Strange Days Indeed

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Zine
Title: Strange Days Indeed
Publisher: Dog-House Press
Editor:
Author(s): HG
Cover Artist(s):
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): first draft begun in 1983, first draft completed in February 1984
the rewritten zine version has a copyright of May 1999, but the author's foreword is dated June 1999
Medium: print
Size:
Genre: slash
Fandom: The Professionals
Language: English
External Links: Online Here.
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
Strangedays.jpg

Strange Days Indeed is a 116-page slash Professionals novel by HG and edited by Elaine W. It is a reworking and expansion of an earlier story by a different author called Remember Angola.

This novel was originally a circuit story and is still available in that form in Proslib. In 1999, the author reworked the story, in particular significantly expanding the ending, and it was published as this zine novel. [1]

another cover

It is now online.

A Story HG Wishes She'd Never Written

In 1988, HG was asked in an interview: Is there any story of yours that you really hate and wish you had never written?"

Her reply: "Again, hate is too strong a term. There are plenty I'm dissatisfied with when I go back to them but I suppose that's inevitable.... "Strange Days Indeed" - I feel guilty about this one. It isn't nice to rip off someone else's story." [2]

Author's Foreword in the Print Zine

The circuit version of 'Strange Days Indeed' began life back in 1983; it owed its existence, much of its plot-line and characters to an existing circuit story called "Remember Angola', written by an as then unknown to me author. There was a certain frustration with the way the story had been developed, leading to many 'what if discussions with friends regarding the various unexplored possibilities.

One friend, whom I owed a birthday story, asked that I retell the story along the lines we had discussed, a request I couldn't resist because the story intrigued me so much. The only way I could tackle mat was to rework 'Remember Angola' from the first line onwards, while retaining me original plot, characters and much of me original prose. The story grew into a novel of approximately 70,000 words, called 'Strange Days Indeed', the title taken from the John Lennon song 'Nobody Told Me'. SDI was circulated to a small group of friends in England and one in America, the latter with a note asking that the story not be circulated because of its history. A couple of months later I read in the Australian newsletter THE how much a fan in Japan had enjoyed 'SDI', followed by another fan in Canada. Obviously mere was no point trying to recall 'SDI', so I tried to make sure people were aware of its origins. It was at this point that I renewed my efforts to find out who had written 'Remember Angola'. It was at this point that I learnt her name; AL had dropped out of fandom some time before, and had since died. Time passed and I was so busy on other writing projects that I didn't give SDI another thought, let alone realize how many versions of SDI were going round the various circuits, minus any explanation of its genesis or acknowledgement that it is a remodelled version of someone else's story. In 1998 while having a spring-clean I found masses of notes for unwritten Pros stories. One set were a copy of SDI with substantial handwritten amendments I'd made, including a lot of new material towards me end. Because I enjoyed the amendments when I reread them and had always been dissatisfied with how quickly my original version of SDI had ended I worked cm the revisions. The result is the enclosed novel, which is approximately 18,000 words longer than the circuit version.

While SDI has changed a great deal the debt it owes to 'Remember Angola' and its author remains. My thanks to Felicity M. Parkinson for reminding me of this; production of a note of acknowledgement had slipped my mind when this zine was first brought out in May 1999.

Summary

The Hatstand's summary: "A Bodie/Doyle novel that features mutual hurt/comfort. Kidnapped together by a vicious man from Bodie's past, Bodie is raped and Doyle severely beaten. They're left to recuperate together in an isolated cottage.

Sandy Herrold's summary: "Bodie is raped while Doyle is forced to listen, and then the two of them -- injured physically and mentally, their relationship in tatters -- are stranded together."[3]

In 2000, two fans Cassie Ingaben and Dagger compiled an index of many of the circuit stories. They also wrote brief summaries:

  • Dagger: An old enemy from Bodie's past kidnaps him and Doyle to finish a Game started long before. Dealing with the physical and emotional results puts a strain on their relationship.
  • Cassie: B&D are kidnapped by a psychopathic ex-merc who holds a grudge against B. The madman - now a mafia man - beats up D and whips and rapes B, breaking him down. The madman is eventually killed by his mafia superiors, because he is dangerous, and B&D are spared and left to recover in a faraway cottage so that B can shape up without embarrassment.

Excerpt

"You've been a pain in the arse for weeks, broodier than an egg-bound hen. Silent suffering's never been your style you like everyone else to suffer with you. Well that's great, but I've had all of it I'm prepared to take and I'm fed up with makin' apologies for you to anyone stupid enough to have wanted to speak to you in the first place.

