wendelah1: (Fugue)
[personal profile] wendelah1 posting in [community profile] xf_book_club
This week, we're doing a rerun, while I'm waiting on a friend to finish editing her podfic of "Ingenue" or for so-kiss-me-goodbye to complete "The Lambs," whichever comes first.

Back in the day, I had a theory that "Fugue" was written as a response to complaints that the show is a deeply sexist text, with Mulder being the one who drives the plot, and Scully as his sidekick. That's not how I see the series, and it is just a theory. But there does seem to be a subtext to this fable, one that hinges on female identity and how easily women still can submerge themselves in deference to their mates' ambition and passions.

We discussed this for the first time back in 2008. Eight years seems long enough to justify a rerun of one of my personal favs. Reading this deeply affected me; in fact, the first fic I wrote was in response to "Fugue," rather than the series, and that was long before I'd heard of Remix. It remains one of my favorite stories, in this or any fandom.

Fugue (26052 words) by rivkat
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The X-Files
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Dana Scully/Fox Mulder
Characters: Dana Scully, Fox Mulder
Additional Tags: Amnesia, Juvenilia
Series: Part 1 of Fugue
Summary:

The DSM-IV defines fugue as travel in foreign places, often under an assumed identity.



Since our first discussion, "Fugue" has become a series, providing two more reasons to revisit the fic.

Devoutly to be wished (496 words) by rivkat
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The X-Files
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Dana Scully, Fox Mulder, C.G.B. Spender
Additional Tags: Eight crazy nights
Series: Part 2 of Fugue
Summary:

The prompt: The ending of Fugue: The image of Scully shivering on that cold floor, in shock after the visit from the Smoking Man? It haunts me. Please get her up off that floor and, if possible, into a happier ending.



Variations on a Fugue (1224 words) by rivkat
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The X-Files
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Dana Scully, Fox Mulder
Additional Tags: Amnesia, Remix
Series: Part 3 of Fugue
Summary:

Alternate vision of Fugue, for hulamoth. Fox was the one who couldn't remember, and Dana got her memories back.



After you read the series, consider leaving feedback and/or kudos for the author. Please come back and let us know what you think. As always, the nomination post is open for your suggestions.

A series?

Date: 2016-09-06 05:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] stefrobrts.livejournal.com
I don't know if I can. I only read Fugue recently (like within the last year) and it destroyed me. Powerful stuff. I have to admire a story that could upset me so much, but that doesn't mean I want to volunteer for more!

Date: 2016-09-06 08:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mcparrot.livejournal.com

When I clicked the link I realise I remember the story but I don't remember how it ends. Looks like I need to reread.

Date: 2016-09-07 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mcparrot.livejournal.com
When I started reading it I realised it wasn't the story I was thinking of after all.

The one I was remembering has Dana married to someone who isn't Mulder who is married to someone else. She does find Mulder and it starts triggering flashbacks for both of them.

It turns out that everyone is post colonisation and everyone's minds have been wiped, but most people don't care.

I haven't finished reading this one yet but will tonight.

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] mcparrot.livejournal.com - Date: 2016-09-07 04:52 am (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2016-09-08 12:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mcparrot.livejournal.com
No, I definitely hadn't read that. You're right,you don't forget that. I don't think the little coda makes it any better either.
Dammit.

(no subject)

From: [identity profile] mcparrot.livejournal.com - Date: 2016-09-08 11:35 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2016-09-06 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jassugirl.livejournal.com
Hrngh, I'm dead again. I love-slash-hate this story so damn much.

Date: 2016-09-09 03:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jassugirl.livejournal.com
I hadn't read the other 2 before this, and I'm glad I did because I liked the resolution better, but at the same time, it's not helping my "Hrngh I'm dead again" feelings. :-)

And thanks for adding me! I'll try to be good about posting and being involved. I miss being on here!

Whew

Date: 2016-09-07 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bmerb.livejournal.com
Yeah this story absolutely killed me back in the day (1999). Wendy, I can't say how much I appreciate the addition you requested in terms of pure despair relief.

It's strange but for some reason I find this fic to be one of the MORE in-character XF pieces by RivkaT. Mulder with his memory returned is both a wreck and paranoid, arrogant and self centered and despairing too. Dana really isn't far off from Scully in most ways. It's horrible and flat and disturbing, and painful and gripping and twisted.

