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The Barbverse by Barb Cummings (Rahirah)

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  • The Barbverse by Barb Cummings (Rahirah)

    This is a thread to discuss The Barbverse.

    You can find the canon of works here:

    "The Barbverse is an AU which branches off from canon after "The Gift" with an alternate version of Buffy's resurrection. A saga of sex, violence, violent sex, pizza, gods, demons, ex-demons, ghosts, road trips, black magic, white magic, sorta greyish magic, felonies and misdemeanors, cooking with pig's blood, ethical dilemmas, the importance (or not) of the soul, tying the knot, the care and feeding of small children (demonic and otherwise), life after undeath, the founding of dynasties, the folding of laundry, Ultimate Evil, blood play, channel surfing, true love and (ooh, that word) redemption, in which is explored the question of whether or not one Buffy Anne Summers, vampire slayer extraordinaire, and one William the Bloody, vampire of infinite heart and limited ethics, can reach a certain degree of mutual accommodation after diverse discourses and considerable ass-kicking.

    The main pairing of the series is Buffy/Spike, but many of the stories are gennish and/or focus on other characters. It currently comprises two and a half novels, half a dozen novellas, lots and lots of short stories, and more drabbles than you can shake a stick at, and spans some fifty years of the characters' lives.

    I know, it's a dorky name for a series. Shut up. (Barb's words not mine. I kinda agree but in a nice way)

    Words:972,950 Works:141"

    Disclaimer thingy (we're all really, really nice people. Well, I'm actually not but it's an image I'm trying to nurture)

    Dear Barb/Rahirah, if you have found your way to this thread, please be so kind as to read this:

    before you proceed. Thank you for your consideration. Please feel welcome to join in the discussion. We would be delighted and honored.
    Last edited by TriBel; 13-05-19, 08:17 AM.

  • #2
    Well seeing as you've started a thread, I'd better start reading


    • #3
      I started reading chronologically just over a week ago. I'm currently on part 17. Only part 5 was long, 37 chapters, the rest are mostly just one chapters or drabbles. I'm really enjoying it. The voicing is spot on for Buffy and Spike, so much so you can hear SMG and JMs voices when reading the story and I like that. I don't mind reading Spike with no soul because I just see It as someone else's interpretation and it's interesting to see another viewpoint. In my mind I think Spike needed the soul or Buffy would not have entered into a relationship with him but this is an entertaining read soul or not.

      So vampire Willow, that's a surprise, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I love Xander being a better partner for Anya so far. I was surprised when the wedding went wrong in hells bells because I see Xander being loyal and dependable for the most part. I think he would have been a good husband had they gone through with the wedding. I'm early in with 100 or more stories to go but I'm hoping Xanya is end game or at least lasts a long time.

      Dawn/Buffy and Dawn/Spike are both written really well, I love the relationships and conversations. I can't believe how much I've grown to love Dawn. I like to blame Priceless for that but I think it's really because of all the positive Dawn fanfic portrayals that are out there.

      Although I enjoyed part 5 necessary evils, the long story, I think it's actually the short stories that are really grabbing me by the way they take a simple moment and build on it and make it special.

      I'll try to remember to enter more comments as I read.

      - - - Updated - - -

      Originally posted by Priceless View Post
      Well seeing as you've started a thread, I'd better start reading
      You will love story 17 "my baby is a centerfold", Dawn and Spike take down baddies on an epic adventure that would have anyone giggling.

      “I like who I am when I’m with him. I like who we are together.”


      • #4
        Okay...the following is just a ramble.

        I first came across the Barbverse thanks to...I don't know...Double Dutchess? Flow? I think it was because of the short story "But my Sorrow has no friend" that's not part of the 'verse. The sheer complexity of that story astonished me. It's written around a void, a void that is brought about by love, which in turn, brings about love. It's there in Spike's words "He'd say this isn't love...But buggered if I know what else to call it." I have to 'fess up. 20+ years ago I did my PhD on love and desire. My examiners were very complimentary but asked for a longer conclusion. I gave them a longer conclusion but, essentially, it didn't say anything more than the short one. In theory, desire is easy, there's a formula for desire - it comes with a map, a set of instructions. But love, bugger me...I still have no bloody idea what love is, except to say, it's probably shaped like a ring doughnut (or a torus but ring doughnut is funnier).

