Total Eclipse of the Heart

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Zine
Title: Total Eclipse of the Heart
Publisher:
Editor:
Author(s): written by Flamingo, edited by Barb D, Elaine H., and Kath Moonshine
Cover Artist(s): Suzan Lovett
Illustrator(s): Suzan Lovett
Date(s): early 2000 (posted to The Pits Archive), October 2001 (print)
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Starsky and Hutch
Language: English
External Links: Total Eclipse of the Heart online at the S&H Archive
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Total Eclipse of the Heart is a 259-page slash Starsky and Hutch novel by Flamingo, lavishly illustrated by Suzan Lovett.

front cover by Suzan Lovett -- "Hands down, this is one of the most beautifully illustrated zines I own. I mean… it’s Suzan Lovett. Nuff said. I like the composition of the cover with the circular slashy bit in the center and the portrait of Starsky in the right upper corner. The portrait of Hutch on the left is just heartbreaking, he looks so sad and yet how she makes his blue eyes stand out is just wonderful." [1]
back cover by Suzan Lovett: "Post-Eclipse"

It was originally posted as a serial, a WIP, over a period of time in early 2000, and then collected and printed in a print zine in 2001.

This zine won a 2002 FanQ.

The complete zine, including the art, is available online as an e-zine as well as downloadable pdf file at the online at the S&H Archive.

Many, many fans cite this story as their Desert Island fic, as the story that got them into slash, and as their favorite Starsky & Hutch story of all.

A Publication Rarity

Print zines evolved to traditionally release their content back to their individual creators a year after they were issued. Flamingo did something different, and visionary, with this one.

From the introduction:
To encourage new forms of publication that guarantee greater accessibility to all fans, I support simultaneous publication. Within a month of the paper release (in other words, when I recover from ZebraCon [she adds to the introduction of the online version: 'okay, so it took 4 months!']), TE will be available on the web as an e-zine, as downloadable files for PDAs and Palm Pilots, on CDs, and on loan from the Starsky & Hutch Lending Library.

Author's Comments: 2000

Canon and Fanon

"Actually, I can see both sides of this issue, especially when you're dealing with a show as canon-heavy as SH has always been. Many fans writing now don't have the privilege of having a library of uncut tapes from which to do their own research. And some things in SH *are* considered a given by fandom at large. We've all sat in fandom gatherings were stories were criticized because some critical issue in fanon wasn't used when the story called out for it, and it interfered with the believably of the story.

[snipped]

In Total Eclipse, Starsky has become somewhat reluctantly committed to a healthier diet and lifestyle, because he had to, to recover from Gunther's shooting. However, when I started Total Eclipse, I had only seen about a dozen eps, and there was so much I didn't know, the characters weren't really recognizable. Fortunately, knowledgeable fans made suggestions about involving certain aspects of canon, and once I'd seen the eps or discussed the issues I could see where these canon "anchors" could give the story more believably.

Of course, I totally agree with Suz re: not yielding to general fan belief if it doesn't suit you. I am a huge proponent of writing whatever it is you damned please, canon be damned, anyone's opinion be damned -- as long as you can make us BELIEVE it, and that is the major critical issue here. [2]

WNGWJLEO

Ah, the old fashioned "We're not gay, we just love each other" story... I wish [that it was old fashioned] were true, however, lengthy explanations of how "we're not gay..." are still integral parts of many many slash stories, and not just in SH. They riddled my other fandom, Miami Vice, and while I don't read in other fandoms much, I hear other fans complain about it frequently. It's discouraging and often ruins otherwise excellent stories. One of the reasons I wrote Total Eclipse of the Heart was to counteract this unfortunate tendency... The whole "we're not gay" concept did come up in Star Trek frequently enough, however since they were dealing with the future where, presumably, same-sex lovers were not social pariahs, there wasn't as much "need" for it, but the stories were there. And they showed up frequently enough in Pros and other fandoms as well. The fact that SH aired during the 70's where many people were experimenting with a more fluid sexuality, yet homosexuality itself was still socially disapproved of and discriminated against (as is perfectly demonstrated during the SH episode Death in a Different Place) made for an interesting social problem when dealing with 2 70's cops who fall in love with each other." [3]

Author's Comments: 2001

Availability

Regarding the story shortly before it was released as a print zine:

To all the kind people who sent in such sweet comments about TE --

thank you so much for your lovely, lovely LOCs. They made my day.... By the way, Suzan Lovett is in the process of doing beautiful black and white illos for the zine, illos that will be incorporated into the text very organically. The illos I've seen are drop-dead gorgeous and she's having a ball with them. The expression on Hutch's face on the cover is enough to break your heart. Think anyone here could stand to look at a nude, wet, soapy Starsky? Probably not, right...well, okay, I'll tell her to forget that one.... ;-) The back cover is a lovely water color with the full sun behind them. Wonderful. It's a writer's dream come true. I'm hoping the paper zine will be out for Zcon in October, but it will be simultaneously published on the net at the same time, on CD, placed in the SH library (which we're getting closer to reopening), and set up for palm pilots and rocket books. I want to make sure everyone can get access to the story in the way they prefer best. (I especially want to ensure that our Canadian, European, South American, and Japanese fans (and anyone else in a country I may have missed), who have trouble affording paper zines can have access to the story in some affordable manner.

