Nov. 13th, 2011

bobthemole: (Default)
I tend to dislike amnesia-fic, especially if they are about reuniting a memory-less person with the other member of their OTP.

Characters are the products of their histories and if you take away the memories of those histories, how are they the same people? Unless the fic is an exploration of how much personality remains intact if you take away memory, but fics (outside the Dollhouse-verse) seldom explore that.

There's also the dynamic when one person in a pairing is an amnesiac and the other knows everything about them. If they two are teaming up to reconstruct the amnesiac's life, I think that's an interesting story because the memory loss is the primary "antagonist" and everyone's agreed on that.

But what I don't get is stories where A thinks B is dead and months later discovers a memory-less (and newly human) B working in a bar somewhere. The story then becomes about A convincing B that they belong together, although B would rather keep hir current simple bartending life and not be pursued by this creepy stranger, thank you. Inevitably, A devolves into a stalker who can't stay away from this stranger who bears a resemblance to hir lost (unrequited) love. And B is unusually content with hir memory-less life and has no curiosity about hir past. A eventually wears down B and they establish a new relationship. Sometimes B regains hir memories, precipitating another crisis, but conflicts are resolved and they embark on a happy paired life of whatever shenanigans (vampire slaying? demon hunting?) they were up to before they were separated.

I'm not entirely sure what's going on at a meta level, but it seems that the reestablishment of the pairing is prioritized over the will and happiness of the individual characters. And it's like amnesia is a shortcut for getting characters together without dealing with their mutual baggage - which I think is completely pointless and undermines everything that makes the pair interesting in the first place. What surprises me is the popularity of this trope - I'm sure I've read half a dozen spuffy fics with this plot, and now I'm finding them in Supernatural too.

There's probably a good reason Amnesia fic is so popular, and if I knew what it was I'd be able to appreciate it better. Does anyone have thoughts? Have you written or do you love reading this genre? What am I missing in my analysis?

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bobthemole

December 2012

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