"If it's something I've done that's pissed you off, tell me. If it's the job, tell me. Persecution complex...fine, tell me about it. I don't give a fuck what the problem is so long as you talk about it. I'm tired of pussyfootin' round your miserable carcass and I've had enough of you snappin' my head off every moment of every bloody day."

Regarding the First Edition in Zine Format

The first edition of the zine, published in 1999, did not contain an explanation of the story's source, something that was addressed in Discovered in a Letterbox #10:

A fan wrote:
Sorry if this sounds a sour note in fandom but having just seen Strange Days Indeed by HG, published by Dog-House Press, I have got to say something. I've hunted through the zine and while there's all the usual stuff about copyright etc, nowhere is there an acknowledgement that this story started out as "Remember Angola" by AL. Those who have read "Remember Angola" and the library version of "Strange Days Indeed" may have wondered if the former was an early version of the latter. But there are probably not many people who know why there is such a similarity between the two, since there is nothing on the zine/library copy to indicate the reason. This is not to accuse HG of plagiarism, because that was not the case at all. "Strange Days Indeed" was written because of a frustration with AL's story, which had tremendous potential unfulfilled in the telling. Furthermore, HG's story was not intended to be widely circulated but rather distributed, as it was written, to a small group of friends, who all knew it was "Remember Angola" retold and expanded. But fandom has changed and grown, and "Strange Days Indeed" has been read by many fans. I would have thought its 'publication' now would have been the moment to explain how the story came about, because even in its rewritten form, it contains the plot, original characters and portions of the text of AL's story. AL is dead, and her friends are no longer in Professionals fandom so it's up to me to speak out, Perhaps HG/Dog-House Press could put a note in with each zine sold, explaining its origins. This is a lot more than a story 'based on -' or 'from an idea by' - I'm sure the revised version will be good (and I look forward to reading it) but it never will be all HG's own work, and due acknowledgement should be made of that fact. [4]
The author, who'd been given a copy of this letter before it was printed in the letterzine replied:
My thanks to [name redacted]. To my horror, I'd completely forgotten to enclose an acknowledgement of SDI's origins in the revised copy of the story, due to the rush to get the zine ready for Nattercon. After SDI was widely circulated in 1983/1984 (contrary to my original intention) everyone who read it was made aware of its origins. In the years since, it never occurred to me how many different versions would appear, that the explanation might vanish - or how much fandom would change in the intervening years. This timely reminder will ensure that the Author's Note I'm preparing for inclusion in future copies of SDI sets the record straight. [5]
The publisher responded:
Anyone who purchased a copy of 'Strange Days Indeed' at Nattercon and who would like a copy of the Author's Note to include in their copy of the zine, please send an A4-sized envelope with a 1st or 2nd class stamp; when the note is ready it will be forwarded to you. [6]
The editor of DIAL interjected:
After that, all I can say is: thank you, ladies, for clarifying a potentially delicate matter with such grace. What a civilised fandom Pros is! [7]

Author's Notes

From the Author's Note on the back of the title page of the zine's later editions:

The circuit version of 'Strange Days Indeed' began life back in 1983; it owed its existence, much of its plot-line and characters to an existing circuit story called 'Remember Angola', written by an as then unknown to me author. There was a certain frustration with the way the story had been developed, leading to many 'what if' discussions with friends regarding the various unexplored possibilities.

From the author's notes at the end of the online version:

First draft completed February 1984. Rewritten zine version completed April 1999... The circuit version of Strange Days Indeed began life back in 1983; it owed its existence, much of its plot-line and characters to an existing circuit story called Remember Angola, written by an as then unknown-to-me author. There was a certain frustration with the way the story had been developed, leading to many ‘what if’ discussions with friends regarding the various unexplored possibilities.

Rob, whom I owed a birthday story, asked that I retell the story along the lines we had discussed - a request I couldn’t resist because the story intrigued me so much. The only way I could tackle that was to rework Remember Angola from the first line onwards, while retaining the original plot, characters and much of the prose. The story grew into a novel of approximately 70,000 words, called Strange Days Indeed. The story was circulated to a small group of friends in England and one in America, the latter with a note asking that the story not be circulated because of its history.

A couple of months later I read in the Australian newsletter THE how much a fan in Japan had enjoyed Strange Days Indeed, followed by another fan in Canada. Obviously there was no point trying to re-call Strange Days Indeed, so I tried to ensure people were aware of its origins. It was at this point that I renewed my efforts to find out who had written Remember Angola. I learnt her name; she had dropped out of fandom some years before, and had since died.