Again, thank all of you so very very much for your kind words. [4]

As a Once-WIP

In a May 2001 discussion about WIPs, Flamingo wrote:
The greatest number of LOCs I have ever received, and the largest amount of communication I ever had with readers over my fiction was over a WIP -- Total Eclipse of the Heart. It is unlikely that I will ever post another work in progress simply because it's too hard on the readers and myself, but the fact is I got more LOCs on this work while it was in progress than I have since it's been finished (though I've gotten a lot of LOCs over it) and far more than any other single thing I ever did. Getting those LOCs also helped me get through writing this long, difficult novel and inspired me to keep going even when fans didn't like the direction it was going in. I will read WIPs and would much rather read a piece of an excellent writer's work than never get to see it even if it means she'll never finish it. An excellent example of this is Place in the Sun by Lynna B, which [April Valentine] published even though unfinished. It still sells years later. However, I don't want this to be a call for WIPs -- many won't be finished, as many writers just don't finish much of what they work on, and let's face it, not many writers can match Lynna. I think this has become a much bigger problem brought about by the advent of the "slash butterfuly" phenomena where people don't stay in a fandom long enough to finish what they've begun. [5]

LOCs

Regarding some fans' complaints about the zine, another 2001 comment by Flamingo:
Annoyed people do not write LOCs? Again, my experience is the opposite. I find people who get mad at you are very quick to write, very quick. The greatest number of LOCs I did receive in MV were from people who *hated* some of my stories and bitterly resented the dark turn those stories took after I'd written several highly romantic ones. Likewise, a lot of the LOCs from TE were from people who were furious with me for taking so damned long writing it, and from people who weren't happy with the way it was going, and some people who were furious that it was going to be a zine (the original plan was for it to only be published in a complete form in a zine). Most of the "reviews" I've seen posted are bitch-fests. I believe Sentinel fandom has an entire list dedicated just for this -- cranky reviews -- and they have many participants. People complain far more often than they praise, ask anyone on a help desk. [6]

Author's Comments: 2001

Some Thoughts About Pulling It from Consideration from The Huggy Awards

Because the Huggy Awards are set up a little oddly (to my mind), I have gotten the impression that my novel, Total Eclipse of the Heart, which is eligible for Best Zine - Novel/Novella is up against several much shorter works. I believe Otter's story, A Future Retold, is eligible, and Morgan LeFey's short story, published as an independent zine, Four Out of Five, is eligible, and Kimberly's novel, Unseen Boundaries, is eligible. I don't know how long Unseen Boundaries, but I know Otter's novella is under a hundred pages and Four out of Five is way under a hundred pages. Since Total Eclipse is around 270 pages, I think having it in the same category as much shorter works is really unfair to these other stories. But since Karen doesn't want to deal with page numbers, that's the way the Huggies are. Since TE is probably substantially longer than Kim's novel and hugely longer than the other two eligible works, I'm going to ask Karen to pull it from nomination. If there were a category for "Huge, bloated novels" and it were in competition with stories of similar length, I think that would be fair. [7]
A fan responded:
While this is a kind and generous offer, it is totally unnecessary. Why pull something that you worked so hard on just because it's longer than the others in that category? That's the fault of the structure of the awards, not yours. [8]

Author's Comments: 2002

Regarding Profit, Time, and Energy

I think I'd like to tell the story of my first

independent zine publishing experience -- Total Eclipse. Now, I'm not going to discuss the 4 years I worked writing this thing, or the 2 years it took to get it edited (by 4 different people), or the six months it took to produce the art, or the 3 months I worked at type-setting it only to have to redo it for a new printer (and it will now have to be redone again for another printer). Let's not talk about that investment of *time*. Please, let's not. ;-) Let's talk instead about concrete expenses, such as numerous trips to Suzan's, who lives 60 miles away from me in one of the most congested traffic corridors in the country, or the long-distance phone calls, or the production of the art itself, which required scanning, and producing dozens of mockups and trial runs. This led to purchasing special paper so there was no print bleed-through for the art. The paper cost extra. Lots extra. Then there were the color prints. Three of 'em. And the color covers -- 400 of 'em -- had to be ditched because the publisher -- me -- gave the printer the wrong file in which Suzan's name was spelled wrong. Now I'm printing the covers myself, which costs me more than the originals, so I lost about $250 on the covers alone and the reprinting will cost more than that. (And that's a fairly average zine publishing glitch. All my zine publishing friends just patted me on the back and said, "That's *all* that went wrong? You're lucky!") That's before we get to the binder combs, the transparencies, and the fact that we ended up having to bind half the zines, which, again is *just* the expense of time -- not a concrete expense. (Neither was the fact that my printer, a fan friend, nearly lost her job over the print run. No concrete expense, but the emotional cost was high.) So between the paper, the binding combs, the printer costs, the color plates...the zine costs very very close to what I charge for it. In fact, I'm trying to get it together to do the next printing, since I'm just about out of zines now, and I've got to scrape together around $2500 to do that. It might take me 3-5 years to sell those zines, but it would be even more expensive apiece were I to make smaller print runs. And I won't charge more for it. So these are the real dollar expenses we're looking at, all to produce one single novel.

But I'd happily pay out all the dollars and give the zines away if I could find someway to recapture the *time*. That's the thing that staggers me, the incredible investment of *time*. It takes me hours just to produce a few extra photocopies of out of print zines for the library. A new fan friend, when she found out all the stuff I was involved in said to me, in an attempt to give me some helpful advice, that she would suggest I give up producing zines. She said of all the fannish things she'd ever done, that was the biggest time sink she'd gotten involved in. Man, was she ever right. I thought *writing* took time -- zine production, that's the great time stealer.

