The Gift of an Enemy

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Zine
Title: The Gift of an Enemy
Publisher: Teeny Gozer Production, Celeste Hotaling-Lyons (editor)
Editor:
Author(s): Sylvia
Cover Artist(s): Jo B
Illustrator(s):
Date(s): 1998
Medium: print
Size:
Genre: slash
Fandom: X-files
Language: English
External Links: The Gift of an Enemy (Worlds Enough)
By The Pen - X-Files, Archived version (archived links to story titles and descriptions only)
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
The Gift of an Enemy fanzine cover by Jo.B

The Gift of an Enemy is a Mulder/Krycek slash X-files 156-page fanzine. It was edited and published by Celeste Hotaling-Lyons as a Teeny Gozer Production. It was written by Sylvia, and the cover art is by Jo B.

This novel won two Stiffie awards at MediaWest '99, for best X- Files Novel and Best Artwork. It also won the 2001 Lisa e Krysa Award for Best Novel, qualifying by being first published online that year. Ursula, the award presenter said "this is Mulder/Krycek rip your soul open stuff. I think it would be difficult for any lover of Mulder/Krycek slash not to find many elements they love in this story. [...] Certainly, Sylvia could have recast this story as a novel she could publish as original. Instead, it is Mulder and Krycek at their finest."

From the distributor, Knightwriter: "This story diverges from canon at Tunguska/Terma. When events conspire to bring Alex Krycek and Fox Mulder together once again, Mulder learns that truth can be a dangerous thing. Things are never what they seem when Krycek is involved. All this, and an X-File to solve!"

The Gift of An Enemy flyer, Archived version

Author's Comments

I'm fond of Gift for turning out a novel rather than just a very long story. Also, I like to think that I reached my goal of writing a realistic Mulder/Krycek relationship, psychologically speaking--in spite of occasional melodrama (and, of course, the deus ex machina [smiley emoticon]). [1]

Author's Notes: From the Print Zine

The Gift on an Enemy was originally going to be a story of medium length at most, and I am still lot certain how it turned into a novel. However, I am certain that it would not exist in this form if hadn't been for the support of my excellent, deicated, and patient beta readers. When I sent out a call for help with my first attempt at M/K slash, phyre, Ellen Smithee, and Laurie volunteered to have a look at the first bit; they not only encouraged me to finish the story, it offered constructive and insightful criticism during the entire writing process (the number of weird phrasings, strange plot elements, and outright mistakes they caught me in is best passed over in silence.) Laurie passed the unfinished novel on to her friend Celeste, who was not only willing to publish my story, but also came up with the perfect title. Cynthia and Shoshanna then joined the team and put an enormous amount of work into improving the novel, hunting down an embarrassing number of remaining blunders and giving excellent advice on how to fix them. This novel would be very much worse if not for the hard work of all of the people I've mentioned. Thank you again!

Editor's Notes: From the Print Zine

About a year ago, a request for beta readers was posted to the M/K mailing list. The author's name was unfamiliar and the post originated in Germany, so I'd no idea what to expect when I volunteered to read it.

I have rarely been so delightfully surprised. The story was far from complete, but it already had a riveting plot concept, beautiful characterizations, and an elegance of style that had me shaking my head in wonder at Sylvia's extraordinary talent— in a language that is not even her own. Working with Gift has been a labor of love. Watching the story gradually unfold before my eyes; working with Celeste, and Cynthia, and Shoshanna to improve it still further, has been a profound joy for me. I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation to Celeste, Cynthia, and Shoshanna for their hard work in improving Gift and helping to bring it to publication. I'd also like to thank Jo for her terrific cover.

But most of all, I'd like to thank Sylvia for writing The Gift of an Enemy; for enabling me to share it with her as it developed; and for now sharing her wonderful creation with the rest of fandom.

Publisher's Notes: From the Print Zine

I was blown away by the snippet of Gift e-mailed to me by Laurie that was my intro to Sylvia's novel. It had a plot that I desperately wanted to read more of, dead-on characterization, great dialogue—and it had the virtue of STYLE. The author had something to say, and said it with amazing grace. "Teeny Gozer is publishing the "zine," 1 said. It was not a question, it was a statement. Teeny Gozer's very first slash fanzine.... Oh, my. But what a story! Thank you, Sylvia, for allowing me to publish it.