Time passed and I was so busy on other writing projects that I didn’t give Strange Days Indeed another thought, let alone realise how many versions were going round the various circuits, minus any explanation or the story’s genesis, or acknowledgement that it was a remodelled version of someone else’s story.

In 1998, while having a spring-clean, I found masses of notes for unwritten Pros stories. One set were a copy of Strange Days Indeed with a lot of new materal towards the end. Because I’d always been dissatisfied with how my original version ended, I worked on the revisions. This is the result. While Strange Days Indeed has changed, the debt it owes to Remember Angola and its author remains. [8]

Mention of The Game

The novel makes mention of The Game:

Davis threw back his head and laughed, genuinely amused. "While life's so sweet? Tonight you and I are going to have a little fun. We're going to play the game. My Game. I've got some great plans for you, Bodie."

When that gained no immediate reaction, he chided, "You must remember my Game, Bodie-boy. It got quite popular as I recall, amongst some of the older men. Though pretty boys like you weren't quite so keen as I remember

"Bodie, come on, mate. What is it, this game?"

"The Game," he corrected numbly, giving the word special emphasis. He screwed his eyes shut. "It's - Davis will do it, too."

"Do what?" Doyle all but yelled, various ugly possibilities occurring to him.

When Bodie stared down at him it was with the blank face of a stranger. "Rape," he said with brutal simplicity. "He's going to bugger me."

"Oh my sweet christ." For a moment Doyle thought he was going to be sick, bile bitter in his throat at the thought of that mad bastard turned loose on Bodie.

"That was the name he devised for it, you see," Bodie explained, his voice shaking slightly. "I won't be his first victim by any means. Only this time there won't be anyone to pull him off before it's too late."

"Why did he call it that, the Game?"

"Because that's what it was to him. Find a fresh young recruit, maybe even a desperate innocent who thought he was going off for a shared wank in the bushes. Anyone green enough and weak enough. It didn't matter what gender. I never heard of Davis getting it other than by rape. I don't suppose he can. But I've seen the state of his victims."

Reactions and Reviews

flyer from DIAL #10, click to read

Unknown Date

It’s the hurt, it’s the comfort, it’s the lads in a pretty bad way – Bodie’s been raped, Doyle’s been beaten up - and there they are, locked away from the world again in a cottage ( is this my kink maybe??).. [9]


1988

"Strange Days Indeed" is one of my Top 10 favorite B/D stories; it is so heartrending, its electric portrayal of both Bodie and Doyle fighting through a horrific experience leaves the reader truly wiped out at the end; while a great number of fans abhor sexual assault as subject matter for B/D stories, I do not feel that the rape of Bodie is gratuitous in this piece; the characterization and personal interaction H.G. achieves is dead on as they try to deal with the inevitable aftermath. [10]

1991

Yes, I get truly gripped by good rape/recovery stories. One of the most powerful scenes in fan fiction is the one in STRANGE DAYS where a severely beaten Doyle pushes aside his own injuries and gathers a violated and battered Bodie into his arms. Bodie is the one weeping into Doyle's chest — but he has plenty of reason to do so. [11]

1993

And just like Masquerade is a rewrite of Painting the Clouds, Strange Days is MUCH better than Remember Angola. And in the h/c vein the reason a lot of people believe this is that the comfort is provided by the henchman (who sounds like a rape center counselor) and NOT Doyle. The comfort payoff was paid into the wrong account and we got gypped. [12]
For B/D, I wouldn't give the following to a newbie PROS fan because of the above reasons: - Strange Days Indeed by H.G., wherein Bodie is raped and Doyle beaten very badly, then he tries to care for Bodie; an incredible gut-wrencher.
[another fan's comment to this one]: This story is covered in detail (in both of its versions) in Camille's book; I don't think she 'got it.' [13]

"Strange Days" has probably the most effective rape scene I've ever read, because neither the reader or Doyle witnesses it; an anguished (and bound) Ray can only listen to it happening in the next room.... this one absolutely blew me away; it is superb for

its characterization, and it turns into a very nice romance, too [14]
Some of the rape stories I've read (via Erszebet, mainly) have been great. Strange Days Indeed worked like magic on me. That was a GOOD rape story: lots of angst and suffering and h/c on both sides of the equation. [15]

1995

I've always been of the opinion that you can *never* get too much of a good thing in fandom, so I've never minded repetition of good plots. The more the merrier of those types of stories that push my hot buttons. I agree, however, that it would be a courtesy for an author to acknowledge where they borrowed a really nifty/unique idea.

