I’ve been re-reading a lot of Highlander fan fiction from the heydays of “Seventh Dimension”, “HL Quill Club” and Mary Galasso’s excellent “Voices” anthology lately, all of these stories being old favourites of mine that I’ve been able to track down, retrace and locate.
The infrastructure of first wave HL fandom collapsed sometime during the 2000s, which essentially means that if an author didn’t transfer their works to AO3, or if you, as a reader haven’t kept up with writers’ changing pseuds, the stories are gone. Even with a good memory for titles and pen names, you’ll have an incredibly hard time finding an accessible online version of *that* particular fanfic ever again.
So I figure the first, rather unsurprising lesson learned from my experience can be summed up as: If you care about a certain story, save it on your hard drive and make sure to create regular back ups, just in case you would like to revisit it someday for whatever reasons.
The second lesson, however, is actually more of a subjective observation.
By the time I first encountered stories such as Kat Allison’s Last Set Before Closing, Parda’s Down to the Bone, or selenak 's Death and the Maiden in the late 1990s (to name only a few, also both Parda and Selena were still writing under their real names back then), I was still a comparative youngster finding herself in fanfic heaven, because, good grief, were those stories amazing. The premises, the characterisations, the imagery, the language… . In short, all those qualities which make a piece of writing pass the test of time with flying colours. No wonder I had expected those stories to age well. What I hadn’t reckoned with, however, was how much my perspective on them and therefore also the reasons for my appreciation would change and grow over time.
Just to give you a few examples:
It’s February 2017 now, which means in real life we must almost have reached the very palpable future depicted in Last Set, since the story is set roughly twenty years after the last HL episode takes place and deals with Duncan visiting his aged friend Joe Dawson at a retirement home. The predictions that Kat Allison made regarding technological and social developments are plain intriguing, because while not every detail is perfect, they hit frighteningly close to home if seen as a whole.
Revisiting Down to the Bone and Death and the Maiden, I couldn’t help noticing how much more susceptive and aware the older me, turning forty-two in a couple of weeks, has become regarding the underlying psychological dynamics and depths, so finely-tuned and hidden between lines of powerful, evocative writing.
Stuff, which has been there all the time, and I was only too young, inexperienced or simply not prophetic enough to see it.