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Title: Unforgotten
Author(s): Gil Hale
Genre: gen
Fandom: Magnificent Seven
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Unforgotten is a Magnificent Seven story by Gil Hale.


Chris Larabee, the leader of ATF Team 7, has been missing for months. Team 7 is devastated by the loss, and is slowly, but surely breaking apart, even as they try to continue with their respective lives. In one last-ditch effort, Vin Tanner and Ezra Standish find a slim lead, and decide to follow it, a decision which leads to the discovery of an old evil nesting right under their noses. And with each step further along their path lies more danger for them, for Chris, and for several unfortunate innocents, swept up in the tides of fortune. [1]

Reactions and Reviews

A mild introduction is in order for those of you who don't follow Magnificent 7 fandom. Magnificent 7 has gone through a lot of incarnations in the movies, and sometime around the late 80's/early 90's it was made into a tv series starring Micheal Biehn, Eric Close, Ron Pearlman, Andrew Kavovit, Dale Midkiff, Anthony Starke, and Rick Worthy as the title characters. I am not a fan of western movies, but I expect I will acquire some of the original movies just for comparison purposes - it's really interesting how the characterizations evolve through different directors, media, and cultures (Magnificent 7 is a rip-off of the Japanese tale of the Seven Samurai).

With that in mind, and added to the tendency of fanfic authors to re-imagine characters in various settings, it should come as no surprise that one of the authors within the tv fandom, MOG, re-imagined the 7 in the present day, as ATF agents based in Denver. This is one of the most popular AUs I've ever seen, and it's easy to see why: we need heros today, and the Magnificent 7 are the sort of heros we need. One of the things about Magnificent 7 fandom is that AUs are often left 'open' to other authors, ie, although MOG came up with this idea, she has no qualms about other people writing in this universe, provided she's credited with the original idea. This is something of a brilliant idea - it is by no means original to Mag7 or MOG, but nonetheless, the creativity it invites is stunning.

And thus we come to this story: Gil Hale has written a(nother) stunning work in the ATF AU in the Magnificent 7 fandom. It opens with a quick, gut-wrenching hook: we see through the eyes of an amnesiac, and we wonder with him who he is. The reason this hook works so well is that it plays on one of our basic fears, and basic questions: who we are is an essential part of are lives, and we all fear not knowing that answer, we all fear the feeling of helplessness and being adrift that that entails. More, we've all done enough soul-searching that we understand, a little bit, that greater fear.

The story unfolds that the amnesiac is Chris Larabee, and he has been missing for several months. 4 of his agents, Josiah, Nathan, JD, and Buck struggle to continue life, not believing he is dead, but unable to remain focused on what might amount to a lost cause as the other two, Vin and Ezra, do. Vin and Ezra, instead of moving on, have been obsessing over finding Chris, chasing every lead, no matter how slim, or how much trouble they get into. Orrin Travis has covered for them all he can, but must suspend them due to their insubordination and increasingly rough handling of just about everything and everyone involved in any lead they chase. In addition, Orrin is thinking of disbanding the team due to circumstances.

Unforgotten is told in 3rd person limited - we can see in to the heads of all the characters, but we only learn the story as they do. There are at least three different threads playing on the theme of being unforgotten: Chris, and his struggle to regain himself in the hospital; Vin and Ezra, and their struggle to find Chris; and the main bad guy's struggle to remember his heritage, and his ethos and morality.

One of the key things to remember in a piece told with several different viewpoints is to limit how many viewpoints you use to those that are absolutely necessary to get the point across. Gil Hale does this skillfully, and with style and grace. She weaves the plot subtly, so that you get glimpses of, bits and hints of what's really going on, and when you know the truth, it's still horrifying, even as it shouldn't be.

Gil Hale is one of my favorite writers, and reading this story is one of the best examples why. [2]


  1. from The Library of Alexandria, September 7, 2007
  2. from The Library of Alexandria, September 7, 2007