Waiting to Fall

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Title: Waiting to Fall
Publisher: Professionals Circuit
Author(s): Rob
Cover Artist(s):
Date(s): July 1989
Series?: no
Medium: print zine
Genre: slash
Fandom: The Professionals
Language: English
External Links: On the circuit archive: One complete file / Broken into ten parts for easier loading
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
a 1995, 415-page custom zine

Waiting to Fall is a slash novel by Rob, written for distribution on the Professionals circuit -- i.e., to be passed from one fan to another, with each fan making a copy for herself if she wanted one, before putting it back on the circuit. In this particular case, that was an expensive proposition: The Hatstand calls it "the longest story in Pros slash", and notes that it is often referred to as "Waiting to Fuck." [1] The story is 350,000 words long.

One fan remembers her paper copy: "It was a two-inch, two-pound, double-sided stack of a single story: Waiting to Fuck Fall... this copy looks like it was created at different times - different paper, different toner quality, etc. I think I inherited it from [a fan who moved to Canada, name redacted]." [2]

The zine often appears on fans' Desert Island lists.[3]

This story was discussed in Angst and emotional dynamics in slash, as exemplified in Helen Raven's "Heat Trace", a 1992 essay by Shoshanna.


In 1995, Jan Levine fan undertook the Sisyphean task of retyping the entire novel into a more readable (and electronic) form.

"Stop Press" -- printed in Late for Breakfast #26

This retyping was not without discourse. A fan in Late for Breakfast #26 (September 1995) became alarmed and alerted other fans, setting off a round of discussion in the next issue of "Late for Breakfast."

Felicity wrote:

I'm afraid I can't get hot under the collar about someone retyping Waiting to Fall. As long as they are not doing it for profit, then I don't see the problem. Waiting to Fall was never published as a zine, so no editor is being done out of sales. It has been in circulation for many years now through fans photocopying it for themselves and/or others. That was the point of the circuit for Professionals slash fandom, after all. Just because the stories are now being put onto a computer disk doesn't change the basic situation, that these stories are in circulation to be read and copied by fans.

As for doing this without ROB's knowledge, all of us who circulated stories knew that they would be copied by whatever means. I seem to remember (and I'm sure ROB does too) that Masquerade was re-typed, photocopied and circulated without the author's knowledge, consent or anything else.

I have heard that there is the equivalent of the circuit library for Professionals stories on the Internet. My only concern would be over who has access to it. I'm not a believer in shoving slash fiction under the noses of those who either know nothing about it or who dislike the premise, I don't like the thought of Tom, Dick or Harriet, not to mention tv companies, gaining access to slash fiction that way.
Artemis wrote:
Let's get the serious stuff out of the way first. Re CUSHY's stop press in LfB 26 [about Waiting to Fall] this is the first I've heard about this happening. It seems as if it's being done with the best of intentions, and I think that there are some arguments in favour of circulating circuit stories via the Internet, but I strongly feel that it's totally unethical to distribute a writer's work in any form whatsoever without asking their permission first.
Cushy, the original creator of "Stop Press," wrote:
Re Waiting to Fall and British circuit stories: I have had quite a lot of 'internet chat' with the lady who runs the library in the States and it appears that they have been for the last few years re-typing and/or scanning most of the old British circuit stories which are then circulated freely amongst fans over there via email. (Quite how long it would take to download Waiting to Fall at over 600 pages I have no idea!) Anyway, although my immediate reaction to this was 'heh, wait a minute...'and "wouldn't it be polite to notify the author..' after discussing it through and having been asked to justify what the difference between photocopying stories and re-typing them was (a question I must be honest I found difficult to answer), I have sort of got used to the idea. I can confirm that they are being re-typed EXACTLY as originals vis British spelling etc. The lady who runs the library was MOST emphatic that nothing is changed. However, Waiting to Fall does need an edit (so says the author as well as me) so it has been agreed that we will be sent a disc with the whole re-typed story and it can be edited, and then presumably made available to people over here as well. Anyone interested?

In the end, it took Jan Levine, who indeed did have permission to type the story and make light copy-editing, three years to finish the task.

The Story vs. The City Bus

Because the story had so many pages, fans would often carry it loose or in parts. A 600 page binder could weigh a ton, and in the days before Kindle, lugging the binder and paper to and fro was for only the hardiest (or masochistic) fans.