I recall in H.G.'s interview in an issue of The Hatstand Express many years ago, that she was quite contrite about plagiarizing the whole idea for "Strange Days Indeed" from Ann Lewis' "Remember Angola". In all honesty, *I* cannot condemn her, as she did such a superb job in rendering her version -- it is one of the B/D stories I go back to reread the most often.

First and foremost, I never knew that! (Or maybe I knew then forgot; I thoroughly enjoyed THEs.) She hadn't talked to this Ann Lewis first? This comment made me realize *why* I'm adverse to borrowing from existing fan stories; the likelihood that that fan could find me and be pissed is *much* higher than the likelihood that the producer of "American Dreamer" is going to even *know* about something like "Professional Dreamer", or much less *care*.
If someone asked me for permission to rewrite a story of mine, I think I'd probably say yes, particularly if it was a writer whose work I liked. I'd *love* to see something I wrote done better. Or differently, I suppose.... [16]

1996

This personality variation among authors is the reason I think it is a good idea to check with the author of the original story before writing a sequel, if you can. Some people care, some don't, but those who do care may create one of those little fan tempests that create splits and side-taking. We can all do without these. I doubt anyone can raise any legal questions; after all, the original author made unauthorized use of copyrighted characters, but much unpleasantness could be avoided by a reasonable effort to find out the OA's preferences.

A situation such as Sherry described, where large portions of one story are copied into another, with no acknowledgement, is another matter. I personally think that is dishonest, and an attempt to take credit for someone else's skill. That's not the same as writing a sequel, or even rewriting a story. The best-known rewrite situation I can think of is Strange Days Indeed. The original story was called Remember Angola. HG rewrote the story using the same plot and basic relationships, but she made it more fannish and more slashy. She expanded the hurt/comfort elements and gave us much more character reaction and more of Bodie and Doyle's thought processes. She gave us scenes more 'tasteful' writers might consider to be wallowy, but that's just what the slash reader wants.

I don't know how the original writer felt about the rewrite, but all Pros fandom is happy that Strange Days was written. I can think of other stories that would be better slash stories if the same thing was done. [17]

1997

As for hurt/comfort, it doesn't really matter much to me which one gets hurt and which one does the comforting, so long as there is a lot of strong emotion displayed. That's the key element. I like "Strange Days Indeed" a lot because even though Bodie suffers more physically, Doyle also gets to suffer some physically and they *both* go through emotional torment galore - something for everyone, and all very well written. [18]

2000

"There must be something in the air, because recently I have had the urge to reread slash of the Professionals variety. Don't know why but I usually return to Bodie and Doyle every couple years or so and thoroughly enjoy a slashy Pros-fest. As usual, I have re-read my old favorites (Rediscovered in a Graveyard, Unfinished Melody, etc.) and in need of something new I ordered Strange Days Indeed, having no idea what it was actually about. I was moderately disappointed though when I realised that SDI was a rape story. Slash wise that is the one type of story that I never liked. Whilst I'm not averse to a little suffering by my heroes, I can't be doing with the tons of angst and guilt that follows. Apart from wanting to smack the both of them from time to time, Bodie and Doyle are written as I have always imagined them to be - as two very capable, mature professionals (pardon the pun) who generally handle the bad things that their jobs sometimes throws at them. Not wanting to give away too much of the plot, plenty of hurt/comfort to go around, lots of action (no, not that kind of action..) and all the cold, wet shivering Ray Doyle you can get your hands on. What we end up with is two men who through a little suffering (OK, not exactly little) realise that they cannot live without each other. Hmmm, my kind of recipe. In short, this is a fine zine. Buy it now."[19]