Just what IS reality? Is this Mulder an utter asshole or is he justifiably totally paranoid and also unwilling to let go entirely of the sexual aspects of the latest mind-fuck perpetrated against him (THEM, but how can he know what's going on with her, so to his mind perhaps only HIM)? Because this story is Dana's POV there is no way to know, but RivkaT's alternate version, in which Scully gets her memories but Mulder doesn't, indicates some pretty deep trauma for the one regaining themselves completely as well. I can easily imagine the emotional devastation that would result in Mulder from Scully only returning somehow "incompletely" as a person. 4 years doesn't create a whole life, it could only create a shell or patina of the previous person I suspect. Heck a good friend of mine had an awful case of meningitis and nearly died. She had a lot of brain swelling, and after recovering she was simply never quite the same. I love the person she is now but still mourn the loss of that person she used to be, and all but a couple days of her memory remain largely intact.

And oh wow, the pain of the part where Dana is talking about her death when/if Scully returns. Just kills me. Kills. It appears that Mulder replaces Bill entirely, yet he makes clear later that he retains his memories of Bill as well, and struggles because part of him wants to return to that persona. Oh the character reveal and angst!

Also, why and how IS Dana so ruthless as their constructed lives crumble? And WTF with CSM? I would love to know what RivkaT had in mind as the underlying truth, but in my mind I prefer to see it as yet another way of destroying Dana/Scully's self, not a signifier of her true history. Her follow up addition seems to show that Dana is working towards the side of good and right, if not in line with Mulder. Also, if all of her being and humanity is informed only by her 4 years with the XF, might that render her more inclined to be hard and somewhat ruthless? Somehow because I'm a deep Scullyist, I'm firmly in the camp of Scully being the more dangerous of the partners. I'd say she is the one They would need to curb and corral, and how better than by deeply erasing her full past and splitting her from her partner?

Ok probably over thinking it but I love/hate this little series and I'm glad of a chance to reread them!

Re: Whew

Date: 2016-09-07 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com
Did somebody say overthinking? Sounds like my jam!

I really enjoyed reading your comment, and I can't resist adding to it, or at least replying to it (whichever ends up being more accurate by the time I finish typing this). The boss stepped out for lunch and so I've a few minutes with which to, well, "waste time" (though literary merit discussions are never a waste IMO).

I felt that this piece was pretty well in character, or at least as IC as it could be considering the material with which the author had to work. Loss of memory and therefore a huge part of a person's identity makes for a difficult piece to write. I find it interesting, though, that you felt this was one of this author's more IC works.

Anyway, I enjoyed memory-returned Mulder being as you described: a wreck, paranoid, arrogant, self-centered, despairing, but also with a spark of hopefulness and a big fat tablespoon of ignorance. I got the impression throughout the series that he was pretty ignorant of his effect on other people to a certain degree, and by that I mean...he never did seem to understand how his choices affected others. In this story, for example, he's so excited about his own memories and remembering himself that he unwittingly leaves her in the dust; I don't think he was able to understand how much this hurt her. Or really even in what ways. This is definitely an instance where his psychology degree doesn't quite feel as if it fits...but again, the series never did let him break of out of his perpetual existence as a self-centered man, so in that way I guess it's quite IC/fitting.

[but RivkaT's alternate version, in which Scully gets her memories but Mulder doesn't, indicates some pretty deep trauma for the one regaining themselves completely as well]

Yes, I think this was very important. Seeing the flip side makes it easier to understand Mulder in the initial piece, I think, though Mulder existed before Scully in his work on the X-Files, and Scully comes in after the X-Files have become a thing. Because of this, it's not an equal experience, but it's not altogether different, either. Remembering all of that trauma--and having to remember it alone--would be hard. Mulder wants Scully back, Dana wants Bill back, and I think they both, deep down, want something solid and real again, having felt they had it twice (two different "lives", as themselves and their alter-egos) and lost it. The person who remembers, for example, Mulder, wants his former relationship to Scully back, and he wants Scully back, but I think having always (assuming a romantic attachment) wanted a relationship with Scully also, wants the best of both worlds: he wants his relationship to Scully and Dana to be one and the same.

But that's not something they'll ever have. He can only ever have Scully-as-Dana, and even then it's the past tense.

Anyway, I commented a bit more about their relationship and what this kind of situation does to it in my own comment, so I won't clutter this up further with that babbling. :P I want to add, however, that you made a good point with Mulder-as-Bill, and wanting in a sense to return to that persona. It was safe, he was probably, for the most part, happy...and now that he remembers he can't have anything he wants. Neither of them can. They're both left wanting things they can't have.

Re: Whew

Date: 2016-09-07 05:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com
QUICK tangent here: but I think your earlier comment about him wondering if this was against THEM or HIM would also lead to the marriage-as-cover and who, exactly, that cover was for. Was it just for Mulder? Or was it also for Scully's sake? Were their affections mutual or one-sided? Mulder, as the remembering one in the main story, has to deal with the possibility that Scully was dragged into it because of him (and made his wife for his sake, in an attempt to make him subconsciously happy enough to not question anything). If this is true, in a sense, then, it's his fault that she'll never come back as herself. Ouch. Again, trauma for the one who remembers: it's just a different kind of pain than for the one who forgets themselves.

