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  • Reviews for October

    First submission in - one week till the deadline.

    Protective Orders by King of Cretins

    First sub is a season 8 fic. I know KoC has 'issues' with us laying down requirements about S8 entries, so I hope his story is standalone enough for non-comic readers to be able to follow. I don't think our rules are that stringent - it's just common sense to make your story understandable for anyone who hasn't read the same stuff that you have.


  • #2
    Protective Orders by KingofCretins

    PEN: 3
    PLOT: 3
    BLOOD: Character death*

    * not in the fic, just in this reader's head as she read

    Temperature: LUKEWARM

    Review
    "Unimpressive."

    The effect of reading this, with knowledge (if not real enthusiasm) for S8, was the same as eating something which has been stewed to a greyish, glubby mass, peppered with references to shiny toys like Range Rovers, bluetooth and Ducati 1098S (which don't agree with me) and served up as a "Joss Special."

    As Buffy says about another character's need to lighten up, there's a "joylessness." (There are waaaay too many syllables there for the Buffster, and a word which hardly anyone uses in everyday speech, let alone the Slayer of All Things Grammar, c'mon people ...) The unravelling playfulness of the language of buffyverse generally has boiled away to stiltedness, careful explanations of the characters' emotional states, and a plot where the main deviation from the canon established in S8 is a simple tease as to whether Buffy will learn who Andrew met and discovered in LA in "Damage." Teasing's fine where there's evidence the writer could (or has) grabbed an issue by the balls at some point. If we'd seen Buffy faced with the truth, instead of being allowed to return to her Ducati 1098S and everyone lived happily ...

    In keeping with the chilly vibe reading this has induced, a very specific (anya) "analysis" of a typical section towards the end, where Andrew comes closest to "coming out" (about the unrevealed plot revelation, no way is this writer going to follow Andrew's tendency to dance at the other end of the ballroom ...):

    "It took back-up," Andrew said quietly. Xander lowered his head as well. Buffy appreciated their silent agreement not to comment additionally.

    "Thank you for doing this, Andrew. We needed to know."

    Andrew nodded silent thanks to her. After a moment of the three of them studying the floor, Andrew drew in a breath and spoke. "Buffy, there's something I want to suggest. I've been in the secret inner sanctum and they have all the good toys and aren't shy with the mojo. It's one thing for me to tell them you and Dawn are hanging out in Rome and another thing for them to find out you're not."

    Buffy listened to his proposal. They would use a decoy. Buffy had difficulty with the practice, but she understood the necessity. They had already put one in the field as a lone wolf demon hunter fighting demons on their own underground turf. Buffy hadn't had a chance to meet her in person. When they had a rough plan, they decided Andrew would go to Rome himself to act as handler. Maybe they would even set up a team in Rome.

    "Xander, make sure that the guards get scheduled. I'll sit with her tonight, though."

    Xander nodded and squeezed Buffy's hand. "Maybe tomorrow it'll be warmer and you can get your first riding lesson."

    Buffy smiled warmly at the effort. She watched Xander turn to leave. Andrew rocked in place, his hands dug into the pockets of his trench coat. Buffy still thought he looked like a "Doctor Who" rerun, but not quite as goofy as she expected.

    "Andrew, you can use one of the quarters here tonight. You're a welcome guestage." Despite herself, Buffy laughed. Andrew joined in.
    Who is this Andrew? What happened to the real Andrew, before he was replaced by this "quiet," "silent," tactfully unassuming character using words like, "I've been in the secret inner sanctum and they have all the good toys and aren't shy with the mojo," seriously? I'm perplexed and wrongfooted by the absence of an editorial grin at that sentence. I took it as intent to present a new, adult, Andrew, but surely there would be less not more geekdom? And when is looking like Doctor Who, the coolest thing to come out of a blue box with flashy lights and sweet music - "goofy"? This is what I mean by character death.

    Every relationship is permeated by a strong whiff of some scented air freshener, probably with a name like "kumbayayas". Buffy jokingly quoting "guestage" is spray-on comradeship - Andrew as a guestage was a serious work in progress. Resolving differences between them by having Andrew and Buffy laughing together? Nil for dramatic tension and my glasses were beginning to fog up with the fluffy and warm squeezyness of it all. Whether I support Xander and Buffy getting together or not, I confess to a sudden urge to re-write the sentence where Xander squeezes Buffy's hand as "Xander nodded and squeezed Buffy's left tit, very warmly."

