comment in a piecemeal fashion...and I really wanted to jump in here to say that that Bodie *does* quite clearly acknowledge his role in the whole fiasco on more than one occasion in the story - his possessiveness and jealousy, and how it contributed to the whole thing. And I know this is something the author did quite consciously, not wanting Doyle to be the only "bad guy" - not wanting Bodie to be seen as too much the victim. Not wanting such an enormous imbalance (not to mention the fact that entirely-victim-Bodie isn't necessarily particularly appealing, or even realistic, for many fans).
Interestingly, I know of a fan who read the story who was fairly indifferent to it because she could feel no sympathy for Bodie. She felt the entire breakdown of the original relationship was largely Bodie's fault; Doyle may have been *looking* at women, but he wasn't *doing* anything, not until Bodie's possessiveness and paranoia and jealousy became so oppressive that he felt utterly trapped - if you feel that way, I'll give you something to be jealous of!
I don't feel that way at all - I do believe Doyle betrayed Bodie (if not necessarily sufficiently badly, objectively, to cause the reaction he did - but the author makes me believe 100% in the extremity of *her* Bodie's reaction, makes me *feel* it, in my gut, just ripped apart...). But I do think that, if you set aside the bias arising from the tight Bodie POV (and even taking that into account, since Bodie ultimately acknowledges it himself), she also succeeds in showing that there is plenty of blame on both sides here.To me that's one of the things that makes the story so successful, that there *is* no "bad guy." This story feels to me very much like a tragedy, in the Greek or Shakespearean sense - no single person or thing to blame, but a combination of external forces - fate, fortune, the gods, and circumstances - and internal - human error and frailty. There's a sort of inevitability about it...but thankfully, she spares us the typical tragedy ending!! 
As first mod to get here, I will say - carry on! *g* I think this is brilliant, personally, and the only reason I've had nothing to say about a story that I've thoroughly enjoyed twice already, is that I can't remember such detail as you guys seem to, to jump in the middle of it all!
That said - tuppence worth to what Paris said - I do remember empathising just as much, perhaps at least as much with Doyle as with Bodie, even though Doyle seems to have been the one who gave in too easily, who left when he could have stayed etc. Except - they did both admit that it wouldn't have worked out if they'd kept on? But I think, for me, what clinched the empathy for him, was the fact that he and Bodie are such different characters, with such different outlooks, and of course neither is wrong, they just come from different backgrounds and so on. I think (*dredges memory*) I thought that perhaps while Bodie was able to see it as pure love, which surely should be the thing that works out okay, the romantic view of it perhaps, Doyle just didn't have the make-up to see it so simply. For him there are a thousand threads to be untangled before something like that can be possible, and not only possible but deserved, and (back to his martyr complex, which I know you've mentioned before) the untangling of so many threads can seem completely overwhelming - easier, perhaps, to go along with what older, wiser people claim is the moral high ground, the clean, shining thread that would hurt Bodie least, that would cause the least disruption not just to Bodie but to everyone involved. Erm. I think. *g*Hmmn - I'm looking at your comment again too, Paris, and I'm wondering exactly what you mean by Doyle "acting out" - what do you see him acting out? (Sorry if you've already explained this earlier, this is the trouble with having late-comers jump in, eh?) I think you mentioned that Bodie is "acting out" too, and I can sort of imagine that I understand you there a bit better somehow - but maybe not? Oh, and I totally think they should be together. *g* 
"Josh posed the question: The question is -- in order for us to believe that KM did her job as a writer and storyteller -- did she convince us that Doyle atoned for his sins and, secondly, that he deserved to be forgiven? Because if we don't believe those two things, the story ultimately fails. It fails because if we don't believe they should be together and that they will be happy together, it's not a successful love story."
I don't necessarily agree with Josh here - I think there are plenty of stories which are about love - if that is how you define a romance - both in fanfic and in RL literature where the outcome is much less certain than this but which are successful love stories because the writer engages us with the characters and make us care about them and what will become of them, without necessarily the certainty of "happy ever after". On that reckoning, Redemption is - witness this amazing discussion - undoubtedly a successful love story. To me, Redemption ends with the knowledge that the central relationship has survived this one major challenge and with the hope that the relationship will go on with a better chance of surviving. Which is perhaps as much as one can ask. (The world weariness creeping in again, you see!). Maybe it is because I am older and more cynical, but I confess I sometimes find neat happy ever after endings a bit too pat! Do I think Doyle has atoned in the story? On balance, I think not! I can see he has come back, has confessed the obsessive love which he was previously able to abandon, is ready to throw himself into it again. In the course of this, he is abandoning another lover, the beautiful wife who he had denied her desire for children because that would prevent him leaving her, (precisely as he does, at the slightest chance that he could get back with Bodie), one who he was keeping on the back burner in case the thing with Bodie didn't work out; the employer he is also prepared to let down at no notice (as he did Cowley!). Not exactly honourable! The only atonement seems to be his willingness to love Bodie again, he wins personally on every other score, coming home, getting the dream promotion! Atoning? Not a lot, I don't think. He claims to have suffered during their separation but it is largely self-inflicted and borne in considerable comfort, it seems! And does he deserve to be forgiven? By whom? Bodie? The reader? I'm not sure forgiveness for such major betrayals can come so easily - and maybe his atonement lies there - that perhaps Bodie will never quite believe in his love again, that he will never quite be trusted again. Forgiven by the reader, the outsider? Only if he looks after our guy, alright?So, in the end, do I want them to be together? Yes, I do but for Bodie's sake, who has had such terrible treatment at the hands of those professing to care about him. If that means he needs to have Doyle - let him have Doyle! I can hardly believe I'm seeing Doyle in this light - I'm definitely a DD usually. So a testament to powerful writing, it seems. 
- Close Quarters; Desert Island Episode/Zine/Fic dated July 18, 2009; reference link.
- comment by noblesentiments, posted August 2007
- comment by przed, posted August 2007
- comment by noblesentiments, posted August 2007
- comment by rosie55, posted August 2007
- comment by shootingtokill, posted August 2007
- comment by shooting2kill, posted August 2007
- comment by scfossil, posted August 2007
- comment by jgraeme2007, posted August 2007
- comment by rosie55, posted August 2007
- comment by justacat, posted August 2007
- comment by byslantedlight, posted August 2007
- comment by rosie55, posted August 2007