The Suck Fairy

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The Suck Fairy is a mystical creature used to represent the feeling of revisiting medias were your favorite and discover that someone – in that case the fairy – refilled them instead with suck and their content is not that good anymore – that is, that has aged like vinegar and not like wine.

Many fans comment/discuss about the mistake of rewatching a series/movie from their childhood or even reading a book from their adolescence, because most of these medias they are reflections of their times, and are not always tactful or respectful towards certain subjects, may contain sexism, LGBTphobia, racism and other prejudices against certain groups.

History and Origin

The exact origin of the term as part of fandom has yet to be traced, however the earliest source seems to be Dreamwidth post by camwyn in November 2003, about revisiting their own work and realizing it was bad:

I have indicated before that one of the reasons I fear scanning my art into the computer involves the Suck Fairy. She waits until I've finished drawing something, and then once I have closed the drawing pad, she crawls into the pages. She removes all the good stuff from my work and replaces it with Suck, and then flies away giggling.

I do not think the Suck Fairy has visited me since last night, but I may feel differently tomorrow.

camwyn[1]

Later in March 2005 the term was used again by camwyn, but this time to refer to a fannish rewatch, more precisely a tape of the first season of Real Ghostbusters, there are also quotes from other shows:

... I am afraid to watch it.

It's all down to the Suck Fairy, you see. The Suck Fairy comes in the night when an artist does her or his work, and finds some piece that the artist hasn't looked at in a while. Then she takes away as much good as she can carry, and leaves only suck.

She's done it to me more times than I can count. I've taken to making sacrificial drawings for her before starting my good stuff, but it doesn't always work. She's done it to novels I've read and loved, stealing the good away from the authors. She tried to do it to Cosmos but all she got was the UNBELIEVABLE OMG SO WONDERFUL graphics I remembered, and they were so good she could only carry away part of that. She had very little suck to leave, and so Cosmos was not rendered sucky, merely not as visually appealing.

camwyn[2]

As of 2008, the use of the term becomes more regular, especially in profiles close to camwyn, for both the "reviewing your own works" and "revisiting old favorites" senses. In 2009 at Worldcon, Anticipation at the Rereading panel[3] with participation of Jo Walton, Kate Nepveu (m), Naomi Libicki, Anne Wynn and Ron Drummond, the term was used and defined by Naomi Libicki, credited to camwyn,[4] as "the Suck Fairy, that comes and replaces the good in your old books with suck." The Suck Fairy's associates the Racism Fairy and the Sexism Fairy were also mentioned by Anne Wynn.[3] From there it moved on to a wider usage in SF fandom.

In September 2010 Jo Walton made a post at Tor.com titled The Suck Fairy,[4] referencing the 2 years early Worldcon panel. She described the fairy as such:

The Suck Fairy is an artefact of re-reading. If you read a book for the first time and it sucks, it’s nothing to do with her. It just sucks. Some books do. The Suck Fairy comes in when you come back to a book that you liked when you read it before, and on re-reading—well, it sucks. You can say that you have changed, you can hit your forehead dramatically and ask yourself how you could possibly have missed the suckiness the first time—or you can say that the Suck Fairy has been through while the book was sitting on the shelf and inserted the suck. The longer the book has been on the shelf unread, the more time she’s had to get into it. The advantage of this is exactly the same as the advantage of thinking of one’s once-beloved ex as having been eaten by a zombie, who is now shambling around using the name and body of the former person. It lets one keep one’s original love clear of the later betrayals.

Of course, there isn’t really a Suck Fairy (also, that isn’t really a zombie) but it’s a useful way of remembering what’s good while not dismissing the newly visible bad. Without the Suck Fairy, it’s all too easy for the present suck to wipe out the good memories. And it’s much better than doing the whole “hate myself for loving you” thing and beating yourself up. The name is genius, because it’s always helpful when something isn’t real but is a useful model to have names that make this clear. Nobody really believes in an actual literal Suck Fairy, but that doesn’t stop her being very handy to know. She’s wonderful shorthand for a whole complicated process.

Jo Walton[4]

With that, the term was firmly established in the fannish lexicon in that sense in 2010 until actually.

Notes

References

  1. ^ "camwyn NaNoWriMo bargain with utsuri, Part the Second". 2003-11-05. Archived from the original on 2022-04-06. 
  2. ^ "camwyn (no subject)". 2005-03-07. Archived from the original on 2021-10-20. 
  3. ^ a b "Worldcon Panels: Re-reading - Skwid — LiveJournal". 2009-08-09. Archived from the original on 2022-04-06. 
  4. ^ a b c "The Suck Fairy Tor.com". 2010-09-28. Archived from the original on 2017-06-18.