Anyway, I would also like to mention that the new copyright law has eliminated "profit-making" as a hinge for the law to rest on. It doesn't matter to the courts if you make profit, only that you use copyrighted material. Otherwise, they could've never shut down Napster which was not making any profit on what it was doing. One of my greatest concerns about this movie Warners wants to make on SH with Ben Stiller is that Warners can be fairly draconian in its copyright protection. Since they hold the rights to SH, they'd be well within their rights to order every SH fan site to shut down, if they so desired. Spelling and Goldberg never cared, but if Warners does, they could create a situation where it would be hard for fanfic to survive on the net. Unlikely, perhaps, but in today's legal atmosphere, were consumer groups are going to court to fight for our right to make a copy of a CD that we bought to play in our cars, and to ensure that we can continue to have the right to record programs on VCRs to play later (this just went to court and was determined that yes, we have the right to do this!), nothing on the net can be guaranteed. They are working hard to make new forms of digital program that cannot be copied to any form of media for replaying later. So, fanfic on the net (which is certainly *not* free, and never has been) is not a secure medium. I hope it will be here forever, but there's no surety that it will be. [9]

The Art

Comments by Flamingo, the zine's author, in July 2001 shortly before the print zine was published:
I spent part of the weekend reviewing Suzan's sketches and semi-finished art pieces for Total Eclipse of the Heart. Folks, these pics are STUNNING. I think they are some of the very best work Suzan has *ever* produced. I was totally speechless as I went through them, so much so that Suzan was afraid I didn't like them. I think I finally stammered something stupid like, "Oh. My. God." then repeated that about ten times. They are *gorgeous*. I was so overwhelmed by the pictures I can't even give you a number count of the illos, but it's more than ten. Now many of the illos are "two-parters." I wanted the art in b&w pencil because I love Suzan's pencil work and she hardly gets to do it anymore, and I wanted it, too, because of the light/dark/light theme of the story. Suzan wanted to incorporate the art into the text of the zine, the way they often did in some of the older zines, like Shadowplay and some others. She wanted it to be organically integrated into the story. I loved that idea, so the illos will not be presented on individual pages by themselves, but with text beside them or around them or under or over them or between them. Each one is different. Some pictures are two part pictures, such as this gorgeous study she did of the two guys, Starsky in his black leathers and Hutch in his white ones. Starsky will be on the left hand side of the page, with text beside him, then text on the next page and Hutch on the far right of the next page. However, for some reason <g>, the majority of the pictures seem to be of the guys in various stages of undress--heavy on the un part. ;-) In fact, Suzan told me kind of apologetically that she did an *extra* illo, something that wasn't in the story but a piece she was dying to do, and if I didn't want to use it, that would be okay with her. Well, the piece is incredible! I took one look at the illo and said, "We're using it. I'll do a rewrite to incorporate it!" And I will. Besides these illos there's also the cover art *and* the back cover art, a beautiful water color -- the only color piece in the zine -- that is currently for sale on Suzan's website. Starsky has always been Suzan's favorite, and he is, without a doubt, absolutely-to-die-for gorgeous in this art, but I've got to say what she's done with Hutch just took my breath away. She's captured a poignancy in his expressions that is heart-rending. I think everyone will feel this zine was worth waiting for! [10]

In 2002:

I also altered a scene in Total Eclipse because Suzan felt like producing an art piece that wasn't pictured in the zine. She said, "I know it's not part of the scene, so if you don't want to use it, we don't have to." I very happily changed the scene to accommodate one of my favorite pieces. [11]
From the zine's introduction:
... after 4 years writing TE, and after all the effort Suzan put into the art, I wanted it finished, in print, complete, done, fini. More important to me than the story was the desire to get Suzan's wonderful illos in the hands of S/H fans. Having a chance to work with such beautiful art that turned TE into a true illustrated novel has been both exciting and challenging. And it's brought me full circle to a day, almost 5 years ago, when Suzan showed me Starsky's "walk around the porch" from Class in Crime. As I fell hopelessly in love, she said that if I ever wrote SH, she would be happy to illustrate it. Who could turn down such an offer?

After waiting so long for the novel to be finished, I was amazed Suzan hadn't lost interest in it. When she asked if I'd be willing to incorporate die illos into the text so they would fit in organically with the story, rather than produce the art in the more conventional manner, I tiiought it was a great idea. I still do, in spite of die problems it created for this novice zine producer. Hey, if it was easy, anyone could do it!

It's amazing to see your ideas take visual shape and form. I was stunned when I realized that Suzan had produced 21 separate black and white drawings, plus a color cover a/ida color back cover. She also produced other preliminary drawings and sketches that I fell in love with. I'm grateful diat she's let me reproduce some of them. The interior color illo is an unfinished cover prototype and diere arc unfinished sketches of the guys scattered throughout the zine. I'm rarely without words, but looking at the incredible portfolio Suzan produced renders me speechless. I know you'll love these lovely, haunting illos as much as I do.

Sample of the Extensive Art by Suzan Lovett

This is merely a sample of the extensive, and sometimes explicit and erotic art, from the zine. For more, see Total Eclipse of the Heart online at the S&H Archive.

Writing in the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" Universe

In January 2001, Flamingo wrote of her views of other fans writing in this universe, and some views on copyright and fanworks:

In fandom, it is considered fan etiquette not to use an original character or setting without discussing it with the originator of that character/setting. For example, if someone wanted to write a sequel to Total Eclipse of the Heart, it would be polite to ask me. I might say no, particularly if I were also working on a sequel. I might say sure, as long as you mention in an author's note that this is an "alternate" sequel, in case I ever wanted to write a sequel in the future. If you wanted to use one of my original characters in TE, such as the lady lawyer, I might want to know how you intend to use her. I wouldn't particularly appreciate you killing her or turning her into an evil character. But the fact is, if I said no and you went ahead and used her anyway, all I could do is grump about it. I have no *rights* to that character, since I put her in a copyrighted universe belonging to someone else. It is etiquette to consider my feelings, but there is nothing legal about it. Fandom violates copyright laws with its fiction, so you can't have any rights when you're violating the law! [12]

