The Watching Trilogy


Author: Alan Mathews ([email protected])
Homepage of Author:

Date: Book I: September 1995 - November 1996. Book II: February - December 1996. Book III: in progress
Size: 612K, Book I 20 Chapters, Book II 17 Chapters, 108,000 words, 204 pages
Code: m/f f/f teen rom

Source: from The Water's Edge, a story site since disappeared.

Author Information:

According to The Water's Edge, "Alan Mathews works with romance with an erotic flair, and is also working on other stories revolving around life and people". He is one of Celeste's recommended authors. The Watching Trilogy has been his sole contribution to a.s.s. so far.

Celestial Reviews:

Book I: The Meeting

From Celestial Reviews 137 - November 23, 1996

"Watching" by Alan Mathews ([email protected]). I got lucky tonight.
No, not the way you think, although that happened too. I got lucky
because my lessons for the rest of the week have been so well prepared
over the years that I could afford to blow off about three hours reading
this story. Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

The boy and the girl first meet when the school bus breaks down and it
gets cold and they have to share his coat. She's 13 and he's 18, but
she's beautiful and he has a crush on her. They don't have sex. She
falls asleep in his arms, and he doesn't even masturbate. She kisses him
gently when she eventually gets off the bus. That's the kind of story
this is going to be. But the action picks up quickly. Circumstances
require Jenny to leave home; and since Alex happens to live alone most of
the time he takes her in. Soon we discover that sleeping together and
showering together leads to a certain level of intimacy. The sexual
activities come across as both innocent and sexy.

The story includes a genuine, interesting plot. This is a really sexy,
romantic story.

A minor problem is that the story contains numerous irritating errors.
For example, the author consistently uses "to" instead of "too." Dr.
Mathewson becomes Dr. Sampson a few paragraphs later. My advice to you is
to ignore the errors and just enjoy the story. It's excellent!

[These errors are removed from the present version]

Ratings for "Watching"
Athena (technical quality): 10
Venus
(plot & character): 10
Celeste
(appeal to reviewer): 10

Other Celestial Awards:

#4 on Celeste's Top 15 Stories for November 1996
#16 on Celeste's Top 100 Stories of 1996

Book II: The Return of the Past

From Celestial Reviews 152 - January 25, 1997

"Watching - Book 2" by Alan Mathews ([email protected]). This story is a
sequel to "Watching," which I ranked number 16 among my Top 100 stories of
1996. You probably should read the original (Book 1) first - if only because
it's enjoyable and was reposted at the same time as this sequel; but Chapter
1 of the present Book provides a good recap of Book 1.

This story takes up the adventures of the very young couple and their baby as
they return to their old hometown. They encounter some new problems,
overcome some obstacles, grow closer together as a family, and have some
great sex.

Skyla is only two years old and is becoming interested in what mommy and
daddy do in bed together, and the parents do an exemplary job of answering
her questions in a way suited to her developmental level without introducing
her prematurely to the rites of Venus. However, I believe some of the ideas
that the author puts into Skyla's head would be much more realistic if she
were, say, two or three years older. {I might also point out that there are
almost certainly no two-year-olds in the real world who win at Monopoly
against intelligent twelve-year-olds who are making a serious effort.}

The scene in which Alex deflowers his young sister-in-law with Jenny's
consent is best described as Pollyanna with an Attitude. But it's sexy
stuff.

The author consistently makes an interesting grammatical mistake. He uses
"I" in situations that call for the objective case. Sportscasters do this
all the time, but a.s.s. authors are supposed to be above that sort of thing.
The easy way to deal with this problem is simply to mentally restate the
sentence without the compound phrase.

It's incorrect to use "me" as the SUBJECT of a sentence, and so it is WRONG
to say, "Bill and me went out looking for some action." {Omit the compound
subject. You would never say, "Me went out looking for some action."}

On the other hand, it is correct to use "me" (and incorrect to use "I") as
the OBJECT of a sentence or as the object of a preposition. Therefore, it
would be WRONG to say, "John invited Sue and I over to his house for a quick
threesome." {Omit the compound phrase. You would never say, " John invited I
(or we) over to his house for a quick threesome."}

It's that simple. I think the reason people make this mistake is because
using "me" as part of the compound subject is the error that they make (and
for which they get corrected) earlier in life; and so they overreact by
saying "I" even in situations where "me" would be appropriate.

Ratings for "Watching - Book 2"
Athena (technical quality): 10
Venus
(plot & character): 10
Celeste
(appeal to reviewer): 10

Other Celestial Awards:

#4 on Celeste's Top 15 Stories for January 1997
#31 on Celeste's Top 100 Stories of 1997

Reader Comments:

"Your story, after reading the 1st few chapters is an oasis in
this desert [!] of a newsgroup"
[email protected]

My Comments:

This is one of the very few stories where the author has given an account of its genesis and writing. It is evident from the "Author's Note" to Book I that we are dealing here with an intensely personal work, with the setting and characters decisively influenced by the author's own life.

This work tackles some very serious issues, within the context of a romantic relationship between two teenagers with a five year age difference. It certainly has the most dramatic plot of this archive, and includes, in my opinion a few events of rather doubtful validity (e.g. the deflowering referred to in Celeste's review of Book II). In the main, however, it is a excellently written account of a most unusual family (or so it becomes by the end).

The main problem most people would have with this story is the age difference between the protagonists, but I don't think this is totally out the question for a real life situation. People with troubled backgrounds can supposedly develop an intense affection for their "rescuers" which transcends commonly accepted standards of behaviour (of course that doesn't mean what they're doing is necessarily right). Alex and Jenny certainly seem to match this situation, but Alex is never seen to encourage the relationship against Jenny's will; it is a natural progression from his first kindness to her on the bus.

The author clearly bears a grudge against institutional religion, which comes out repeatedly in the couple's dealings with "conservatives" who want to disrupt their romance. Yet I think even the most liberal-minded person would look twice at a girl who gives birth at the age of fourteen to a child sired by her legal guardian, who is only nineteen himself! This is an exceptional case to be sure, but the author generally succeeds at making Alex and Jenny's romance believable. I still would have felt more comfortable if Jenny was about two years older.

The Watching Trilogy is currently unfinished. The author is presently working on the third part of the trilogy, tentatively titled Swept Away. Concerning this part, Mr. Mathews comments: "Book Three, in the 1,500 lines that I've so far finished of the first draft, departs a bit from the style of writing I've used for the previous two books, by my shifting points of view between characters. In Book Three, you're likely to see events through a half dozen characters eyes, rather than just one. This is the story of Skyla growing up, and it covers some pretty serious issues. So far, this looks like it's going to be my favorite book of the Trilogy...It's becoming more of a collection of stories about the lives of the Braxton family than it is one cohesive book".

A "teaser" for Book 3 has been released, and it's included in this archive. Unfortunately it doesn't reveal much in terms of plot, but there have been hints that Book 3 will be the "darkest" of the trilogy: the whole series is "not for the weak hearted or close-minded among us, especially for what I'm planning in Book Three", and the title of the book causes further speculation.

Finally, mention must be made of the unusual name "Skyla". I had never heard of this name before, and I assumed that it was one of those made-up names currently fashionable like Jaidyn and Breanna. The closest match I could find was a character called "Skylar" played by Drew Barrymore in an awful Woody Allen musical I was forced to watch. After further investigation, I have discovered that "Skyla" and its variants are rare names derived from the Dutch schuiler meaning "fugitive", a meaning strangely appropriate to Skyla and her family.

This is a superb, powerfully written novel, and I strongly recommend it.

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Last Update: January 25, 1997

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