2008

I love, love, love this story. I've read the zine many times. It's the perfect HG story. Thanks, HG, for writing this wonderful story. [20]
I've read this before from the version on the ProsLib CD, but someone kindly loaned me the zine version, and I spent a happy morning re-reading today. Got to the end, and thought squeeeeee - this is the new bit! The zine version has extra reading at the end (or at least compared to my CD version it does) and that made me very happy! The story is lovely and angsty, but the background to it is very ep-like in that there's inadvertantly a mission going on (a la Weekend in the Country, the lads sort of stumble into the situation) and so it's plot-y at the same time. I love HG's stories, and this one is nice and long and angsty and I love it for curling up with on a blow-y old weekend... [21]
My favourite of all the HG zines. It's Bodie and Doyle locked away in a cottage, away from the rest of the world as Doyle recovers from a beating to look after Bodie who's recovering from a rape.. If it sounds like too much angst and gloom, it's not. The scene where Bodie cuts a high-as-a-kite Doyle's jeans off him is one of my favourites in fandom... [22]
I feel like a big buzzkill this morning when it comes to HG stories, because I keep posting comments that are counter to those who are writing to say how much they enjoy a particular work. HG was one of the first writers I gravitated towards when I found Pros. I loved Jigsaw Puzzle and immediately went out and bought pretty much everything I could get my hands on of hers. She's a wiz with snappy dialogue, her sex scenes are steamy, and she's got a really creative mind when it comes to plot. However, as I've read more, I've found a few of her writing conventions to be bothersome. One of them showed up here. For the most part, she writes B&D as I see them. They're smart, capable, clearly attracted to each other, etc. However, she will, from time to time, when it suits her storyline, make them conveniently stupid. Some of the misunderstandings that pop up in this story, along with the way Doyle abuses uppers make me shake my head. These characters--in particular as written by her--are smarter than that. It feels contrived. To me at least. :-) [23]
...although I really loved Jigsaw Puzzle, Strange Days just didn't work for me. My first Huh?!-moment came when Doyle admitted hand to hand combat wasn't his forte. Pardon me? If, as Cowley says in Wild Justice, it costs two times as much and takes four times as long to train a CI5 agent than a pilot, and he cannot fill his vacancies although he can chose the best of the best from all the services, then I expect his agents to be able to hold their own with anyone, unless they're fighting Bruce Lee himself or perhaps Agent Smith from the Matrix. My second Huh?!-moment was when all of a sudden all these hard-boiled career criminals/ex mercs turned nurse maids to the injured B/D. People who chose crime as a living are generally not of the altruistic sort, I think. The goings on later in the cottage were very confusing to me, but this could be due to the fact that the text saved on the ProsLib-CD was very badly formatted. No spaces between paragraphs etc. so that sometimes you were in an entirely new scene a few hours or even days further on within the next line. Words missing etc. Anyhow, I just couldn't believe the Doyle I see onscreen to be stupid enough to try and exist on a diet of painkillers and uppers, even not for Bodie's sake, because what good would he be to him if he keels over? All in all I don't recommend to read this fic with your sense of logic turned on. [24]
... one of my favorite of HG's novels. I love the way the h/c is mutual--and that it is Doyle's suffering and need that leads to Bodie's recovery. That rings true for me. The zine version is an improvement over the circuit version, but both are good! [25]
Apparently "Remember Angola" was written by 'Anne Lewis' and HG did "Strange Days Indeed" as what would today be called a remix. I've only read "Remember Angola", and I liked that. [26]
The mobsters letting them go? A bit of a stretch, I had to put it down to Tony's charisma (OK, it's a hole - although I wonder what Tony's story was, really - I think this was explained a bit more in "Remember Angola" but I forget the details. Somehing else to look up. [27]
'Remember Angola' gives a little more insight into Tony via an OC, but not much. It's shorter - starts with the kidnapping and finishes soon after their return to London, which also happens a lot more quickly, and a little too conveniently for my taste. I think the ideal would be somewhere between the two, with all the loose plot threads tidied up.[28]

2011

Why this must be read: HG is my favourite Pros author and I bow at her feet. *bg* This story is the ultimate wallow in h/c, and I love every word. Bodie is tormented by an old enemy and Doyle is caught up in the crossfire. The levels of h/c and angst are both at ten plus. It's the kind of story that you can't put down because you have to know what happens next. It's the kind of story that I can reread again and again, and never tire of. If you like a story where both lads' lives are in jeopardy and you're sure neither will survive, then this story is for you. On a side note, unfortunately the formatting isn't done properly on the archive. I hope this doesn't deter anybody from reading. I decided to make this rec in spite of the problem because Strange Days needs to be on the list of Pros recs I do believe. What I did to overcome the bad formatting was download the story and reformat it into double spacing for easier reading. There is a little printer icon at the top of the story and this makes downloading a snap. [29]
It’s the hurt, it’s the comfort, it’s the lads in a pretty bad way – Bodie’s been raped, Doyle’s been beaten up - and there they are, locked away from the world again in a cottage (is this my kink maybe??).. [30]
This story has one of my favourite scenes in Professionals fandom when Bodie finally admits his feelings to Doyle - I love Doyle's reaction very much. Other than that, like many of HG's stories, this one is an amalgamation of a whole lot of things - there's a "case" story, CI5 interaction with Cowley, hurt/comfort on a grand scale when Bodie is raped by thugs, grand misunderstandings and a beautiful reunion scene when they get together. What more could you ask for? [31]
Bodie's past comes back to haunt him, and Doyle gets swept up in the ensuing drama. That's just the catalyst for this old-school wallow in h/c, angst, and miscommunication. [32]
I love this story. With a capitol LOVE. :) It's a story that makes me love Pros and the fabulous writing. Thank you, HG, for the ultimate wallow in h/c with this story and for giving me such pleasure as I read this story (and all your others!). [33]
I love this story, everything from beginning to end, I was getting quite choked with the punishment Bodie received, but that is probably what you would expect if he has enemies lurking from his past, I thought you captured it brilliantly, thank you. [34]
Strange Days Indeed by HG has Bodie and Doyle four happy years into their partnership at CI5 when Bodie's past hits them both and causes them both considerable hurt. Following this, tensions and a shift in the relationship between them create a rift, but fortunately it gets resolved very nicely. A good read.[35]
So the story is a favourite of mine for many reasons. It has love and hate; death and life; fun and sadness. Everything one could ask for in a great novel. Thanks, HG.[36]
I'm the first to admit while I love h/c, I generally don't read rape stories. It's just not interesting to me. And when I do read them, if the rape is shown, I skip those paragraphs. Baring that prejudice on my part, Strange Days Indeed is my second all time favourite zine after Hunted by Devils. Both are, as you might notice, by the incomparable HG. I'm laying my cards on the table right away. I adore HG. She surpasses most writers in my three fandoms, and for her, I even read her hooker story, a genre I find so darned silly that I can't usually read them. But that's for another discussion. *g* [37]
I absolutely loved the story - the double hurt/comfort element, the suspense, both during the captivity and afterwards, and the whole plot. I thought it could usefully have been tightened/shortened but was happy to read and skim through some of the slightly repetitive bits.