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

Oh man, this one is fun--and illustrated! A baddie drugs our two boys, lowering their inhibitions, and raising their libidos. They wind up in the sack, and enjoy a night of passionate lovemaking. The only problem is the next morning Starsky remembers nothing, and they learn their transgression was filmed. Soon, the incriminating tape is in the hands of their coworkers, city leaders and the press. The boys are humiliated, on suspension, and are having trouble looking each other in the eye. Hutch regrets very little. He's been in love with his partner for months. Starsky loves Hutch dearly, but can't remember the night that transformed their lives, and doesn't want to be what a relationship with another man would make him. This is an epic. Hot, hot sex, heart-clenching angst, action, drama. It's got it all. [13]
... this novel became an instant classic and must-read in the fandom, and deservedly so. (Despite using most of the fanfic clichés available. Have a little faith — this is Flamingo, after all. That woman could make me believe any story premise, no matter how absurd. Pray to all that is holy that she never decides to do S&H as Smurfs or CareBears...) Post-"Sweet Revenge," another enemy is gunning for S&H, and he's using their relationship against them. It's a mondo angst fest, not to mention a lovely long wallow in everything that's great about slash fic, and S/H slash fic in particular. The emotional intensity here just never lets up. I re-read this one regularly. Ye gods, the woman can write. (Available online at the Starsky & Hutch Slash Archive, but you really have to buy a copy of the zine if you're lucky enough to run into one at a con. The interweaving of the art with the text is truly a thing of beauty, and I'm not someone who usually notices art at all. The zine sells for about $20, and it'd be cheap at twice the price.) [14]
Gunther wants revenge, and the plan he sets in motion threatens not only Starsky and Hutch's jobs, but also their very friendship. A night in a drugged haze leads brings the partners closer to ruin than anything ever before, and recovery from this might be the hardest struggle they ever faced - together? If there's ever been a story representative of a fandom, this is the one for Starsky & Hutch. In the aftermath of "Sweet Revenge", Starsky and Hutch come closer to each other than they'd ever thought, and although it takes quite a lot of time and angst, in the end - of course - they find in each other the lover they'd always been looking for. "Total Eclipse of the Heart" left me virtually speechless for hours. That's the kind of novel we all long for and wish to be able to write one day - deep, intelligent, emotional, heartbreaking and full of joy. Flamingo is a truly exceptional writer. I spent a full night in front of the computer because I couldn't stop reading... and, in the morning, considered it a fair trade for no sleep. I cannot recommend this enough - read it. Outstanding. [15]
When someone tries to destroy both Starsky and Hutch careers, it turns their whole lifes upside down, forcing them to confront themselves and their relationship. It's a real heartbreaking story that will hold your heart until the last chapters. It's angsty as hell and I wanted to hit Starsky hard on the head during most of the fic. Definitively, one of the best S/H fics out here. [16]
Completely amazing. This is the fic that really got me so obsessed with this fandom. It's really long, 25 chapters, and has gorgeous illustrations. It's hot, it's emotional, there's drama and angst... When I read this fic the first time, I had to stop after reading Chapter 22 and read the whole chapter again before I could go on, it was so powerful. The original characters are great...really, the only thing I think I would change about this fic is that I'd have Hutch lose the mustache in the first few lines! [17]
I have something I have to tell you... I've actually read a Starsky & Hutch story. Which, I admit, might not sound like a big deal, but you see, I've been telling myself that I really, really, really ought to stop reading fanfic about shows I've never seen. That, obviously, haven't worked so far... Anyway, the story I read is called Total Eclipse of the Heart by Flamingo and you can find it here: S/H Archive (scroll down almost to the end) It's a very long story, filled with all the things a good slash story ought to be filled with including great characterizations (whether or not they're accurate, I wouldn't know) and it took me three days to read through it all. It's been a while since that happened. [18]
This story is long, a novel definitely. It has it's own page now so I am just going to link you to that. Settle in for a long read it has about 35 parts, counting some pieces split into A, B, and C sections. So if you have a day or so to read this grab some coffee or tea and hunker down for a long session. It isn't something you'll want to 'put down', once you start you will want to read the whole thing. This is probably one of the most beautiful slash stories I have ever read. It is long and I do mean looong. Just start at the top of the page and work your way through the whole thing. This story has everything a slash story should have and then some. All of those bitch fest things on my Annoying things in...yadda, yadda page are not in this one. As it reveals itself you find so many layers to the guys. You find repression, angst, love, hot sex, forgiveness, lost memories, recovered memories. It is just so damn beautiful and...good!...dammit you just have to hate Flamingo here. There are no easy solutions here, no everything is perfect right away stuff. Things are fucked up for a while here, before they get better. They have to work damn hard to find their way to ok and happily in love. It is a hard road and sometimes you get so damn mad at the guys you want to smack them. It all works out in the end though, but it isn't an easy road getting there. That is what I love about this story. Nothing is perfect. It's a hard time had by all, but they find their way in time and their love is stronger for the struggle. I love angst too, I'm an angst slut. I'm not to big on pain and physical owwies, but emotional turmoil, I'm there for. This has plenty of that. It will bring you to tears sometimes with both it's pain and it's sweetness. Absolutely Fabulous. [19]
**cheering in the background** Flamingo's Total Eclipse of the Heart is now an ezine! See the Suzan Lovett artwork! Read the story! Understand the case plot! (Really. Good revisions, and I loved the story already.) This useless rec--'cause the multitudes have already read it--is just homage. I admit it: I'm one of those S/H fans who imprinted on this story. But hey, you might not have seen the art yet! Go see it on the S/H Archive! [20]

