Therese Arkenberg's Reviews > Glimpses: A Collection of Nightrunner Short Stories

Glimpses by Lynn Flewelling
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Five stars for effort, three stars for author’s actual execution, and five stars again for the fanartist’s execution.

Effectively, this is a fanwork collection, but curated and partially written by the original creator. So while the “fan”fiction itself is somewhat awkward, the spirit of the thing is wonderful.

I don’t want to knock the quality of either fanfiction or Lynn Flewelling’s writing in general. However, a quality of fanfiction is that it is amateur—done for the love less than for the sake of money or art. Amateurs are passionate and experimental. Sometimes experiments do not go as well as we’d prefer. While many fanfiction writers have become skillful writers through practice, there are others whose love for the work has driven them to try something new, and although the spirit is willing, there are some first-timer nerves and unfamiliarity with the material that get in the way.

Which is a long buildup to say: Flewelling is writing erotic scenes featuring her characters for the first time (the first time in publication, for certain, and I think I recall from comments made by her at the time that it was near the first time for her writing it, too). It shows. While not awful by any means, and actually quite sweet if you’re familiar with the characters, her writing is rather bland and sometimes stilted. None of the scenes are groundbreaking, and a lot remind me of the somewhat mechanical “fills” you can find on fandom kinkmemes, of the Tab-A-Slot-B variety. Although I should note, from a connoisseur’s perspective (*ahem*), it clears the common pitfall of only caring about tabs going into slots. Other parts are involved. For that matter, this isn’t smut where only the sex matters; the 4 short stories in this book are also about emotional journeys taken by the characters.

However, the major emotional journeys have already been taken in the Nightrunners novels proper. The scenes Flewelling shares with us here aren’t ones I had any particularly burning curiosity about. For one thing, I preferred having Seregil’s past be more of a shadowy mystery. Putting a spotlight on his angst cheapens it for me, though I know others who might disagree. Still, if I had wanted to read one “deleted” scene, especially given the mature rating of this book, it would have been when Alec and Seregil make love on a snowbank (referenced in Traitor’s Moon). That’s something I’m—resisting a pun on “frost” here—burningly curious about. Love on ice also suggests a searing, desperate passion that never quite came across in these stories, where sometimes the character’s and sometimes the author’s “first time” awkwardness is clear.

All the same, it is amazing that Flewelling is even making the effort, and for the sake of her fans at that! Considering how vehemently territorial of their canon other authors can be, even at the expense of their fandoms, the obvious love of author for fans and fanworks here is brilliant. I would love to see more authors follow Flewelling’s lead and perhaps create experimental collections of their own.

There is not actual fan-written fiction in Glimpses, which makes sense—authors can run into copyright risks if they read a fan’s work and later utilize the same ideas (even if they had them first), not to mention the risk of continuity snarls. Instead, the fan contribution comes in the form of some amazing fanart, some of which is even used to illustrated Flewelling’s stories.

You don’t get much more amateur—in its original meaning, a work of love—than this!

Cross-posted from Love Changes Everything.
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