Dark Blessings – Lucied

Dark Blessings is a fan fiction based on Dragonball Z, so if you’re unfamiliar with that franchise this story won’t do that much for you. Although you might find this narrative somewhat hypnotic in a completely bonkers way.

Gohan dies fighting Cell and his friends forget to resurrect him. Divine incompetence results in Gohan being sent to HFIL, the Home For Infinite Losers, only to be bought back to life seven years later. He returns a changed man, Evil with a big E. Really, a mere description of the story’s premise doesn’t do it justice.

I think of uncurated online writing, such as fan fiction, self-published books or even some particularly poetic comment threads, as being like the jungles of literature. In this metaphor, editors are like gardeners and anything that has been published traditionally is their garden. This would make authors the soil, and the weather the economic context in which the writing is published, but never mind that right now. Dark Blessings is the sort of wild demented text that can only exist in the jungles of literature, for reasons I’ll explain in the next paragraph.

Dark Blessings seems to contain almost every single characteristic of fan fiction that alienates readers, the most prominent being parenthetical author’s comments that go like this (A/N Click the last hyperlink, press the Read More button, and search for ‘There once was a PM called Tony’ to read some brilliant poetry.) Scene changes are introduced with bolded text that state the scene’s location. Lucied argues with the canon version of Gohan in the intros and outros of the early chapters. Entire flashbacks are rendered in italics. Manga effects are described in the prose, resulting in embarrassed characters literally ‘sweatdropping’ while particularly stunned ones ‘face-fault’ – fall on their faces! Any sane editor would have pruned Dark Blessings of these eccentric ornamentations. Yet put them all together in one story and somehow Lucied pulls it off, managing to weave a mostly coherent and occasionally witty narrative between these strange gimmicks. The overall effect is like having an excited friend tell you this crazy dream they had about Dragon Ball Z.

There is also intentional humour, mostly drawn from Gohan’s explicitly Evil nature and his associates’ failure to appreciate it. He even starts his own Evil club, the Black Tails Club, and half the heroic characters join it out of foolish enthusiasm. Lucied develops the theme of former villain Vegeta becoming a middle aged loser by giving him a plausible love of soap operas. The author also displays an unexpected fascination with forced transvestism, the song Freak-A-Leek,  and Lion King reenactments. Oh, and Cell and Frieza get married. This Pythonesque strain drops out halfway through Dark Blessings, at which point it become a melodramatic Red String reincarnation romance.

The unique combination of voice and humour displayed in Dark Blessings could be deployed in a realistic Young Adult novel. Make the story as normal and tedious as possible, about some school kid realising that they have a libido and that dogs die, but narrate it in first person, pepper it with Author Notes, sweatdropping, and random Reggie-Perry style flights of fantasy involving antagonistic characters crossdressing… I’m not guaranteeing such a novel could get published, but if it did it would be really cool.

Although I personally found Dark Blessings compelling, the specific niche it caters to means that I’ll have a hard time recommending it to anyone else. Those curious for literary reasons are advised to sample the first few chapters to see if they found the voice as fascinating as I did.

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