2000

...a story so wonderful I can't begin to describe it, it's novel length and rated NC-17. It is a must read in this fandom. It has a ton of angst, some sweet love, and hot sex all my favorite things. The plot is just wonderful, yet another reason why I like it, it has one. Just scroll down to the bottom of the page and you will find it, it has over 30 parts I think listed. Just start with the prologue and don't stop until you hit the epilogue. Go read it, I insist.<g> [21]
In my opinion Total Eclipse of the Heart is a master piece. I've re-read it several times. I wish I could write something like that!!!!!!!!! [22]
I love your total eclipse...though I've been cussing the boys out for days! I'm glad to see Starsky take some initiative..in the ahem sex department with Hutch. I really like the way you're writing his character; he's vulnerable, but not wimpy. And he has a temper. He's not i this vapid, insipid love-struck guy who can't resist Hutch, and he's having a lot of trouble getting used to the idea..I can't wait to see the next chapter! [23]

2001

I started this story last night, got utterly sucked into it, and finished it this evening -- it was WONDERFUL!!!! I loved it!!! So much good stuff....When I first started to read the first 2 chapters, I found that I had begun to tremble, my eyes growing huge -- I had to take periodic breaks because I found myself empathizing too fully with the characters, imagining their deep embarrassment, their confusion, their fear, feeling the condemnation they were experiencing -- I hated to think of them going through all of that! But I *had* to know what would happen in the story, and it was amazing. The characters stayed true, the situations believable and compelling, the story telling vivid -- I could *see* Starsky losing it in the wastepaper basket, Hutch curled up and rocking in his chair, Starsky dancing around the locker room and later prowling the bar (dark and dangerous and delicious!), Hutch's bravado smile and yet tender manner in the face of Starsky's fear, Hutch in white leather! The action scenes andthe confrontations were also "edge of the seat" stuff, the sex was enthralling,the romance compelling, the music touches just right -- the scene where Starsky broke almost broke me (and it was good to slip into his character and imagine the feel of getting some back at Russo!). They should put a warning on this story: CAUTION: CAN LEAD TO MESMERISM, STAYING UP ALL NIGHT READING, BEING LATE FOR WORK, AND SNEAK READING WHILE ON THE CLOCK!!! "g" [24]
I printed it out and put it in a binder and reread it often. It was the first Starsky & Hutch story I read (okay I read the Rogers stories months before S&H came back on tv in my area and I wasn't ready for slash at that point). I too stayed up all night to finish it. I recommend it to anyone and everyone. [25]

2002

Somewhere there's a division for me between writing gen and reading slash. I find that I'm inspired more about he "relationship" by reading slash than gen, especially when I'm blocked on a scene. I know that doesn't make much sense either, but I'm saying it works for me. Who could deny, for example, that a story like Flamingo's "Total Eclipse" can't inspire the warm fuzzies in a fan's heart? There's tons more, of course, but that one came to mind first. [26]
For me, the best piece of fanfic that shows Starskys "past" is Flamingos' "Total Eclipse of the Heart". She does an amazing job of tying together the past and present in her story and there were more the a few times I was totally teared up! [27]

2003

My most reread is Total Eclipse of the Heart. It was the story that brought me into the fandom in a big way and I consider it to be the perfect zine. I still get shivers when I read the jail scene at the end, no matter how many times I've read it. [28]
Well, I may be going off at a tangent here, but the point at which I see jealousy being an issue is exactly where it's portrayed in "Total Eclipse of the Heart". (I think most of us have read that now?) Y'know where Starsky's still in denial about his real feelings for Hutch, and he sees how attracted gay Peter Whitelaw is to his partner? It makes him crazy. [29]
My first experience with fandom was when I typed "Starsky & Hutch" in my search engine to see if there was anything on the internet about my guys. Little did I know! The first fanfic I ever read was "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Flamingo. I was totally blown away. At first my eyeball popped out of my head, and then I settled down with a big smile as finally, I knew of "others" who kinda had "those thoughts or suspicions" about the characters that I had back in 1975! It was like I wasn't alone anymore and someone (a lot of someone's) felt like me! [30]
Why this must be read: It picks up after Sweet Revenge and brings back the most hated man in canon, James Marshall Gunther. Long hailed as THE fanfic for Starsky/Hutch, I whole-heartedly agree with that assumption. TEotH has good characterization, wonderful Suzan Lovett illos, a great plot, wonderful Suzan Lovett illos, a believeable shift from gen to slash pairing, wonderful Suzan Lovett illos, a wealth of emotions from the part of the characters, and did I mention wonderful Suzan Lovett illos?:) [31]

2004

"Total Eclipse Of The Heart" is one of the must read classics of this fandom. It's a long, plotty, sexy story, full of great characterisation and well-rounded original characters. The language is very intense and the description of the gay lifestyle and the reaction of the "normal" world to Starsky & Hutch's gayness is explored in detail. Excellent angst and intense, almost b&d sex scenes. [32]

2006

Some readers felt that Total Eclipse fit squarely within the gay rights/gay awakening trope. Others felt it fell more into the straight boy slash category. This second group focused on Starsky’s overall reaction to his growing attraction to his partner Hutch. Starsky is drawn to something he can't conceptualize, in love but having a hard time knowing how to express it. And while the characters are in fact having sex, one of them is struggling with the attraction and feeling guilty the whole time. Based on this characterization, some readers believed that a case for homophobia could be made. They also point to the fact that in the traditional 'we’re not gay we love one another' trope, you have two characters deciding that they are attracted to each other, but not to other men. This is different from the one sided overwhelming guilt and angst that Starsky goes through in Total Eclipse. Still, most fans believe that the story that Flamingo was telling was more complex than 'gay' or 'straight' – it was both a 'gay awakening' and a 'straight boy struggles with his feelings' narrative and that it was the clash of these two tropes as they played out in these two characters that made the story more powerful and moving. [33]
[I love this story] NOT for the characterization, which I don't think is very well observed, but for the delightful plot. And for Starsky beating up the gun wielding bad guys' car with a baseball bat. And for the pathos of the whole thing. And the costumes. [34]