However, I was shocked (again) at the number of typos and downright errors (the wrong name given for the speaker etc.)and particularly for this writer who doesn't usually have such a glaring crop of mistakes. Is this one of her early ones? I know in the notes she talked about rewriting but maybe she didn't pick up on earlier errors. There were far more than could be explained by lack of a decent spell checker or lack of a beta.

I know, I know, I go on about these things but it really does throw me out of a story (and I have recently abandoned a couple of published authors for the same reason). I don't think, by the way, that the 'amateur' status of fanfic is relevant - if anyone other than the cat is going to read your writing you owe it to them to make it presentable.[38]
This is one of my "most read" stories (the old version), and apparently I've read it so much, that I kind of stumbled over some of the little changes made in the re-write. :}

Not the added new part, but word/sentence changes in the "old" part. I'm sure I'll get over it, after reading the new version a few times! *g* For me, the most enjoyable part of the story is the time they spend at the cottage, recovering. Bodie closing off, and Doyle trying to give support, and then Bodie slowly turning outward again, and realizing Doyle needs help.

I'm not sure I totally understand why Bodie would reject Doyle so completely, after his realization that he wants him. I can almost see it, but wish we could have more of Bodie's internal thoughts in this passage. I always feel so bad for Doyle here (probably intended by the author. *g*). Taking into account Bodie's reaction (and thinking Bodie has found out how Doyle feels about him), I can see why Doyle thinks removing himself from CI5/ Bodie is the kindest thing he can do.

Their getting together, and the passages where Doyle and Cowley interact are wonderful, and I'll have to re-read the new part a few times to fully appreciate it all. Love that they buy the holiday cottage and can see them spend time there, whenever they can, fixing it up.

Regarding some of the mistakes, I wonder if it has to do with the OCR software. Having tried converting a zine myself, so I can read on my PDA, it takes several readings, to find the many oddities added by the software. [39]
I've read both versions and while the longer one has that cottage ending, it's really not necessary for me to have that. I'm very pleased that they find their way into each other's arms and for me, that's the icing on the case. The rest is good, of course. [40]
That's intersting about OCR. (What is it, anyway?) It might explain a lot. It does seem that stories that were originally in zines are more prone to these errors and I always assumed it was because they were less likely to have had a thorough beta or for that matter, a spellcheck.[41]
OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, meaning you can scan in pages with print, and it will turn it into a pdf of txt document, but depending on the original, it can be a lot of work to clean it up.

Words get "read" wrong, and letters get changed, but you really only find out when you read through it word for word. I suspect most of the zine stories were converted this way, and that's where some of the mistakes come from.

Does anyone here have the zine and can check if the same mistakes are in it?[42]
I've read the story about three months ago, and I didn't like it entirely.

There are parts I absolutely enjoyed, but there are other parts I had problems with. It’s a permanent up and down, and I even overflew some parts of the story. Therefore I can’t really analyse WHAT doesn’t work for me. But I’m very curious what others may say!