I didn't think Dana was too ruthless but I sped through this story so fast I might have accidentally missed something telling. I think CSM existed solely to plant the ultimate doubt into Dana's mind. She can't trust ANYTHING or ANYONE ever again. So I agree with you: it's a way to mess with her one final way so severely she'll never regain her footing even if she DOES get her memories back.

(I think Scully can be the more dangerous of the two of them, by the way, depending on the circumstances. Mulder might fly off the handle but there's something pressingly terrifying about controlled righteous indignation, which Scully could utilize and probably has in spades. She's more in control and in that sense more calculating and a bigger issue to worry about than was initially suspected of her. Which I felt the show did try to convey to an extent, though they always put Mulder in the spotlight.)

Date: 2016-09-07 03:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com
I just finished this little series. I was getting into it at work yesterday, but I was awfully busy and didn't have time to finish up until work today (things are much slower today, thank God; I like having fanfiction time at work, haha).

I left comments on all three stories in this series, so I'm not really feeling up to repeating myself, but as always there's a lot to say. I'll actually be concise this time, though. For once. (I hope.)

I really enjoyed this, and I think I must have skipped it over due to the comments left on the previous discussion post, though now I'm not sure what those comments were or why I skipped over this; maybe because everyone thought this was depressing and I've had enough sorrows to last me the rest of my life IRL, let alone in fanfiction.

But honestly I didn't think it was so very depressing. It was sad, certainly, perhaps even tragic, but I think these things are a little easier to forgive when the story is super in character and the events seem plausible enough.

I was recapping this story to my partner last night (the first part, which was all I managed to finish yesterday), and he was a little surprised by the fact that They made the decision to keep Scully and Mulder together, albeit by different names. I found myself explaining why I felt it made sense: memories are easier to excuse when they feature someone you think you know, especially at first. I think this author did an excellent job of showcasing Mulder and Scully as Bill and Dana Parker-Rogers. There was just enough of their old life and personality there (like the hyphenated last name! Loved that, tbh!) that if they did have odd thoughts or memories, they'd probably be able to excuse it: it was just a weird dream about my wife/husband. No big deal. The time frame works well, here, so their memories start to fall apart relatively fast, which is in line with medically-diagnosed amnesia (and as stated in the 'fic, after a certain point you're not likely to regain anything further, what's lost is lost, et cetera and so on). I thought it was nice that they bought into their fake life as long as they did, though both of them felt off-kilter about it. Dana's loneliness was rather sad, but sadder was probably Mulder's reaction to it; as Bill he only ever really needed Scully, and I think the same happened to be true for Mulder, something they kind of had in common, that loneliness wasn't felt if she was there, and the sorrow here lies with the fact that Scully isn't ever coming back, and Mulder does eventually seem to come to that conclusion, albeit reluctantly.

The end to the initial story was rather fitting; C.G.B. Spender's comments & the kiss (for extra uncertainty on Dana's part) sealed the idea, for Dana, anyway, that she'll never know who is telling her the truth and who isn't. "Trust no one" has a whole new meaning when applied this way. Dana isn't Dana Parker-Rogers, but she's also not Danascully (one word, I loved this detail); she trusted Bill as Dana Parker-Rogers but she doesn't know who Danascully trusted or allied herself with. She only knows what she's been told and what she thinks she remembers. This is a convoluted mess for her, one that the story gives the impression she'll never get out of.

2/2

Date: 2016-09-07 03:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com
The sequel was interesting but somehow sadder; it was confirmation that this destroyed her relationship with Mulder beyond any real repair; even their friendship is gone. There is no justice but I like that she didn't just give up. Identity is my favorite thing to explore in fiction and despite the sorrowful, tragic backdrop of this series, I did enjoy seeing another author explore it, and so well/thoroughly, too. :)

The AU was sadder than the original, IMO. Scully's personality remained quite a bit the same; she was recognizable as Scully and as Dana to varying degrees, but Mulder wasn't. His lack of passion made him into a shell of his former self. It's a different kind of hurt than Dana felt, not having her memories, but I think this hurts her, too. Him not remembering her cancer, remembering all of the sacrifices she'd made for him/them/their quest: it's all terribly sad. I liked that he tried, though. I like that, like Dana missed Bill, he misses Dana. I wonder if he prefers to be known as Bill in this, or, as Dana's last words to him suggest, he might even be going by Fox.