2007

Ah, Flamingo is another favourite of mine! Have you read Total Eclipse of the Heart? If so, what did you think? If not - off you go then. You have a heap of reading to do. Most people seem to love this story, but there are a number who just cannot abide it. Me, I'm in the first camp. [35]

2009

Seriously, is one of the best stories in fandom! Is long, angsty, with a clever plot and a perfect characterization, and you just can't stop reading it. It deals with homophobia, police brutality, gay rights activism and, oh, yes!, Starsky and Hutch relationship *w* The thing is this is a hell of a ride: intricate plot, emotional and so, so beautifully wrote, and Suzan Lovett art, lots and lots of very NSFW art. So, yes you should read this one, even if this is the only Starsky & Hutch story you will ever read. Or re-read it if you had already done. [36]
It almost feels like cheating to rec Flamingo’s Total Eclipse of the Heart as it widely considered to be THE story of the fandom, but it rightfully does deserve that acclaim. Essentially, Starsky and Hutch are drugged and they fall into bed together not realizing they are being videotaped. Things get messy real fast: the tape is exposed the next morning, their careers implode, and they wind up working as bouncers at a gay nightclub. Not to mention that Hutch remembers their night together and has realized he’s in love with Starsky while Starsky has repressed the memory so thoroughly that he honestly believes that he does not and cannot return those feelings. It’s an incredibly intricate story dealing with all sorts of things: institutionalized homophobia, police brutality, gay rights activism, the gay scene of the 1970’s. But even with all the plotty stuff going on, Starsky and Hutch’s relationship remains at the forefront of the story, and it is beautifully and emotionally depicted. They’re hurting and messed up and uncertain but even so, the foundation of their friendship is just so damn strong that even something like this isn’t enough to even dent their commitment to each other, which is exactly how their relationship is and should be. This is a must-read. Period. [37]
I love this fic so much. I tend to describe it to people as "Like 'The Childrens' Hour', if it were about homicide cops and had a happy ending." but that doesn't begin to do it justice. The fact that everyone who is homophobic turns out to also be evil conspirators stretches belief a little, but the climactic kiss scene is on my top ten list of "most awesome romantic moments in fiction." Not even "in fanfic," - just in fiction in general. [38]
This is one of the hottest and well-written novels in the fandom and the gorgeous art of Suzan Lovett is worth the price of admission alone. If you can, check out the graphics version. But if not the story is definitely well worth reading on its own as well. Enjoy! [39]

2010

I hope everybody had a good time reading. To start things off, here are a few of my own thoughts.

When I got into this fandom I was more on the gen side of the fence - or let’s say I was sitting on top of the fence. If I remember correctly, this was the first slash story that I read in S&H. After this there was no question on which side of the fence I’d be in the future. Let me tell you, it wasn’t the gen side. *G* When I watched the last episode for the first time, seeing them together in one bed, it was pretty clear to me that they’d be so together after this, even when one couldn’t see the slash in during the run of the show. To me, Flamingo’s novel is a plausible version of how this could happen, how they would cross the line from “just partners” to being lovers. I love how she included characters and places that we've already seen in the show and are part of canon - especially the Green Parrot and Sugar. I seldom re-read fanfiction, but this is one of the stories I love returning to.

I'd also like to add a few words about the artwork. Hands down, this is one of the most beautifully illustrated zines I own. I mean… it’s Suzan Lovett. Nuff said. I like the composition of the cover with the circular slashy bit in the center and the portrait of Starsky in the right upper corner. The portrait of Hutch on the left is just heartbreaking, he looks so sad and yet how she makes his blue eyes stand out is just wonderful. I do love how the interior illustrations are worked and fitted into the text, rather than having separate pages. [40]
I had a good time rereading my zine. It is gorgeous. I admit, I love Suzan's art. Her drawings are always so pertinent to the story when she illustrates. And the pictures on pages 36 and 37 are my favs, along with the mirror reflection on 19. The entire zine is a work of art. I bought mine before I'd read the story because it was so beautiful.

Overall, the story is great. I like the slow build up, the investigation, the fleshing out of other characters, and the use of canon characters to enhance the story. I think Flamingo did a good balance of not spending too much time on the extra characters since I want our guys most of the time, with a bit of the others tossed in when necessary.

I liked Hutch's unwavering belief in his love for Starsky and I really appreciated that they both wanted their friendship and partnership to continue no matter what. Now I don't really know if that would have been possible, but the idea worked for me. I admit I was often frustrated with Starsky, but I think that was the author's intent. You wanted to bash him a time or two and tell him to get a clue.

If I had to pick out something I didn't like, it would be the jealousy Starsky exhibited. Not that he was wrong in how he felt for the story line (although I might personally think he was) , but I find that sort of jealousy very destructive to any relationship and I know personally, my patience with it would not have lasted quite long as the generally patient Hutch. I'm not tolerant of that sort of emotion since I had to live it and it colors my outlook on a relationship. But since I want a happy ending and I told myself it would be all right in the end, I made it past that. I am pleased that Hutch didn't lie down and take all of Starsky's jealousy and unreasonableness. Neither man was a doormat, thank God!

