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15 August 2010 @ 02:14 pm
Some Favorite Susan Stories  
The story by susanmgarrett that most sheerly delights me is "Seduction of the Diligent."  This is the one in Tippi's "Eternal Champion" universe in which Natalie, all unwilling, becomes first a fan, and then a fanfiction author.  It recapitulates the experience of FK fandom with nostalgia, defiance and comfort.

The Susan story that most rips my heart out is her unforgettable "Knight in Hell."  Back in the day, stories didn't come with warnings.  Consider yourself warned about this one.  And read it anyway.

The stories by her that you most of all cannot miss are the Dorian universe: False Heart, Kind Soul and Noble Mind (unfinished).  Susan's Dorian the Archivist is nearly deuterocanonical, "the official AU of FK fandom," so to speak.  There are other great FK fanfiction novels, but none that have penetrated so far into our collective consciousness.  I reread one most every summer.  I have the complete stories as zines; this year, I was considering putting them on my Kindle.

Possibly the best FK story by Susan, in my opinion, is "Three of a Kind," the first of the four novellas that she contributed to the GWD Fan Club, sold as zines for charity fundraising.  As far as I know, it was never put online so that it would remain a good fundraising item.  I remember borrowing the zine while visiting [personal profile] batdina and being utterly blown away by the clever construction and resonant revelation (don't let yourself be spoiled on this one; it's worth the trouble).  Later, I was lucky enough to get to purchase a copy of my own.

Just a few more:
What are some of your favorites of her fanfiction?  pj1228 just mentioned her "A Lamentation for Strings" and two V4S installments.

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One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: griefamilyn on August 15th, 2010 09:41 pm (UTC)
Do you have the happy version of the "Knight in Hell" party favor? That story is how cybertardis and Susan met. Found it! Susan would pass out the one you've linked and say, "Read this. Come and find me when you're done." cybertardis read it, then all 6 feet of her found Susan in the hallway about an hour later and met her with, "You BITCH!" Susan would then give "Assignment: Knight", the real version to them to read. Two versions of the same night, two scenarios, two versions of the possible outcome of the night...one hideous, one sweet.

One of my fondest memories will be listening to Susan read aloud "Knighty-Knight, Nick", the story that annlarimer wrote for her birthday in 1996.

Edited at 2010-08-15 09:46 pm (UTC)
Amy R.: Caddybrightknightie on August 16th, 2010 04:55 am (UTC)
"Assignment: Knight"
Yep, I'm familiar with "Assignment: Knight." :-) It is indeed as sweet and comfortable as ice cream in summer! Thanks for mentioning it. "Knight in Hell," with its extraordinary punch, is closer to my own heart, but its twin story is also remark-worthy -- and perhaps they should always be paired, as they were in the beginning.

I knew the story of the "party favor" at the con, but I had never before heard that this was how Susan and cybertardis met! Thank you for sharing that.

It interests me to read your characterization of "Assignment: Knight" as the "real version." I always thought that the two versions were equal in the prank.
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: natalieamilyn on August 16th, 2010 06:02 am (UTC)
Re: "Assignment: Knight"
I am using Susan's wording there with "real version."

Ever since 1996 and LK, we've all said repeatedly re: "Knight in Hell" that "She didn't mean she thought this was a good idea!!!"

The idea, as I understood it, was that the story was a party favor, with the idea that it meant "a good thing" and that, at the small-group party that it was written for, everyone was given a nice copy of "Knight in Hell" and they all read it together, with shrieks of horror. Then, after everyone was reduced to a wibbling puddle of misery, they got out what Susan characterized as "the real version" for the "real party favor" and out came "Assignment: Knight."

Susan did the same thing with the pair of stories, but had them at her dealer's table, either that same weekend or a week later either at MWC or another con out east-ish, handing out not prettied-up party-favor-style copies, but photocopies of the text of the stories, as described above. She was giving them away for free to anyone who knew the show and saying, "Read this. Come back when you're done." And when they came back (as they ALL DID!) she'd give them the parallel version of the story, similarly photo-copied.

I can't remember if I was at the con that year. I have to have been, if it was MWC. I just don't know anymore what con it was.

Edited at 2010-08-16 06:09 am (UTC)
greerwatsongreerwatson on August 16th, 2010 11:11 am (UTC)
Re: "Assignment: Knight"
You mean they actually read it and took it as serious fic?!! You're joking, right?

"Knight in Hell" is one of Susan's I hadn't seen before—so I clicked on the link so kindly provided above. After a bit, I started grinning. It's just so obviously OTT.

Geez Louise, my mother's like that. You tell a joke deadpan, and she thinks you mean it.

Are you taking the mickey on me here? You must be.

One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: flying by Abby & Rache & meamilyn on August 16th, 2010 04:14 pm (UTC)
Re: "Assignment: Knight"
TPTB didn't see the story, no. After LK...it just felt like they had, and felt like they'd mimicked that OTT gloom-and-doom. Our "She didn't MEAN IT!" was our gallows humor in the aftermath of the end of the series.

But the joke at the parties was to hand out the story as "Here's your gift-fic-party-favor! Enjoy!" and then watch folks go "Holy Crap, Batman! That's not a pleasant gift!" and watch the panic...then give them the pleasant alternative version of the night out with Jenny: the "real party favor" aka the "real happy story gift for the party" as it were.

But, no, TPTB did not read fanfic that we know of, despite the confluence of events that led to similarities in storytelling that grew out of logical mergings of predictable outcomes in places where there were coincidences (see wiliqueen's "Silent All These Years" and "Fate Worse Than Death" for example...)

Deb Duchêne did read the Drinking Game...as did her brother, who complained about why you only got one drink when Nick kissed HER, but four when he kissed Natalie. *grin*
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on August 16th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
Re: "Assignment: Knight"
>"You mean they actually read it and took it as serious fic?!"

Well I did, anyway. Perhaps I am very gullible (people have said so before).

I have always enjoyed "Knight in Hell" as a serious cascade of horror. It was my first encounter with canon-character death in fanfic; I found it eye-opening and unforgettable. I cried over it in the computer lab... I think that the prank with its gentle twin should not delegitimze it from evaluation on its own.

But of course we all have widely different tastes. :-) Luckily, Susan wrote many diverse kinds of stories. Do you have any favorites that you would recommend?
Amy R.: Nick Solemnbrightknightie on August 16th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
Re: "Assignment: Knight"
I greatly enjoy "Knight in Hell" just as it is, an excellently wrought cascading horror, so it feels strange to think of it as less "real" than its twin. (It was the first such apocalyptic fanfiction that I'd ever read. It widened my horizons in storytelling.) But yes, as you explain it, of course the gentle story of the pair must have been the final presentation in person, the lasting comfort after the temporarily-inflicted hurt, so to speak.

I understand the joke comparing the "Knight in Hell" avalanche to third season in general and LK in particular. :-)

Thank you very much for sharing these tales of how the stories were experienced that first time.