        BTW, Edgar Lee Masters (1868–1950). Spoon River Anthology. 1916.

        "To love is to find your own soul
        Through the soul of the beloved one.
        When the beloved one withdraws itself from your soul
        Then you have lost your soul.
        It is written: “I have a friend,
        But my sorrow has no friend".

        I've put the following in spoilers because it's kinda not important but it's relevant for this (probably) and Chosen (definitely). I like this (from below) "in love the reach exceeds the grasp" (poetic but ring doughnut's still funnier ).

        The following story, first told by Lacan in 1960, is exemplary of what he said about love. I will call it the story of the fruit and the flame. It goes like this:

        Imagine you see in front of you a beautiful flower, or a ripe fruit. You reach out your hand to grab it. But at the moment you do, the flower, or the fruit, bursts into flames. In its place you see another hand appear, reaching back towards your own. (Seminar VIII, p.52; p.179).

        In this story is condensed all the things that interested Lacan about love. The themes we can pull from it fuelled his commentary on the subject over fifty years of his work:

        – The suddenness, imminence or surprise that marks the appearance of love. Reflected here in the bursting into flames of the flower or fruit we reach for, love is presented as a mysterious and extraordinary Event, arising as if from nothing.

        – The relation of beauty to satisfaction. The flower or the fruit could be taken to represent the object of beauty, and their anticipated taste or scent satisfaction. This opens the way to Lacan’s distinction between the object of desire and the object of the drive.

        – How in love the reach exceeds the grasp. Just as the flame bursts forth the moment we reach for the object, whatever medium we use (words, images, or music) our representation of the loved object always seems to fall short of the experience of love itself.

        – The narcissistic dimension of love. In place of the fruit or the flower, another hand appears, a mirror of our own. The poetic beauty of the story allows for many interpretations, and commentators seem to disagree on Lacan’s intention here. Fink believes the hand coming to reach our own shows the reciprocity of love (Fink, Lacan on Love, p.44), while Leader stresses the fundamental asymmetry in the story, that your own hand is not reaching out for the other hand but for the object (‘Lacan’s Myths’, in The Cambridge Companion to Lacan, p.45).

        In this article we will look not just at what Lacan had to say about love, but at the way he said it. This is because love, as Lacan recognises, is difficult to express. We sense that love is somehow different – a feeling stronger than other emotions, perhaps strongest. And yet it is also somehow less defined. Its strength does not lend it definition – love remains chimerical, alchemical.

        Lacan’s pronouncements on love – as we see in the story above – share this indefinite quality. They index an impossibility of representation, an emptiness in the place of something that might be shown or said. We find this expressed in different ways throughout his work:

        – “Love is a pebble laughing in the sun” (Écrits, 508; Seminar III, p.226)

        – “Loving is to give what one does not have” (repeated across Lacan’s work, starting from Seminar V, 7th May, 1958)

        – “Love is nothing more than a saying, qua happening. A happening without any smudges” (Seminar XXI, 11th June, 1973)

        I've become very, very fond of this verse. That's about as enthusiastic as I allow myself to get (see above for my problems with love). I don't like all the stories to the same extent. This is to be expected - I have favourite Cohen tracks but he's still my god. Even his worst are better than some people's best. I hope Barb (if she ever reads this) doesn't take offence. It's relative to her other stories not something outside her oeuvre.

        Sigh...on my third reading (in as many weeks) I tried to read both forwards and backwards at the same time. I don't know if this is "a good thing". I think I need the slow burn of the extended middle to prepare me for the poignancy of the end. That aside, what I did get to notice was how her writing becomes more and more "compressed". Bear with me. As a result, I've stopped thinking of this as a timeline but as a pipeline. I don't like timelines. I have ideological reasons for thinking timelines are shite. I like my time to circle back on itself, to be messianic, to blast me through to a new continuum - to stop, start, slow down, leak and rush by. Pipes are better. I like the pipes in the basement in First Date and on Spike's ship in season 8. Pipes carry flow, they intersect, they compress, they have safety valves. Sometimes they carry clean stuff, sometimes they carry...well, shit. I really, really like the idea that Angel doesn't eat because what goes in must eventually come out...yeah, no fear of demons but frightened and disgusted by the bloody abject.