Great story. Everybody should give it a go. It's one of the "classics" in the fandom that I like very much. The sex was hot, hot, hot. The scenes were well described. All in all, worthy to read over and over for a good long wallow in angst and love. [41]
Oh yes, Starsky's jealousy was scary and I've always felt a bit uncomfortable about the love scene in chapter 17 where Starsky is almost forcing Hutch against his will (feels a bit like this to me). One of my squicks with S&H is partner rape and this came too close to that for comfort. Then again, there was a reason for the jealousy and it was resolved in the end, otherwise this would have been a big turnoff for me. But yes, it all worked out in the end!

Another point you've brought up: the other characters. I agree with you, the balance was perfect, nothing makes me abandon a fanfic quicker than too much emphasis on other characters I'm not interested in.

And I adore the two drawings on pages 36 and 37. Just gorgeous, the contrast and the similarities at the same time. Wow. This is a zine I'd never part with, just for the artwork, even if I hated the story (which I don't! *G*). [42]
This was probably my first SH zine as well. I've always been drawn to the artwork, of course, and the story itself expanded well on characters that I've loved from the series (DIADP being at the top of my list;) One thing that I've talked at length with fans about is the Epilog. Many of us feel that it was a bit off-character for Starsky, considering who he is and the progress he made throughout this story. [43]
I have to say I like the epilogue and think it IS true to Starsky's character. He just found out how much he loved Hutch. Those feelings were totally walled up behind a huge dam. When the walls crumbled, they did so all at once, and I see Starsky as a sucker for these great waves of emotion ('soapy' aside). I mean, his realization completely swamped him it was so powerful. And it WAS that powerful because he'd been kept from feeling it naturally, so the pressure just built and built.

I see it as part of Starsky's character that he doesn't do things by half measures, and when something hits his interest-radar, he goes at it whole hog...becoming obsessed almost.

That being the case, this obsession seems totally natural and in character for the person he is. [44]
That's the great part of this zine, if you don't want to, you don't have to read the Epilogue (and I know fans who don't) and it doesn't detract from the story. I love the way their relationship built in this, all the characters who helped them along the way, and it rings true to me that this could totally happen to them after our canon left off. [45]
I'm with you, K. In my "real" life, I *detest* any type of jealousy. To me, jealousy implies ownership, not love. What I detest even more is when people, men or women, play the jealousy game. As in "ok, I'm gonna go pretend to make out with this person over here. If you love me, you'll get all jealous."

That's high school stuff and just..fucked up. Jealousy implies ownership, as I said, and also lack of trust. If you don't trust your partner, then you shouldn't be together in the first place. And if he/she does something to try and make you jealous, dump em like yesterday's trash, sez I. *G*

Starsky's jealousy worked, here, however, because he was being MADE to feel jealousy because of the drug. He came off (to me) as being just as confused as Hutch over his jealousy. In fact, Hutch knew more why Starsky was jealous while Starsk didn't have a clue.

It's scary that I can actually imagine loving a person so much and so deeply, and being "brainwashed" to forget that love, and then seeing the person I don't know I love with someone else, and having all these negative feelings...and not knowing why.

Prime stuff.

I, too, loved the artwork, as well as the touches of humor in an otherwise deeply dramatic story. In that way, it was just like the show, and I love Flamingo for adding those touches. It's like swimming underwater and being able to come up for air every once in awhile. It energizes you to dive down deep again.

IMHO, YMMV, etc. :D [46]
You described jealousy very well, Sue. It's not sexy or romantic or kinky to me. It's awful and hurtful and cruel. So as I said, in the context of this story, it works as an emotion for the reasons you stated. Otherwise, Starsky wouldn't be "cured" of such an emotion because he finally understands the whys and wherefores, and gets what he wants. In fact, that sort of person would more than likely be worse with the stalking, accusations, setting fake traps to supposedly "catch" his lover being unfaithful, etc. It's definitely a horrible thing that can lead to somebody dying. [47]
I loved this story, I especially loved Hutch in this story. I loved that he went on the date just because Starsky wanted him too, and that he had enough respect for her to tell her the truth. I loved the part when he saw Starsky about to be abused that he turned into a one man protecting machine. I loved the scene in the biker bathroom, where the biker guy sees only a pretty man, but don't mess with Hutch because he is all man and boy did he find out.

I loved the art work too I thought it was beautiful and illustrated the story perfectly, the only complaint, but it is only a tiny one, but her image of Hutch made him look old and not pretty at all, but she did great on his body. Her Starsky was amazing.

Oh I liked the sex scene, because as Hutch kept saying it might be rough but he consented and Starsky made him love it and he knew that Starsky needed it that way and he also knew that they were both very strong men and he could take it. [48]
I'm behind in my reading, so I haven't gotten even halfway through yet, but one thing that really struck me--and it's probably because I have been doing so much editing lately of many different authors--is that Flamingo's scenes all work to further the plot. There is no filler--every line, everything the characters do move the story along. I was particularly impressed with the scene when they go back to the dojo and spar with each other, each getting out some of the anger, noxious emotion and pain that had filled them since they were drugged.

Another thing is that some readers insist that Starsky forced Hutch into the sex in the first scenes. Yes, he wanted it--but if Hutch had not wanted it quite a lot, he wouldn't have consented. The drug enhanced what was already there for Hutch--and brought out Starsky's subconscious, obviously. It wasn't completely all Starsky's coercion, Hutch could have stopped it several times in the night, but he didn't.

Which, of course, is what causes much of the self-recrimination, anger and pain of the rest of the story. Hutch--I think--feels hurt and betrayed that Starsky doesn't remember what happened and Starsky feels shoved into something and (as others have said) very irrational jealousy and anger at what happened. He isn't given a chance to open his feelings gently to receive Hutch's love and let his own shine--for a long, long time.