We needed an enticing cover. I knew that all it would take was someone picking the 'zine up and reading just a paragraph—they'd have to buy it. I'd read Torch's amazing novel Ghosts and saw a cover for it on-line. It struck just the right note of creepy normality that runs through the X-Files universe—a tone that would suit Gift perfectly. Torch very kindly put me in touch with the artist, who did a spot-on job after having read a mere dozen pages or so of the novel. Thank you, Jo B., for the fabulous cover. You captured Weimar, Pennsylvania, perfectly. Blessings upon the amazing (nay, jaw-dropping) beta-reading talents of Cynthia and Shoshanna, and Laurie's outstanding job as editor.

The novel diverges from canon after Tunguska/Terma. Now, go read it. Enjoy. There may be a sequel if you like it, so drop a line.

Recs and Reviews

This story was first published as a zine in 1998. I think it was a year or two later that the author published online. It's a fantastic read. I love the development of Mulder and Krycek's relationship and for once one I could believe that Mulder was a brilliant profileer. The one quibble I have with the story is that Krycek has two arms, though he did have a scar as if a new one was reattached. I can live with that. My only regret is that the author planned to write a sequel, but she lost interest, in the fandom before she could write it. More's the pity. [2]
Gorgeously long story (721K!) that pulls you in from the first moment. One of the things that always intrigued me about the character of Krycek is how little we actually knew about him ... and anything he said could be a lie, so even when he was forthcoming with facts, they were not to be trusted. So when Mulder thinks he might have a way to find out The Truth ... he grabs it with both hands. [3]
A long, engrossing slash-mytharcish novel that diverges from canon at around Terma/Tunguska. I liked the Mulder characterization here: his empathy and hyper-intelligence are well to the fore. Some of the choices for Krycek are unusual but the writing is excellent and the supporting characters are well-drawn. [4]
Mulder gets an alien visitor whose race is interested in an exchange of information by offering, according to their tradition, the gift of an enemy - Alex Krycek. At the same time, Mulder is assigned on a missing persons case in Weimar, Pennsylvania. This is one of the very few X-Files zines I ever bought, and it's one I'll never sell. I was immensely pleased when the publisher released it to the web, so that even more people could read it. It's beautifully written, and has everything I want in a Mulder/Krycek story - a case suited to Mulder's abilities, tension, anger, lust, danger, protectiveness, mocking, snark, aliens, betrayal, loyalty, fear, trust... all of it building a relationship that I buy completely. The case and Mulder and Krycek's developing closeness are interwoven into one perfect work of art that doesn't drag on at all, despite its length, but rather, at the end, leaves the reader with an acute and painful longing for just one more scene, and another, and another... Addictive. [5]
This was wonderful! I don't usually read M/K stories because they are so depressing, but since this was a love story (with such an amazing premise!) I adored it. The set-up: An alien species seeks an alliance with Mulder to get him to help them find out about the Consortium and what it knows. As a show of good will, they follow their cultural practice in opening negotiations: Presenting to their proposed partner The Gift of an Enemy. And thus, Mulder finds himself possessed of one Alex Krycek, who has to stay with him under threat of the aliens' retaliation. Add a weird X-file case, and this is just such a wild trip, so amazingly convoluted and so deliciously hurt/comfort that you can't help but adore it!

We find out a great deal about the life history of Alex Krycek and a bit more about the Consortium. We see both men fighting to deny the passion and love they each feel for the other, and then having to each rely on the nurturing support of the other to get through some painful situations. For instance, we get an Alex who whispers to Mulder when he thinks he's asleep:

You're like a silver blade. Sharp and precise and bright and beautiful. It burns my soul to look at you.
{Whimper!} If there's anything negative to say about this novel, it's that IT ENDED! {WAIL!} [6]
Wonderful story. Wonderful romance. No, the two don't always go together. Mulder, as the opening in negotations with aliens, gifted with Krycek. Since nothing is ever simple in the X-Files, he must drag along his new pet to a case involving witches. Events proceed as you might expect in a slash novel. [7]
...good writing and good editing, with a great cover. I think this is the only XF zine I have left, and I can't see myself ever getting rid of it. It's just good. [8]
A new alien race appears on the block, this one aiming to make a deal with Mulder for information. To show that they mean business, they bring a gift to the table: Alex Krycek, pre-possessed by an alien for all of Mulder's questioning needs. Yeah, you can imagine how well that goes over. Turns out, though, that Krycek has a deep-seated fear of alien possession (tragically so, considering some nearby intergalactic bathroom stall clearly has 'Looking for a good time? Check out the body on Alex Krycek! (Usually found on Earth.)' scrawled on the side). This leads to a temporary alliance wherein Krycek agrees to tell the truth and not escape and Mulder keeps the alien possessions down to a minimum.