    Mainly, the stiltedness of the language, grammatically correct and all that though it is. For example, "Buffy appreciated their silent agreement not to comment additionally." And this, "They had already put one in the field as a lone wolf demon hunter fighting demons on their own underground turf." OK, got it, demon hunter working alone, as in lone wolf, an underground lone wolf hunting - demons? Hey, didn't see that one coming, nossir.

    For me, the irritation factor hasn't made judging this as FoM at all easy. Somebody a lot more tolerance come in and judge it on its merits? Please?
    Last edited by ferdy-m; 26-10-07, 11:54 AM.
    * supporting the WGA strikers *

    Comment


    • #3
      Protective Orders by King of Cretins

      PEN ? 4
      PLOT ? 2/3

      Feel: Lukewarm warming to warm

      Review:

      I'm trying not to let the fact that I don't know a lot of the characters in this ficlet to be a factor ? this is always going to be an issue with season 8 fics. There will also always be issues around canon character development that I'm unfamiliar with ? if they don't always act like themselves as I understand them is that poor writing, or just a development from the comics?

      I have a bit of a hard time getting into the swing of this fic at first ? some of the dialogue is amusing, but the character voices just don't leap out at me. By the time the LA link arrives, though, things start to warm up, which is good.

      Mr. Harris told me to be a cheap street bike to teach you on ? is it just me, or does that line of dialogue not actually make much sense? Told her to use a cheap street bike to teach, perhaps. There are a few places where there seem to be words missing, small typos that make it quite difficult to work out what the sentence actually means, or line breaks missing.

      I do like the idea of the Sunnydale alumni being treated like royalty by star-struck young slayers, and yet finding it hard to take their own importance at all seriously. I like the tie-in with AtS season 5 and Damage, the Dana situation, and I like the link back to the immediate post-Chosen period to show the first break of trust with Angel. I'm gathering from the context of the fic that the comics have disproved the Italy set-up as a ruse entirely, which reassures me after early twinges reading the fic that it seemed awful early on for Team Buffy to be all set up in their castle in Scotland, especially since later in AtS season 5 we were told that Buffy was living in Italy with Dawn. So that ties in.

      Missing scene fics generally appeal to me - I like seeing another side of what we were shown on screen, or filling in a few gaps. I'm not sure I'm entirely convinced by this one, though. The POV doesn't help - it just doesn't sound like Buffy's thoughts to me, not the Buffy I know from the show. So is that a characterisation issue or a season 8 issue? I'm not sure.

      I think the author has some nice ideas about what it means for Buffy to be the leader of a whole army of Slayers, he just doesn't always express them as clearly as he could. Ferdy described the fic as 'stilted', and that's a reasonable description. It's a nice attempt, but doesn't flow as naturally as it could. It's a nice piece of writing, on the whole, but not necessarily a buffy piece of writing.

      With only the one entrant for this month, it's a tricky proposition deciding whether to award FotM or not. If this was up against competition I'd probably say it deserved Written status in the archives, but not FotM. It's tricky not making an award if there's only one entrant, though. We need some more reviews!

      Comment


      • #4
        Protective Orders by KingofCretins

        PEN: 3/4
        PLOT: 2 -- I'd say he's paid a lot of attention to the details, and his references are good... but honestly I can't be too sure.

        Grading: Room temperature, perhaps getting WARM at a few moments.

        The fic begins rather inanely, I would say. The bike, the birthday, the 'banter' -- only rarely does it hit a bit of BUFFY... the reference back to Dawn stealing the leather jacket was good enough, the Faith "power between the legs" thing perhaps commendable but still had me sucking air in through my teeth.

        The piecing together of sentences at times seems to elude the writer, as in this sentence --
        "She was lucky was such a sucker for gratitude, because she fed her compliments all the time because of it."
        GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

        I am not overly familiar with the characterisation of Buffy in season 8, but I feel that the writer finds some difficulty in capturing her -- the Buffy that is channeled sometimes feels more like the generic fanfic power-woman (as can be found in countless "pro-fanfic" like Charmed, Star Trek Voyager or Buffy novels) than the Buffy voice. This I thought was particularly apparent at the end of the first post, in which Buffy reflects on being treated like a Queen.