I do want to smack Starsky some of the time! I'm having a good time rereading. I just wish I had more free moments when I didn't feel like I should be writing or editing! lol 48 hour days, that's what I need. [49]
I loved all the raw emotions throughout - Starsky's character is so good for that - but then in this story, so is Hutch's - but he tries to keep his feelings to himself so he doesn't "scare" Starsky away before he has a chance to realize how he really feels about the two of them together....I love that patience he displays (as he also did in the Rosie story by Flamingo as well)

I always love emotional Starsky, on the edge Starsky and yes, jealous Starsky as well - and a very patient Hutch who does his best not to pressure his partner in anyway....that is such a loving thing for him to endure daily....

(BTW why is Hutch portrayed as so patient anyhow? seems to me in the series he was always getting angry at things Starsky said or did with very little provocation...and he seemed to always be in some kind of mood at the end of the S&H run....)

however I love this Hutch - patient and angsty and knowing that Starsky actually did love him and was just basically biding his time...until Starsky came to the same realization...

I also "bought" the story - for lack of a better term -- the baiting by the other officers about S&H as "different", the drugging of the partners at Huggy's and Starsky's backstory reasons for blocking out his real feelings, were all plausible to me as a reader - and because of that, made it a wonderful read for me...

I read the online 'zine - I'm not sure if it had all of Lovett's pics in it but I found the ones I saw to be so beautiful - and I love her treatment of Hutch's hair - she obviously really loved to draw his beautiful blonde hair...yummy!!..the illo in Chapter 17 where Starsky "takes" Hutch on his brass bed was beyond gorgeous....and the title page was also very lovely....I wish I could see more of her S&H drawings....such a beautiful artist....

Anyway I can't really add more than this - I have read TEOTH several times - and I'm sure I will several more times as well. It always takes me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions and suspence - and is a damn good story to boot! I find myself wanting to cry with them and scream at them and root for them to finally end up together in love, as I feel they should be......and should have been!

Wonderful and lovely story.... :-) [50]

2011

Back when the movie came out, I tried to get into Starsky and Hutch fic. But, being that I had no experience with the TV series, and that most of the fic was only available in print ‘zines, it did not go far. It didn’t help that the movie was kinda crap. But, despite my own inability to get into this fandom, it is extensive, and I firmly believe that Starsky and Hutch are meant to be together...I read Total Eclipse of the Heart early on, and it might have been the reason I stopped. It’s just SO GOOD. It’s be all end all, and hits most of my kinks for cop/military slash. Starsky and Hutch are drugged and, while under the influence, confess their true love and screw like bunnies. This also reveals Starsky’s repressed past, which comes up later. Little did they know that they were being taped. The next day, they’re called into the station, shown the tape, and suspended pending investigation. It has no sound, so Starsky can’t hear the love, his past freaks him out, and the partnership is strained. They end up getting jobs as a bouncer and bartender at the Pink Flamingo, a gay/drag bar and are drawn into 70s gay culture. There are raids and protests and, the entire time, Starsy and Hutch are trying to figure things out. Then Hutch remembers. Starsky still doesn’t, but gets so jealous with Hutch that they end up together anyway, and Starsky tries to work through his issues. It all comes to a head when the Flamingo is raided and those responsible for drugging the pair in the first place come to light. Will Starsky remember his love in time to save the day? Or will this be a TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HEART!!!! Ok, I couldn’t help myself there. The total eclipse refers to Starsky’s emotional clarity; he knows he loves Hutch, his heart is darkened by anti-gay crap and emotional baggage, the sun comes back and they live happily ever after. And that’s not even a surprise. I’m a big fan of happy endings, people... Now, this story? is LONG. I’m talking novel length... Now, it does fall prey to some tropes that I’m not to fond of. There’s a couple mystical dream sequences that reflect the state of the Starsky/Hutch relationship, but also give the impression of some soul-mate mysticism that I haven’t seen since The Sentinel. Like I said, it’s kinda lukewarm for me, even though it does inspire some really excellent (NSFW) art. It’s almost as bad as the “merging aura” sex-scene. And if you’ve read it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. What I love the most, however, is the sense of history you get from this story. It’s very localized in time during an important era for the gay rights movement. It reminds me, stylistically, of memoirs that I’ve read of people who came out in the 70s, (I’m thinking particularly of Tales of the Lavender Menace. Which is a great book, even if you’re not a lesbian). Being that I wouldn’t be born for at least another ten years (I was a child of the 80s), this fic helps me feel connected to a past that I didn’t experience. Now, I would get the same connection from reading other gay lit from the time, but none of them have Huggy Bear. Just sayin. This all leads back to my theory of slash fic–that it’s filling an emotional and storytelling niche. Total Eclipse of the Heart fills a niche that was representative of gay life in the 70s, or at least the issues being addressed for social change; raids, discrimination, hate crimes. If you study closely, you can chart the successes of the gay rights movement by what’s being addressed in fic. Total Eclipse of the Heart has a very “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,” vibe. And, while that is still being chanted today, and should be, you will also find stories (particularly in SGA) about DADT, which is now gone. [51]

2012

(Since I read Total Eclipse of the Heart by Flamingo. I FELL IN LOVE with the story, first and only fic I’ve read because I feel like it’s my be-all-end-all, you know?) [52]

References

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  2. Flamingo: comments at a January 2000 post at The Pits, now offline, quoted on Fanlore with Flamingo's permission
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  4. Flamingo's post on March 8, 2001 on The Pits, a mailing list that required membership and is now offline. It is quoted on Fanlore with permission from Flamingo.
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