The Suck Fairy
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The Suck Fairy is the mythical creature who comes to old favorite books, art, TV shows, or other media that one has not revisited in years, takes away everything in them that one loved, and refills them instead with suck.
The earliest source seems to be Livejournal posts by camwyn in 2003 and 2004. The first uses referred to an artist revisiting their own work and realizing it was bad, such as an entry from 2003-11-05:
An early use to refer to a fannish rewatch is a post by camwyn from 2005-03-07, referring to a Real Ghostbusters DVD: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 have in my possession a DVD of the first season of Real Ghostbusters. It is undoubtedly illegally ripped from VHS or something similarly cheesy, but I do not really care. It's got the cartoon that I loved most as a kid and a high schooler and ...
... 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.I am terrified that I've got a DVD full of suck where a magnificent cartoon used to be.
By 2008 uses are appearing more broadly in camwyn's LJ circles without explanation, for both the "reviewing your own works" and "revisiting old favorites" senses.
At the 2009 Worldcon, Anticipation, in the Rereading panel with Jo Walton, Kate Nepveu (m), Naomi Libiki, Anne Wynn and Ron Drummond, the term was used and defined by Naomi Libiki, credited to camwyn, 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. From there it moved on to a wider usage in SF fandom.Jo Walton made a post on Tor.com on Sep 28, 2010 titled The Suck Fairy, referencing the 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.
By late 2010 the term was firmly established in the fannish lexicon in that sense.
- , Wordcon Panels: Re-reading