        "why do they take us so seriously when we can barely take ourselves seriously? "
        Well... that's certainly a change from the Buffy of season 7, I suppose.

        I'm more impressed by the characterisation of Xander -- it's not bad at all, really, even though extended Star Trek references are a fairly easy way to appease my image of Xander. The interplay between Buffy and Xander in the second post is more pleasing because the writer's characterisation of Xander has pulled Buffy's banter closer to what I think it should be. I thought that Buffy thanking Xander for the present was much closer to BUFFY and that's commendable.

        "Angel, who'd come to help her with Caleb, had brought the amulet that had? had won the fight."
        That's a gorgeous line -- the little hint at Buffy's bitterness over what the amulet had done to Spike. I don't know if it's in season 8, but I like it.

        The review of Buffy and the team finding out about Angel's tryst with Wolfram and Hart was, I thought, very good. It didn't take the implication made in the episode "Damage", of becoming two powers, two institutions, and finding out officially. The writer made it a much more personal blow to Buffy, who discovered it for herself while thinking he was dead.
        "...he still had his soul ? it was just no longer clear if he was using it."
        A very pretty turn of phrase.

        Did Wolfram and Hart actually contact Buffy's group about Dana? I don't remember.

        "She could practically feel the heat of the light bulbs over their heads."
        Chortle chortle.
        When they put it the way that Buffy and Xander do, weighing up whether to go or not, it's actually pretty mean that they send Andrew, you know? Not to mention a lot more probable...

        "You can scatter us around the world if you want."
        That's nice. But Andrew came up with it all on his lonesome hey?

        Does anyone else think that Buffy overreacted a little bit to what she decided to do? I suppose it has a nice gravitas but I think it's just safety, really. I suppose it's fine that it continues to hit Buffy hard about Angel's dubious allegiance, and that what she has done will be a manifestation of her distrust for the former "love of her life".

        He has a nice little story... the reference to Buffy's earlier hint of bitterness at the end, as Andrew tries and fails to tell her about Spike. It's a story about Team Buffy and Team Angel keeping secrets from each other, detaching from each other... the other side of the story. It's about Buffy becoming "queen", about the necessity for her to detach and see things from a general's perspective... and how she, perhaps, tries to compensate in the case of Renee. However -- the inclusion of the inferior Slayers, just as the Potentials in season 7, is slightly forced and annoying.

        I also get the feeling that the really good story, the one I want to read, comes at --
        "I'll sit with her tonight, though."
        I want to hear these conversations. I know that's really not the point of the story, that's really unhelpful of me, but I just felt that the most interesting bits were to come.

        Still, as a look at Buffy's situation and her disconnection from her more romantic past, it's not a terrible fic. There are a few problems with spelling and sentence structure, a few slips, but the themes itself are acceptable.

        I'd also tend to agree with Ferdy about the wordiness and the joylessness, and the death of the Joss banter (read your reviews after I completed mine, thankfully not wholly contradictory). Jo is also right about the thought process of Buffy as a character.

        I'm not sure I'd like to award this as FotM. But we are facing a pickle... with only one entrant, what do you do when the entrant is probably not worthy of the top prize? Maybe upsetting for the writer, but probably not good enough for us.

        Comment


        • #5
          Protective Orders by King of Cretins
          Pen: 3
          Plot: 3/4
          Room temp

          Okay, first off, this piece walks and talks like season 8, but it's not season 8. Since there's no mention of Giant Dawn, Amy's attack, or that funny symbol, this has to be pre-comics. This just doesn't make sense. Season 8 did not begin in the winter. But even if it HAD, Faith's involvement throws canon out the window, as the latest issues made it clear that Faith was hardly a part of the Scoobies' operation.

          Second, who is this giggly Buffy and where did she come from? Not from the comics, she sure didn't. Buffy, Xander & co. certainly have maintained their senses of humor, but this fic makes them seem almost flighty to my mind. And then it whacks you with serious moments, lone tears trickling down cheeks and sudden camaraderie with "Doctor Who" reruns.