There is one thing I would like to know - is Tony a picture of a Bodie who hasn’t joined CI5, who hasn’t been partnered with Doyle? Reckless to a certain point, but not heartless? Why else would HG have spent so much time with that minor character?

And considering this question… – why ARE there not more good minor characters in Pros stories? Why do I wonder about this one?

There ARE certainly more, but spontaneously I only remember few good minor characters. For example in Arabian Nights by Pamela Rose, and of course there is (poor) Robbie in Exile by P.R.Zed.[43]
Good thought re: Tony could be Bodie without CI5 and Doyle. Tony seems to have a bit of conscience. He liked his job, but he does have his own set of ethics. I think it shows when he tells Doyle that when he kills them, that it will be quick. He sees his job dispatching people who cross his boss as serious, but he's not into any sort of torture. It is rather ironic that he thinks Davis is too crazy. I suppose that's the old "honour among thieves" syndrome. [44]
This is also one of my favorite stories, especially for the last 2/3 of it. I adore H/C and there's lots to enjoy! Even better, though, is the last part, from Bodie returning to London and seeing how his flight had affected Doyle to the end. I haven't had time to more than skim the new additions, but I loved the old version so much that more story set in the happy climate the lads create for themselves can only be welcome.[45]
On the whole, I enjoyed this. The plot was well thought out and had enough twists and turns to keep me engaged (who saw that Doyle had appendicitis? Not me), and the banter between the Lads was spot-on. Tony was a believable character and I was almost sorry to see him killed off.

Having said that, I was a little put off by the way the POV kept jumping - or maybe that was just me not reading thoroughly enough. Also, I felt that Bodie recovered far too quickly from the rape, especially considering the fear and resignation that Davis inspired in him.

So... I enjoyed reading this fic and although it isn't one of my favourites I'm sure I'll be reading it again...[46]
It is a good fic, long and involved. The POV is a tad off, which is generally a big thing for me. I've learned to read multiple POVs but sometimes it still throws me off. Thankfully, this story is very good and even though she brings in multiple POVs, it's clear who's who. I tend to be a single POV writer, but I understand that most other authors aren't. [47]
I really enjoy a lot of HG's work -- her longer works in particular. She has strong, imaginative story ideas and solid character dynamics. And I think SDI is one of her best efforts, although interestingly about half to three quarters of the story is lifted straight from Remember Angola by...I forget who it is now.

Anyway -- slight diversion here -- I remember being startled at how much of the initial set up was written by someone else. It's fascinating to me that back in those days this idea of fusion -- taking someone else's work and reshaping it into your own -- was relatively common. You had Pros writers doing all kinds of sequels to each other's stories or rewriting of someone else's stories. Now days you'd have writers screaming "plagiarism" or something, I fear. But what a courageously creative time that must have been. A creatively generous time. Was it unique to Pros or simply where fanfiction was in those days? Wouldn't that be a wild challenge for these days? To take a favorite classic piece of fic and do a fusion? Or is that just too wacky an idea?

Anyway, where HG's story diverges from the original is when the story really starts to pop. She totally gets the romantic possibilities there in a way the original author didn't grasp. I love the scene at the cottage -- it makes the entire fic for me. Poor Doyle. Bodie is such a bastard. But poor Bodie!

She's not great with settings -- and I don't feel she ever developed the wordcraft of her contemporary and sometimes writing partner Sebastian -- but HG does good dialog, and dialog is such a major part of the pleasure and the characterizations. Her dialog is often funny. (Although I find her funniest in her omniscient sly observations, as in stories like Jigsaw, etc.)

I think -- and this is true for me of all HG's longer stories -- she doesn't know how or where to end. So the stories (this one is a prime example, in my opinion) continue to roll after everything has been resolved and the tension is gone. But that's okay for those who love just seeing the lads rubbing along together. Speaking of which, she does very nice sex scenes.

All in all, thumbs up from me -- this is a story that is a pleasure to revisit.[48]
I've heard the rewriting and sequel additions being referred to as "riffing" and was perfectly acceptable pre-net days. Now I agree, folks would scream, but it wasn't considered stealing, just a rewrite. I think the idea was everybody accepted that the characters belonged to others, so the stories weren't so much "property" as they are now. That's from what I've heard when speaking to writers from twenty to thirty years ago in this fandom. Sort of like those dozens of Shakespearean movies that have been made over the years. Everybody has their own idea and nobody considered it awful or bad. They just wanted to share their idea or take on the situations presented.