        If you like, you can just presume I've lost it with the above. The imagery of a pipeline works but, unlike the show, there's no story reason to use it - though there is one story that struck a chord with me so I might try to figure it. As it is, I've yet to find my overarching metaphor. And, there is a timeline - it's marked on the bodies of our heroes...and...oh I'm such a bloody idiot who should learn to give fan fiction the thought it deserves. LOL! I'm a crap fiction writer - I've got no imagination, no original ideas. I'm a better theorist/textual analyst. My theoretical argument (in canon) with Spike is that he (possibly Spuffy) is the extended, impossible middle. The fact that Barb's Spike has an expanding waistline/middle is - I've just realised - genius. Ideally, I don't want my Spike to be other than S6 Spike (in terms of how he looks) but I also want him in excess of himself. Spike with a tummy works in so many ways. I could have so much fun with love handles.

        I'm procrastinating. Hence all the rubbish above. There are approx 137 stories in this series. Do we need spoilers?
        Last edited by TriBel; 14-05-19, 07:19 AM.


        • #5
          I vote no spoilers. Readers beware!

          - - - Updated - - -

          Part 19 follow the yellow brick road is the first story that didn't 100% connect it's me but mainly because it's set in pylea and is connected to AtS. Although I couldn't guess the number of times I've rewatched Buffy I've never felt that connection to Angel. I've seen the series but Im really not familiar enough with the story to know if it is well portrayed.

          That said, it's another awesome Dawn and Spike adventure and so fun to read. And with great lines like this that make my little Spuffy hear swoon:

          One of the weird things about Spike and her sister was how from the first moment they'd met, the two of them fought as if they'd known each other for a million years. It was like their bodies spoke a language that it had taken their heads and hearts years longer to learn. Spike diced when Buffy sliced, and chopped when she julienned.

          “I like who I am when I’m with him. I like who we are together.”


          • #6
            Thought for a second that this was some weird Stranger Things crossover.


            • #7
              I'm on story 27 parliament of monsters which is a WIP but not really because the story continues, it's just missing some joining chapters. If anyone happens to notice the story marked complete sometime in the future please make a note of it here so that I can go back and read them.

              “I like who I am when I’m with him. I like who we are together.”


              • #8
                Parliament of monsters is great and I do want to read the rest when it's posted. I'm surging ahead with the next story knowing some chapters are missing. I guess I'll figure out how it ends. Are you with me Priceless?

                “I like who I am when I’m with him. I like who we are together.”


                • #9
                  Originally posted by GoSpuffy View Post
                  Parliament of monsters is great and I do want to read the rest when it's posted. I'm surging ahead with the next story knowing some chapters are missing. I guess I'll figure out how it ends. Are you with me Priceless?
                  I'm sorry but I'm not with you GoSpuffy I haven't even started reading. I've got a list of Naked Spike and Seasonal Spuffy fics I have to read!!! I just haven't got the time for the Barbverse yet


                  • #10
                    Done! And WOW! This is an amazingly well written story, extremely detailed and completely original. I can definitely agree with all those who said the voicing for Buffy and Spike are fantastic and add that it stays so throughout the epic journey.

                    I am disappointed in one thing and that is the end. Part 133 is way to short in details for me. Everything about the Barbverse is so big and the end is so small. I know it's a work in progress so I hope there is more to come. It's moving and heart wrenching but leaves more questions than answers unlike any other part of the story.

                    And I'd like to add that all epic spuffy stories by unilateral law should be housed on EF. If this were on EF I'd be able to see which stories I've read and easily find new ones as they're published. Still not an A03 fan.
                    Last edited by GoSpuffy; 28-05-19, 01:38 AM.

                    “I like who I am when I’m with him. I like who we are together.”