          The dialogue, and Buffy's inner voice, tries to be snappy and clever but doesn't capture that Buffy feel. Andrew's geek-speak is admittedly hard to write, and KoC does generally do a decent job at that. But then there are things like this:
          Xander sighed and slumped his shoulders. Buffy couldn't tell if he was having second thoughts, or just wished he didn't get the reference. Buffy patted him on the arm ? if he was that much of a geek, she was, too.
          What the hell? Am I missing something because it seemed to be a basic Star Wars reference. Who wouldn't get it?

          And another thing:
          "Andrew, you can use one of the quarters here tonight. You're a welcome guestage." Despite herself, Buffy laughed. Andrew joined in.
          The whole guestage thing bothers me-it's like the writer is trying to impress us with his trivia knowledge. But the ?guestage' line was one thing Andrew said, one time, and the characters do not watch their DVDs and obsess over these funny little lines the way we do. I seriously doubt Buffy was paying enough attention to the things that came out of Andrew's mouth to remember this and reference it in what is supposed to be a very touching moment. The moment falls short, and just feels cheesy and unlikely.

          The writer does do an admirable job of writing Buffy's issues with Angel, and I do like some of the Buffy/Xander interaction. The Queen-of-England issue with the new Slayers is a good idea, although not one that we really get any hint of in the comics, if I recall correctly. Sure they respected Buffy and Xander, but I don't remember anyone worshiping them--I remember Renee crushing on Xander, and Rowena I believe it was mocking Buffy good-naturedly. But no worshiping the ground they walk on.

          All in all, this piece has a lot of problems and few good points. Throw in some bizarre typos, and I just don't like the idea of naming this FotM.
          "Day Six: Lurked a bit, brooded some. Think I'm getting better. V. easy to go back to old hobbies, like riding a bicycle. Never forget a good brood." (Angel: Days of our Unlives)
          The Very Secret Diaries...on the Hellmouth!

          Comment


          • #6
            That looks to be like a unanimous decision, really. Decent enough attempt, but with a lot of work still to be done. Written archives, but not winner.

            It'll have to be really carefully worded, though. Damn, I wish we still had the records of the other place. I'm sure we had a situation like this before, and I wrote up this whole diplomatic masterpiece (haha) to cover the eventuality.

            Will check my files in case I still have anything along those lines.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Llywela View Post
              Damn, I wish we still had the records of the other place.
              Yes... also, the previous Written fics would be in the archives, like ones I wrote but can't be bothered to re-post.
              Yes, to quote Spike "I got my pride, you know?"

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm really grateful that everyone else's review was a straight read of the fic on its merits. Very balanced and unanimous and so long as the review quotes from everyone except mine, with its touch of ... um, well um ... "seething hatred? ... I'm sure KoC will accept what's been put in a balanced way.

                Good to think the Written has "got its pride, y'know" and can risk saying to anyone, big Swingy on the forum or not, your fanfic isn't up to the standard set for FoM.
                * supporting the WGA strikers *

                Comment


                • #9
                  Excellent, we've got a few reviews in and - I've only looked at the grades for now - everyone seems more or less of the opinion that this is not a FotM. I shall do my best to word this accordingly and, erm, diplomatically.

                  Can I just apologise to you guys, though, cos I won't be able to post the results till tomorrow night - I'll try - or Friday night at the latest. I'm having a manic week but I'm away at the weekend and I'll definitely post the review before then. Hope that's OK. It's not like the suspense is gonna kill him anyway.
                  "I'd like to keep Spike as my pet."
                  "Get out of my temporal lobe, House!"
                  "Confessssssssssss!"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    prophetic vision much

                    From KoC's anti-writer's strike views posted recently ...

                    I also don't think their services are so indispensible to the industry, either -- only a miner can mine, only a nurse can nurse, but anybody can write -- they just can't always write well.
                    [my italics] ... talk about writing on the wall for the results of October's FoM Can we be Bad and quote this piece in the review? Jo - pleeeeeease?
                    Last edited by ferdy-m; 03-11-07, 12:05 PM.
                    * supporting the WGA strikers *

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ferdy-m View Post
                      talk about writing on the wall for the results of October's FoM Can we be Bad and quote this piece in the review? Jo - pleeeeeease?
                      Tee hee. Had a chat with Jo, I'm now doing the results review on Sunday night - I'm away this weekend. Sorryyyy.

