Wednesday, October 20, 2004

If Jane Austen Wrote The X-Files

No, I'm not so mired in fangeek nostalgia that I'm still writing X-Files parodies in late 2004. This piece is actually from my glory days as a self-appointed X-Files humorist in the mid-90s. In that era I didn't have a blog, so everything I wrote was simply posted to Usenet, making it onto the Web only through the occasional intervention of an enthusiastic reader. "If Jane Austen Wrote The X-Files" was probably my most popular work, perhaps because there was a pretty substantial overlap between the Austen audience and the X-Files audience. You may call it recycling, but I prefer to think of it as stubbornly repeating myself until everyone gets the message. By the way, the parenthetical references below are part of the original piece.

Fox by Jane Austen [abridged version]

Fox Mulder, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence, and had lived nearly thirty-five years in the world with very little to distress or vex him, save the occasional disappearance or demise of a close relation or trusted confidant.

He was the oldest of two children of a most affectionate, indulgent mother, and had, in consequence of his sister's interplanetary elopement, been master of his house from a very early period. His father had left too long ago for him to have more than an indistinct remembrance of his presence, despite hypnotherapy, and his place had been supplied by an excellent man as guardian, who had fallen little short of a father in affection, though he tended to wallow in a fondness for tobacco that knew no satiety.

* * *

Pendrell was standing at one of the windows. Fox turned round to look at him in consternation and hastily said, "Have you any idea of Agent Scully's returning your affection?"

"Yes," replied Pendrell modestly but not fearfully, although his trousers were soiled, "I must say that I have."

Fox's eyes were instantly withdrawn; and he sat silently meditating in a fixed attitude for a few minutes. A few minutes were sufficient for making him acquainted with his own heart. A mind like his, once opening to suspicion, made rapid progress; he touched, he admitted, he acknowledged, the whole truth. Why was it so much worse that Pendrell should be in love with Agent Scully than with Deep Throat? Why was the evil so dreadfully increased by Pendrell's having some hope of a return? It darted through him with the speed of an arrow that Agent Scully must marry no one but himself!

How long had Agent Scully been so dear to him, as every feeling declared her now to be? When had her influence, such influence begun? When had she succeeded to that place in his affection which Deep Throat had once, for a short period, occupied? He looked back; he compared the two -- compared them, as they had always stood in his estimation, Scully a little shorter, from the time of the latter's becoming known to him -- and as they must at any time have been compared by him had it -- oh! had it, by any blessed felicity -- occurred to him to institute the comparison. He saw that there never had been a time when he did not consider Agent Scully as infinitely the superior or when her regard for him had not been infinitely the most dear, well, except perhaps for the occasion on which he had abandoned her to the wiles of the gentleman with the sharp stylus. He saw that in persuading himself, in fancying, in acting to the contrary, he had been entirely under a delusion, totally ignorant of his own heart -- and, in short, that he had never really cared for Deep Throat at all!

Agent Scully and Pendrell! It was a union to distance every wonder of the kind. Such an elevation on his side! Such a debasement on hers! And yet it was far, very far, from impossible. Was it a new circumstance for a woman of first-rate abilities to be captivated by very inferior powers? Was it new for one, perhaps too busy to seek, to be the prize of a man who would seek her? Was it new, at least since Roswell, for anything in this world to be unequal, inconsistent, incongruous -- or for chance and circumstance and massive conspiracies to direct the human fate?

[the manuscript becomes illegible at this point]

Coming next: Sixth Sense and Sensibility

1 comment:

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