I often wonder at my own failing that I much prefer HG as a writer. I shamefully admit I've started many Sebastian stories and never finished them. I have no clue why. She's a more than competent writer. I suppose it's my sadly lacking taste. I much prefer a good rock song to any great classical piece, so there ya go. *g*

But I do agree about the end. I've read this many times and really don't feel the end with the cottage purchase and Ojuka need to be there. I'm perfectly content with their first reunion back in London. But as an author, we each get to pick and chose what we like. And as a reader, we get to read all or pieces or none. [49]
Riffing. Yes, I've heard it called that too.

The writers that I've come across all seem to be fairminded about giving credit where credit is due.

And of course we're all inspired by each other -- that happens within any genre or field of writing. Creativity is an organic thing. Maybe a viral thing. *g*... Yes, it does seem to have been more creatively open, less possessive about characters and situations that, technically, belonged to Brian Clemens (for example). Of course some of that possessiveness might have evolved as writers took their fan fiction ideas, filed off the serial numbers, and sold them as "original" m/m fiction? One would tend to get caught up in the illusion that it was all your own creation. [50]
"It's fascinating to me that back in those days this idea of fusion -- taking someone else's work and reshaping it into your own -- was relatively common." Well, I think as long as it's common knowledge(is it?), and maybe a story from another fandom, and the new writer had the feeling that the story would be a good plot for Bodie and Doyle, I don't really mind. I mean, the 'new writer' has probably a lot of adjustment to do. And I've seen it for myself, how much certain stories have impressed me, that I had the feeling I had to write an addition, or a sequel or even my own version of it.[51]
Was it unique to Pros or simply where fanfiction was in those days? Wouldn't that be a wild challenge for these days? To take a favorite classic piece of fic and do a fusion? Or is that just too wacky an idea?

I'm not sure about other fandoms but I'm aware of frequent fusions like this in SGA which is, obviously, present day - usually the second writer contacts the first and asks permission and it all goes from there. Sometimes permission is not asked and then tempers can rise because it's 'netiquette' (and permission would not be refused). Also, from what I can gather from friends in OTW the whole idea of rewrites and fusions etc. is actively encouraged in many quarters.

But in the case of SGI I gather HG couldn't at first find the original author to ask. [52]
But in the case of SGI I gather HG couldn't at first find the original author to ask. I can imagine. Especially since the need for anonymity was much greater than it is now (or people took it more seriously). I'm sure it also complicated matters with so multiple pen names and identities floating around. I've read those early Hatstand Expresses and other communications where people were begging writers to pick one pen name and stick to it. *g* [53]

References

  1. "[Now] 116pp, 88,000 words. Extensively revised by the author, this version is approximately 18,000 words longer than the circuit version." from DIAL #10
  2. from Hatstand Express Interview with HG
  3. Issues of Consent
  4. from Discovered in a Letterbox #10
  5. from Discovered in a Letterbox #10
  6. from Discovered in a Letterbox #10
  7. from Discovered in a Letterbox #10
  8. endnotes from online verions at Archive of Our Own
  9. from Callizz
  10. from The Hatstand Express #18 (1988)
  11. comments by Susan Douglass in Short Circuit #4 (January 1991)
  12. comment on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (November 12, 1993)
  13. comment on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (February 22, 1993)
  14. comment on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (June 13, 1993)
  15. comment on Virgule-L, Lynn C (July 27, 1993)
  16. excerpts from a discussion on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (September 1995)
  17. from a fan on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (September 25, 1996)
  18. from a fan on Virgule-L, quoted anonymously (September 5, 1997)
  19. Pillow Talk no.7 (2000)
  20. 2008 comments at CI5hq; archive is
  21. ci5hq/WebCite by byslantedlight, March 22, 2008
  22. ci5hq/WebCite by callistosh65, March 22, 2008
  23. ci5hq/WebCite by ancastar, March 23, 2008
  24. ci5hq/WebCite by intheyear2004, March 24, 2008
  25. ci5hq/WebCite by msmoat, March 22, 2008
  26. 2008 comments at CI5hq
  27. 2008 comments at CI5hq
  28. 2008 comments at CI5hq
  29. from sc fossil at Crack Van, posted November 11. 2011, accessed May 21, 2013
  30. Desert Island fics post at ci5hq dated April 14, 2007; reference link.
  31. from Madrigal's Recs, posted January 2004
  32. from This is Katya
  33. a 2012 comment at AO3
  34. a 2012 comment at AO3
  35. from alicambs Professional Recs, Archived version
  36. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  37. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  38. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  39. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  40. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  41. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  42. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  43. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  44. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  45. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  46. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  47. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  48. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  49. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  50. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  51. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  52. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.
  53. The Reading Room -- Fic: Strange Days Indeed by HG dated Jan 29, 2010; reference link.