My favorite part about seeing all three of these together was that I feel the author was possibly making a statement about the function/groundwork of MSR. It's very much tied into their work, their mental connection, and most importantly IMO, their shared experiences. They don't both remember or know everything about the other, but they can support one another well because they've both been through so many things. Taking memories of these things away sends it all crashing down.

I wouldn't say this makes MSR weak at its core; rather, it is merely asking the audience to see that MSR is founded on their work together: it is rooted in their partnership/working relationship before and above all else. I feel that the continued attraction to one another after-the-fact, after the crumbling "sham" of a marriage, is a testament to this. They make a decision when the other isn't capable of remembering to dissolve it. It was a construct, it wasn't real, and maybe some of the feelings were real, but once one of them regains their memories things are too complicated and it won't work any longer: the person who has their memories wants their old partner back (and perhaps the old relationship, though also possibly both the old and new relationship at once), and the person left behind just wants what they remember as being good, but neither can have what they want, and so they both seem to make the choice to do what's best for them by separating entirely (for other reasons, as well).

Either way, a very enjoyable read, though not a happy one. A realistic bent, terrifying in its believability; I'm glad it's not canon, but it so easily could have been: that is where it gets its power from. At least, IMO.

part one of two

From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com - Date: 2016-09-09 11:25 am (UTC) - Expand

part two of three apparently

From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com - Date: 2016-09-09 01:02 pm (UTC) - Expand

part 3/3 lmao

From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com - Date: 2016-09-09 01:04 pm (UTC) - Expand

RE: Response Part 2

From: [identity profile] bmerb.livejournal.com - Date: 2016-09-09 02:12 pm (UTC) - Expand

Date: 2016-09-07 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bmerb.livejournal.com
Oh [livejournal.com profile] hooves I sure do love your analyses! Mine are all disjointed as I type on my phone between chasing down toddlers. I love seeing coherent thoughtful responses.

Date: 2016-09-07 05:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com
Oh my God, yours are fantastic, and doubly so for being typed out on a phone while you're chasing kids around! My biggest weakness with writing analyses is that I tend to ramble. I'd be better served to go back and edit, reformat, et cetera and so on, which is obviously what I always did with academic papers, but seeing as how my scholarships aren't resting on what I churn out online, I usually don't bother with more than a cursory edit (because my mind jumps ahead of my hands quite often, haha).

Anyway, your analysis here was fun to read, and didn't seem to be at all disjointed to me! So you're better than you know. :D

Date: 2016-09-07 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com
[Back in the day, I had a theory that "Fugue" was written as a response to complaints that the show is a deeply sexist text, with Mulder being the one who drives the plot, and Scully as his sidekick.]

It makes sense to me that there would be literary discourse about this subject, but I'm a little afraid to delve into academia to find out. Do you happen to know off-hand what drove people to think the show was deeply sexist? I have some vague thoughts about it that I've been trying to put into words, but I'm not sure I can view the series as "deeply" sexist, though I do think sexism lurks within it at various points.

I realize this isn't exactly the place for such a discussion but since you mentioned it, and I've been thinking very hard about it for the last couple of weeks, I jumped to ask you about it. The X-Files is old enough that there is probably a plethora of academic literary discourse on the subject of sexism/misogyny in the series but I'm not sure that's a can of worms I want to open up right now. *sweats*

(no subject)

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(no subject)

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Date: 2016-09-09 02:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bmerb.livejournal.com
Well it's clear that at least a few of us wanted to push through the trauma of Fugue to dig into it. Thanks so much all! I'm feeling healed from my desolation post-reading 17 years ago! 🙂
Edited Date: 2016-09-09 02:46 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-09-09 06:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com
I thought it was a fun and informative discussion! I miss being able to talk about 'fics with people, especially 'fics I didn't write myself. :D

enjoyed reading the discussion

Date: 2016-09-11 04:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zinnia03.livejournal.com
I'm not in a good place right now to read wrenching stories but I did so enjoy the commentary both about the stories and when it went off on tangents. I don't think I'll ever get tired of watching/reading/thinking about XF, though I'll never be as learned as some of the excellent comments here.

Maybe I'll go re-read Universal Invariants instead...

Re: enjoyed reading the discussion

Date: 2016-09-11 05:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hooves.livejournal.com
Ah, hello! I'm glad you've enjoyed reading everything. I have, too! I'm actually re-reading Universal Invariants now, at the suggestion of some of the others, and I'm really enjoying it! Definitely wouldn't mind talking about it with someone. :D

RE: Re: enjoyed reading the discussion

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Re: enjoyed reading the discussion

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Re: enjoyed reading the discussion

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Re: enjoyed reading the discussion

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RE: Re: enjoyed reading the discussion

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