                      I'll put the quote in. Unless anybody objects.
                      "I'd like to keep Spike as my pet."
                      "Get out of my temporal lobe, House!"
                      "Confessssssssssss!"

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks, Aissy - I know you're busy right now!

                        Please be subtle and diplomatic We aren't supposed to hold the writers' personal opinions against them when judging. I've crossed swords with Dan over this issue myself this week, though. It's one thing to disagree with the screenwriters' right to strike, another entirely to claim that anyone could do their job.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          tee hee

                          ahem - right alongside with diplomatic (but gaaaaaaghhhhhhhh - when the guy proves not everyone can write ... it's sooooo tempting.

                          Howabout - we're supporting fanfic writing generated by Joss, so it defends two essentials:

                          * the forum exists to recognise, discuss and enthuse over the scriptwriting of Joss Whedon and his team, not for any one of us to give our yapping little opinions a bit of a run in public. There are other forums for that. This forum, last time I checked, was called "BuffyForums". Nobody else could have written it this stuff, or those other people would have written it (sooooo specific, anya).

                          * the biggest recognition of the innovation and skill and sheer playful, unravelling joyfulness of watching stuff wot JW writes, is to try and write stuff within at least sniffin' distance of the great man's bottom. That's true fandom, and the reason we write fanfic here.

                          So justified in making this point and not that KoC can't write except at a unremarkable and mediocre level?

                          EDIT: just dropping in after reading Dan's response to your post and mine in the WGA thread - he really, really doesn't get it, does he? I think it's because he judges writing by his personal reference - he's not that bothered whether he's good at it or not (which is just as well, mate, because you're average), which means good writing out there on a screen near you is just a matter of lucking out in getting into the a closed-shop work practice. I have more chance of being a nurse, with training and commitment, than I have of being a good writer. Being a nurse needs a nursing skill I may or may not have, but I can get to third base with it. I'm not going to get to first base with writing if I don't have it in me to start with.
                          Last edited by ferdy-m; 03-11-07, 04:23 PM.
                          * supporting the WGA strikers *

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You think we should punish him?

                            A new review:

                            PLOT: As long as the character names are changed, NO ONE WILL NOTICE A THING.
                            PEN: It doesn't matter! Anyone can write, and everyone will watch! Who are we to judge on quality?

                            Feels: like a show has been sold out.

                            Okay, well we can't really judge you on any merits, I mean, good enough, right? Any amateur writer can pen a filler script for a continuous TV series, yeah? Great. Okay.

                            We're actually going to be sending this to Desperate Housewives, mmkay? We took the liberty of changing a few names: "Buffy to Susan", "Xander" to "Bree", "Andrew" to "Gabrielle" and "Angel" to "Mike". We hope we didn't step on your creative feet with that one, we're not corrupting your vision or anything are we? No, I can't see you minding particularly much.

                            Okay, well, that should be airing in a month or so, congratulations, you'll get your money in the mail. The fans won't notice particularly much, I mean, it's not as though they follow shows and the quality of writing on the shows obsessively.

                            WRITTEN? Well, we can't award this WRITTEN, but we can certainly call it PRODUCED.
                            Last edited by Kold; 04-11-07, 03:59 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Kold View Post
                              You think we should punish him?

                              A new review:

                              PLOT: As long as the character names are changed, NO ONE WILL NOTICE A THING.
                              PEN: It doesn't matter! Anyone can write, and everyone will watch! Who are we to judge on quality?

                              Feels: like a show has been sold out.

                              Okay, well we can't really judge you on any merits, I mean, good enough, right? Any amateur writer can pen a filler script for a continuous TV series, yeah? Great. Okay.

                              We're actually going to be sending this to Desperate Housewives, mmkay? We took the liberty of changing a few names: "Buffy to Susan", "Xander" to "Bree", "Andrew" to "Gabrielle" and "Angel" to "Mike". We hope we didn't step on your creative feet with that one, we're not corrupting your vision or anything are we? No, I can't see you minding particularly much.