In 1994, a fan named alexfandra related on a close encounter between the pages of "Waiting to Fall" and a city bus:

I'd finally snagged a copy of the massive Pros novel "Waiting to Fall" (AKA "Waiting to Screw"), at 600+ pages, a tome to be reckoned with. I reckoned with it my carrying 200 page sections about with me at one time. These pages were not in a binder, nay, they were kept loose in file folders preparatory to my plan to copy them at work while no one was looking. So there I was one morning, riding the bus, engrossed in the pages I was currently reading whilst a 200-page section sat in my backpack destined for the photocopier. The pages I was reading were a tad exciting. So exciting that I failed to notice how close we were coming to my stop until the bus began to make its final approach--I looked up, saw the University hospital, and thought, Oops. I leaped from my seat, grabbing up my backpack. Which was not zipped shut.

The file folder inside, with the 200 pages of "Waiting to Fall", went flying down the aisle. Many people were attempting to walk down the aisle to leave the bus. The bus itself was lurching mightily to a long, drawn-out stop. As I scrambled to retrieve the mess, bumping into people as the bus lurched along, I had one clear thought in mind: the page with the sex scene is going to get stuck under the seats.

My second thought was, [my friend T] is going to kill me. She's the one I borrowed the novel from, and it was her pristine copy which was making its merry way down the filthy bus aisle. By some incredible miracle granted to me by the Slash Slut Goddess, I got the miscreant pages in hand, managed to exit the bus before finding myself in another county, got to the office, ate some chocolate immediately, and then carefully put it all in the right order and not only was nothing missing, but nothing was even smudged, torn, or mangled. Two page corners were slightly bent (sorry, T). I unbent them and offered a silent thank-you to the above-mentioned SSG.

I have, however, never read slash on the bus since, as I don't believe in tempting fate too terribly often. [4]

Reactions and Reviews

Unknown Date

Over the years in the Pros fandom I've often wondered why Rob's story Waiting to Fall was often referred to as Waiting to Fuck. Having just finished the zine I can now see why! This is a long, well written, intriguing and, at times, highly angst ridden read. While Waiting to Fall is not an AU, neither is it quite the CI5 universe that we love and know. The reason for this is mainly due to the changed circumstances of Ray Doyle and the manner in which he is bought into CI5. While well done and highly essential to the story, I was never sure that I felt too comfortable with this alteration. Mainly, I think, because the background poor Doyle was saddled with, and the resulting trauma that went with it, immediately created an imbalance of power within his and Bodie's partnership, plus it left Doyle very vulnerable to 'attack' within CI5 itself - as we saw in his confrontation with Day. In fact the way Doyle was treated by almost everyone, specifically Bodie in the first instance, had me gritting my teeth with suppressed rage in much of the first part. The story takes place over a number of years and therefore has considerable time to develop first a working partnership, then a slightly tenuous friendship due to the fact that Bodie is constantly being faced with questions over Doyle's innocence, loyalty and mental and physical fitness to be in CI5. The friendship truly takes off when Bodie supports Doyle through a very fraught and difficult time, but doesn't become a partnership of equals until Doyle is finally able to confront and deal with all of his demons. It is also then that Doyle's characterisation begins to really feel familiar and right. Throughout the novel we are shown the suppressed attraction that both, although initially it is principally Bodie, have for each other, and the final part of the novel where they acknowledge it and act upon it is, for me, the most enjoyable part. In summary, a long and rewarding read with some subtle humour to counter balance the angst - I was very fond of the tricks that Doyle used in his battle with the doctor over his lack of weight gain, and Rob certainly makes you wait for them to...fall. [5]


It's FINALLY finished! [6]
Basically good writing, technically, if somewhat pedestrian and uninspired (no "spark"). But over 500 pages of single-spaced typing, half of which are redundant, all to discover that all along all Doyle had to do to avoid his rape nightmare was to have sex with Bodie while facing the man!? I beg your pardon? What a cop-out ending. I like about the first 200 pages -- fitting the ex-con Doyle into CI5 with Bodie as his mentor then lover and braiding it all in and around actual episodes was compelling reading, then it went downhill. I'm not sure if I lost interest because of the repetition, or if the author did. [7]


Those of us in PROS fandom, particularly those familiar with the "circuit" have anxiously awaited the finishing of this novel. It was finally complete about a year ago and is available from the Circuit Library or at many cons. Someday, I hope someone will consider printing this in zine format, complete with luscious art work. But, I'll accept it in its present form, (I have the complete set xeroxed).

