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Reviews Comments: The Mystique of My Immortal My Immortal fanfic review by Malkfish

Reviewing My Immortal\'s technical deficiencies is well-trodden ground, so instead let me speak of its cultural longevity and impact on the internet. Because whether we enjoy the fic or not, its influence cannot be denied. Why did it survive when so many other troll fics or bad fics or even good fics have fallen by the wayside? My explanation for why My Immortal grabs us is that it is an ugly Matryoshka that perfectly contains the gem inside.

The identity of Tara Gilesbie will be forever obscured in mystery due to the very nature of her medium. It\'s not even a matter of whether her fic exists as an intentional parody or not; it\'s more that we cannot know for sure that the people who claim to be Tara are in fact XX Xbloodyrists 666 XXX.

However, despite us never knowing who Tara Gilesbie is and whether or not the person claiming to be her wrote this masterpiece, we DO have a clear idea of who XX Xbloodyrists 666 XXX is. We know she aligns herself with goffick subculture and is attracted to Gerard Way. She has a best friend named Raven, and when they have a falling out, we get to see how their fight intensifies and gets resolved almost in real-time by reading her fic. While the surface plot is disjointed, there is a continuity if we are to read the fic as Tara\'s story instead of Enoby\'s.

Enoby and the world she creates becomes, in a sense, the author\'s projection of the ideal. It is the closest we can get to peering into someone\'s essence. She mangles the form because her message will only be hindered by the rules of prose. At the same time, she is hyper-aware of the conventions of her chosen medium and uses it to her advantage, communicating more of her character through various author\'s notes scattered through the piece. This kind of character development cannot be done outside of fanfic.

People don\'t often like \"obvious\" troll fic, and thus, they gravitate towards My Immortal because it reads like its sincere and pure. It\'s bad, true, but it fully gives itself to a medium derided for its badness without cynicism or hesitation.

TL;DR: My Immortal is using the conventions of fanfic that are often ridiculed to communicate a whole other story of a fully-realized and complex character—someone so intriguing that she exists in internet discourse to this day.

Comments

  • Rotide
  • 10th Sep 17
Rose Christo provided solid evidence, honesty. Death of the Author is certainly applicable but in thie case you might find it worthwhile to look at the fic as what it is, instead of what we all assumed it to be.
  • Reymma
  • 10th Sep 17
You\'re right that the fic is deceptively subtle in building the implied-author\'s character, but it is also famous because it parodies many bad fanfic tropes while being something very unique and (in a good-bad way) inventive.
  • MrMallard
  • 11th Sep 17
@Rotide RE: Rose Christo: I dunno, personally I doubt the claim. The author posted a screenshot of her logged into the account on August 2nd, the note was found like a week and a half ago and despite claiming in the account edit that she didn't want to be found, she had the evidence uploaded by her own hand, she claims in one sentence to be unhappy about the event but is instantly comfortable spilling snippets of her personal life like it's no-one's business and - surprise - she has a book coming out soon that claims to blow the case wide open and provide solid details. Yet "My Immortal" is tacked onto the end like an afterthought. Fictionpress update mentioned not wanting to be found out, a Tumblr ask suggests she's bound by an NDA, but her publisher has no issue flaunting her as the author of MY IMMORTAL for attention. Rose Christo also apparently wrote a book called Someone Elses War, which people have theorised was written before the author was even a teenager, and was recently made unavailable to purchase on Amazon - apparently because it's "cringy" and old, but it could be a giant hole in her story. The TV Tropes page seems to suggest it's a hell of a story, with some pretty hardcore subject matter. This one's more of a conspiracy theory than anything, but still.

I hope with one breath that the My Immortal fanbase finds the answer they've been looking for for 10+ years, but I say with another that I think this is a poor viral marketing technique that's been manufactured to take advantage of the small but loyal fanbase. There was just recently a controversy involving an author claiming to be the author of My Immortal, and I've heard people bought enough of her books to put it onto the NYT's best seller list on that alone - as a way to support the supposed author of their obsession, which turned out to be false.

If Rose Christo is the author of My Immortal, then bully to the fanbase. I'm happy for them. But as of right now, I think there are a lot of excited people being taken for a ride, and I think there are people exploiting the goodwill of this work's fanbase for ethically bankrupt reasons. I guess we'll find out when Rose Christo releases her memoirs, Under the Same Stars: The Search for my Brother and the True Story of My Immortal.

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