                              Okay, well, that should be airing in a month or so, congratulations, you'll get your money in the mail. The fans won't notice particularly much, I mean, it's not as though they follow shows and the quality of writing on the shows obsessively.

                              WRITTEN? Well, we can't award this WRITTEN, but we can certainly call it PRODUCED.
                              You're so on the naughty step, kold - sit there until Dan says you can come off.

                              *worries where all this Written naughtyness is coming from ... it's thinking, probably. Let's all stop thinking independently - pleeeeease.*

                              I'm going to make a serious suggestion here - yes, let's explain that although the WRITING isn't up to standard, we recognise this entrant's point that writing doesn't matter, and given the Written Panel are on a 48-hour strike, supporting the WGA, the award this month is PRODUCED. Normal service will be resumed for November's FoM, when we will be reverting to quality of the writing?

                              Anyone up for joining us on the naughty step?
                              Last edited by ferdy-m; 04-11-07, 11:04 AM.
                              * supporting the WGA strikers *

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ferdy-m View Post
                                You're so on the naughty step, kold - sit there until Dan says you can come off.

                                *worries where all this Written naughtyness is coming from ... it's thinking, probably. Let's all stop thinking independently - pleeeeease.*

                                I'm going to make a serious suggestion here - yes, let's explain that although the WRITING isn't up to standard, we recognise this entrant's point that writing doesn't matter, and given the Written Panel are on a 48-hour strike, supporting the WGA, the award this month is PRODUCED. Normal service will be resumed for November's FoM, when we will be reverting to quality of the writing?

                                Anyone up for joining us on the naughty step?
                                You know where I stand. I think we better ask Lady Jo, though.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Jo, to avoid causing you any trouble as a Mod, if most of us are OK with this I'd like to preface Aissy's compilation of the review with:

                                  I'd like to test that theory ...

                                  As the original creator of the Written here on BWF, I've suggested to the Panel we replicate some of the issues arising from the WGA writer's strike. Our only contender for October, KingofCretins, was not quite up to Written standard (see review below) but has posted his belief if the WGA go on strike, non-professional writers could cover the situation OK-ish, if not well.

                                  So, with apologies for the inconvenience, Gentle Viewers, October's FoM is actually PoM (Production of the Month) - if it goes down well in this little petrie dish of beta-testing, we'll know writing is something everybody can do if the situation requires it.

                                  Normal service will be resumed in November, where, regardless of the WGA's position, we'll be judging submissions on the basis of good writing, pore deluded muppets as we are.

                                  Ferdy-m
                                  * supporting the WGA strikers *

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    To be honest, I'd rather keep all non-Written issues out of the official review. If we want to maintain a standard, we need to be seen to be objective. All our reviews were in before this issue blew up, so the result is unaffected by it, but I'd hate to have any perceived prejudice creeping in from outside issues.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Llywela View Post
                                      To be honest, I'd rather keep all non-Written issues out of the official review. If we want to maintain a standard, we need to be seen to be objective. All our reviews were in before this issue blew up, so the result is unaffected by it, but I'd hate to have any perceived prejudice creeping in from outside issues.
                                      It's pure, undiluted naughtyness, Jo - if you're uncomfy with it and you are much more heavily involved here than I am, OK with losing the naughty I'll just do it in open forum, like ...

                                      What's going to happen in S8 ... well, you write it. We'll all turn up and clap OR

                                      Georges Jeanty can write it - hey, pictures tell a thousand words, why bother with the words, eh?

                                      What's going to happen about Ripper ... call in Heather!

                                      "After the Fall" ... no probs, Brian Vaughan can carry on by himself, it may not be Joss but is it Joss now?
                                      * supporting the WGA strikers *

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Haha ferdy... we've been told off.
                                        It probably is better not to mention it at all, because it is a rather prejudicial thing to do. However, we could always say that we're on the WGA strike, and we'll give him his review with the November intake? A bit more subtle?

                                        Originally posted by ferdy
                                        What's going to happen about Ripper ... call in Heather!
                                        Starring the cast of Heroes...

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