This 500+ page novel takes place in a slightly "alternate" universe. In this setting, Doyle has just come out of serving 3 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of corruption while in the police force. While in prison, he has been sexually abused. The novel goes through a thorough character study of how the wrongful conviction and imprisonment have affected Doyle. Doyle is invited to join CIS and the rest follows an alternate path from the series through a relationship with Ann Holly, then a budding relationship with Bodie, his partner. The novel makes it clear that Ray needs, (and receives), a lot of help in surviving the ordeal he has endured, and in that way, is realistic. He isn't saved merely by the "right man" loving him, (although the "right man" definitely comes to that place). Some have complained that the novel "drags", but I didn't find this so. The novel took the time it needed to realistically depict recovery from trauma. Recommended! [8]
I just read "Waiting to Fall" myself, and also quite enjoyed it. Did you know that a lot of fen called it "Waiting to Screw"? By page 300, I admit I was getting a little anxious myself. [9]
I just finished reading "Waiting to Fall", a 600 plus page novel which gives Doyle a different background and entry into CI5. Despite its length, this story is quite good. [10]


Waiting To Fall: This story kept me intrigued to the end because it has lots of angst. The pschological sort... not the physical. Plenty of depth to keep my sympathy and empathy going. THIS IS NOT AN ACTION STORY. Anyone wanting that shouldn't even look at this. It is a bit slow, and involved ... it has some complexity! The only fault I could find ... and it is a major flaw ... is that we get Bodie's memories of a nightmarish background. He never gets healed as Doyle does, by talking it out. I'm really mad at the author for doing that I wish she would write that and have some illustrations done... and publish it in a zine. Just like Master Of The Revels, it deserves it. [11]


I'm still reading 'Waiting to Fall' which might well be called 'Waiting to Fuck' for all the action I've seen so far. [12]


My favorite novel so far - "Waiting to Fall", 615 pages of almost entirely good stuff, quite a feat. [13]


The first 50-75 pages of Waiting To Fall are the best part. No sex between the lads, but lovely, effective set-up. delightful angsty plot device (Doyle's been in gaol) and and ingenious bed-sharing manoevers. Doyle fans should enjoy it especially. [14]
Surely though, for sexual disfuntion you can't beat "Waiting To Fall" (also known as "Waiting To Fuck" <g>) -- I thought I was going to die of frustration before they got it together! And though I'd hate to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it -- I still say the mushrooms were a cop out! Wonderful long wallow though! [15]


What I got through, I didn't like. It's again more of the same argument 10,000 times in the name of building UST. These two crackle with UST just by saying hello. [16]
Oh I dunno, I definitely found the lads too "not themselves" in that one... I mean I can go with all the h/c, and the trapped in the wall bit was interesting (and not counting the whole get on with it of it) and had potential, but... I remember thinking it wasn't quite... them, no matter that it was in the CI5 universe... [17]
I was not drawn in at all, so I probably didn't get far enough in to gauge how they were characterised. Then I discovered the alternate title [18] and didn't bother continuing.[19]


As I've mentioned before, Pros is blessed with a lot of good novels. I've been waiting years for this one to be typed up and put online, because I'd never managed to get hold of a paper copy and I've been hearing about it for as long as I've been in Pros. It was worth the wait, once I finally had time to devote to reading it (that word count isn't a typo). Rob starts things pre-series, with one AU premise: Ray's background, and why and how he was brought into CI5. From there, she builds the friendship first, as Bodie and Doyle learn to accept and trust each other, and gradually an attraction develops, in the midst of angst and hurt/comfort and plottiness. The whole thing is tremendously engaging, and well worth the read. One minor warning, such as it is: there's a good reason the fandom's alternate name for this story is "Waiting to Fuck". *g* This moves along slowly and steadily, and the relationship happens in its own sweet time. It's just lovely if you like a slow build, but if you're used to a fast payoff it could be a little frustrating. [20]
Waiting to Fall which was so drawn out I was nearly screaming two-thirds through and couldn't finish it. [21]
Do you know, I didn't get through Waiting to Fall. I got as far as Ray's recovery after his abduction and then just kind of lost interest. I keep meaning to go back to the story one of these days. I enjoyed it, but felt like it went on and on. I would bet with a good strong edit that story could have been half the length. [22]


Yesterday I read Waiting to Fall, a 2082K Professionals novel. It’s so satisfying to read an excellent novel length story from the very beginning to the end. There’re some problems that made me grit my teeth in frustration because the solutions to those problems are so simple, yet the characters didn’t seem to grasp it until the last few chapters. But if I thought about it more, it’s the right thing that the author did. Because it made the characters more real, because in real world, those are the things we usually do. The repeated mistakes, the problems that we, as readers, as outsiders, spot so easily, that we think are so simple to solve, are actually things that we can’t realize, can’t rectify, can’t solve so easily in the real life. Because we are human, with all the limitations and the imperfections that we’re born with. But as human, we can also try to be better, to jump past the limitations, to fix the imperfections. The struggle to do all those things is what we call life. And in this case, the hard life the couple must endure is certainly worth it, for they finally get their happy ending.[23]


When Bodie retrieves the inmate from the local penitentiary, he has no idea that self-same man is one Raymond Doyle, soon to become his partner.