Oh, and then they get called in to investigate some potential witches in Pennsylvania.

I have two minor quibbles with this story, namely that the ending is more of the 'hopeful for a future happy ending' than of the 'happy ending with rainbows! and sunsets! and puppies and fluffy bunnies!' variety, and that there are a lot of loose threads at the end of the story that I wish had been tied up a bit more neatly. (Of course a sequel would handily take care of both issues. *cough*)

Those issues are minor, however, compared to the sheer awesomeness that is the rest of the story. First and foremost you have the best interpretation of Krycek backstory I've ever seen before or since, one that explains Krycek's behavior through the series and makes him far more sympathetic than I'd ever imagined he could be, yet also shows him to be the most ruthlessly competent character in the entire mythos. This Krycek may be hurting and he may be damaged, but he can hold his own against advesaries that would break most humans and even come out on top more times than not. I've pretty much decided that this version of Krycek is now my own personal canon for the character.

Secondly, you have a great version of Mulder: always thinking, truly brilliant, and yet so focused that his genius is often clouded by what he wants to believe, rather than what is actually there. He's likeable and yet a jerk, intelligent but fucked-up, and quite possibly the only person capable of bringing down the Consortium even if he is so reckless that if he didn't have someone watching his back at all times, he'd be dead within a week.

You also have both Krycek and Mulder demonstrating some (perfectly reasonable, all things considered) psychological issues that help speed up the development of their relationship (which is quite fast, but I can't really quibble about that considering the fact that 99.9% of all fanfic from that era had improbably-paced relationship development). This results in bucket-loads of particularly affecting and well-done hurt/comfort, which always makes me happy.

Finally, you have something that is far more rare than good characterization or effective hurt/comfort: this story has a *fantastic* plot. The whole witch mystery is layered, well-paced, and beautifully drawn, with intriguing bad guys, complex motivations, and fascinating details that are revealed just quickly enough to keep you interested and still guessing, right up to the end. The ending itself (with regards to the mystery, at any rate) is extremely satisfying, and one that I didn't think was possible and yet was brilliant. Frankly, I think the casefile in this fic is better than about 90% than those that actually appeared on the show, and the resolution is better than nearly all.

The Gift of an Enemy was the first Mulder/Krycek fic I'd ever read and even after reading nearly every M/K fic I could get my hands on, Enemy remains my favorite of the pairing. A fascinating, engrossing, and vastly entertaining novel. [9]
And now for something new . . . we can't help but recommend this Mulder/Krycek novel zine, The Gift of an Enemy by Sylvia. It's a great story, a real X-File plot, and a wonderful slash romance. Sylvia's Alex Krycek is one of the best we've seen in a long time. And it's a pretty zine, too -- it has a beautiful cover by Jo and a nice, easy-to-read layout. One last thing: if you've never ordered a zine before, don't be scared to deal with Teeny Gozer Productions -- they are honest and above-board through and through. [10]

References

  1. from the author (1998) at Author's Choice. X-Files Slash: The stories that made their authors most proud. Enjoy these author-chosen gems!
  2. comment by ellie at The Gift of an Enemy; archive link, March 2006
  3. recced at Crack Van, November 2003
  4. Your Mileage May Vary: Recs, via Wayback: 2009. (Accessed 10 April 2015)
  5. recommendations by allaire mikháil: the x-files fan fiction, 06 April 2006. (Accessed 21 December 2010)
  6. Raonaid's Zine Recommendations, Archived version
  7. The X-Files Fanzines. (Accessed 21 December 2010).
  8. from December meme: Zines, by Arduinna, posted December 4, 2013
  9. Epic Recs, 2009
  10. Jan and June's Slash Recommendations: Our Recommendations, 15 November 1998. (Accessed 31 March 2015)