This fic pretty much embodies “melodrama.” In sparkling glittery letters, even. I’m kind of a sucker for this, but although I’m reccing it here, I’m only doing so with some misgivings.

The real reason I love this is its sheer campiness. It was written in the 80’s and almost feels like it was written in the seventies. It’s full of the illogic you find in media from that time period. The amount of plot that was crammed into these 350,000 words makes it feel like the story is even longer. There are murders and cases and dark dealings. There’s insanity and torture and a shooting tournament. Honestly I can’t think of anything the author could have added to the fic as far as plot goes.

Sadly, the only character who’s remotely relatable is Doyle. Pretty much everyone else in the entire story is a giant bastard to Doyle and sometimes to others. Repeatedly. (Okay, Lake is also nice.) The worst of the worst are Cowley and Bodie. Yeah, the Bodie who’s paired with Doyle. So although I really do love this story, the main pairing does tend to make me really pissy. On the plus side, after Bodie gets over himself and before he falls for Doyle, he’s actually a fairly decent friend.

One other thing to note: the version of this story found on the internet was typed from the original version and is missing small parts of the original. Generally it’s just a paragraph, but there is one whole page missing somewhere. Also, because of this, the editing is a very different kind of off, the kind where phrases and sentences are repeated. Considering its length, it’s not the most obnoxious thing ever, but it is a bit annoying. [24]


Reccer's Notes: Rob starts things pre-series, with one AU premise: Ray's background, and why and how he was brought into CI5. From there, she builds the friendship first, as Bodie and Doyle learn to accept and trust each other, and gradually an attraction develops, in the midst of angst and hurt/comfort and plottiness. The whole thing is tremendously engaging, and well worth the read.

One minor warning, such as it is: there's a good reason the fandom's alternate name for this story is "Waiting to Fuck". *g* This moves along slowly and steadily, and the relationship happens in its own sweet time. It's just lovely if you like a slow build, but if you're used to a fast payoff it could be a little frustrating. [25]


  1. Waiting to Fall in Hatstand's zine index. (accessed 19 Sep 2009)
  2. Arduinna, 4.11.2010, accessed 5.16.2011
  3. Close Quarters] Desert Island Episode/Zine/Fic] dated July 18, 2009; reference link.
  4. posted to the Virgule-L mailing list in 1994, quoted on Fanlore with permission
  5. Waiting to Fall review, archived copy [1])
  6. from a fan in Short Circuit #3 (October 1990)
  7. comments by Linda Terrell (who mistakenly calls it "Heading for a Fall") in Short Circuit #3 (October 1990)
  8. from On the Double #21
  9. Sandy Herrold in Cold Fish and Stale Chips #9 (1991)
  10. from Cold Fish and Stale Chips #7 (1991)
  11. from a fan in Short Circuit #11 (December 1992)
  12. comments by Susan H. at Virgule-L, quoted with permission (September 23, 1993)
  13. September 27, 1994, Alexfandra, post to Virgule-L, quoted with permission
  14. a fan reviewing the story on the CI5 List in 1998, quoted anonymously with permission.
  15. comment at CI5 mailing list, quoted anonymously (July 9, 1998)
  16. a 2006 comment at CI5hq
  17. a 2006 comment at CI5hq
  18. "Waiting to Fuck"
  19. a 2006 comment at CI5hq
  20. Rec by Arduinna, dated May 29, 2007. Accessed September 20, 2009.
  21. comment by shootingtokill at PSPC Day #7, Ancasta's Corner dated April, 2007; reference link.
  22. comment by Ancasta at PSPC Day #7, Ancasta's Corner dated April, 2007; reference link.
  23. Slashrecs summary 2007 by lada-hitam, July 3, 2008.
  24. Epic Recs, November 24 2010
  25. Fancake Rec, by Arduinna, January 12, 2013