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Old 01-16-2015, 02:34 PM   #1
Stan
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Lily and the Art of Being Sisyphus by The Carnivorous Muffin

Title: Lily and the Art of Being Sisyphus
Author: The Carnivorous Muffin
Rating: T
Genre: Humor/Fantasy
Chapters: 21
Words: 122,102
Updated: January 16, 2015
Published: December 9, 2013
Status: Work in Progress
Library Category: Humor / AU
Pairings: None
Summary: Lily is not quite a normal little girl. The Dursleys always say she's a freak just like her freakish parents, her uncle Death seems to be convinced she's the grim reaper, and her ever political and invisible best friend Wizard Lenin just thinks she should take over the world. On top of all that the secret society of wizards think she's Jesus. AU female!Harry among other things.
Link: Lily and the Art of Being Sisyphus

This was recommended a couple of times in the Almost Recommended thread, but to my knowledge, hasn't been put for review.

The story is a surrealist fic, written through the eyes of Elanor Potter, daughter of Lily and James Potter and indentured servant of the Dursleys. The story follows Ellie as she befriends her 'uncle' Death, plots with Wizard Lenin (who is the horcrux of Voldemort in her head) to bring him back to life, visits Knockturn Alley and discovers the infamous Drug Lord known to the world as Lily Riddle and attends Hogwarts where she finds herself in a bitter rivalry with Snape. Ellie's antics are always amusing and her interactions with the other characters is the main part of the story. Add Muggle psychiatrists, mysterious rabbits, missing ghosts, bloodthirsty vampires and cheerfully manipulative headmasters to Lily's unique personality and it makes a fun story to read.

The story would probably be hit-or-miss for many people, but I like it. There are a few problems - I didn't like the portrayal of Slytherin house, for one. The story could probably use a bit more conflict too, but it is a humor fic, so inflicting unspeakable horrors upon the protagonist is not essential. There are a couple of times the humor didn't click, like in the sorting ceremony, but it mostly works and I found myself giggling at times.

The author writes a fan requested one-shot for every 100 reviews she gets, so there are quite a few side fics to the main story. It is best to read those as you go along, but most can be read at any time. These stories are prompted by readers, so many of them are just as entertaining (or more so) as the the main story. These are the best ones:

1. Lily Riddle and the Narcotics Emporium : Or how the vampire Frank, previously named Constantine, learned to stop worrying and love the anarchy produced by a rather insane little girl.

2. Dust Of Snow : Wizard Lenin and Lily briefly address the future in which Wizard Lenin returns to the material plane leaving Lily behind. The future, it seems, is more uncertain than either of them expected.

3. The Pettigrew Incident : In which there is mystery, mayhem, maps and of course murder.

4. Pygmalion : In which Hermione Granger tries and fails to shape Eleanor Lily Potter into a normal human being in the course of one morning.

Overall I would give the Lily Riddle universe a 4/5. You may or may not come to love this story, but do make sure to at least give it a try.

Last edited by Dark Minion; 02-08-2015 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 01-16-2015, 04:18 PM   #2
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Honestly this is some of the best surrealist writing I've read.

4.5/5
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Old 01-16-2015, 04:30 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Stan View Post
The author writes a fan requested one-shot for every 100 reviews she gets, so there are quite a few side fics to the main story. It is best to read those as you go along, but most can be read at any time. These stories are prompted by readers, so many of them are just as entertaining (or more so) as the the main story
You think that would work for other authors?
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Old 01-16-2015, 04:40 PM   #4
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Just read it all in one go. Is it weird that I found Rabbit to be the most interesting thing about this fic? Otherwise, there's not much to talk about. If this wasn't a surrealist fic, it wouldn't work at all. While there's little conflict, I found it fun and a good time-waster.

4/5.
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Old 01-16-2015, 05:41 PM   #5
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I really like this author. He/she has a way with words, and even if the author's turns of phrase were somewhat clumsy in her earlier works, her more recent ones are all excellent imo.

And yes, it is a surrealist work. It doesn't always make sense, it can get confusing but it's worth the read.

4/5
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:24 PM   #6
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I definitely think surreal is the best way to describe this fic, not crack; it's got a very definitive tone that it's running with which makes reading a joy. There are times the facade breaks (generally the talk of glitches), but otherwise I'm quite enjoying it.

4/5
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Old 01-16-2015, 07:29 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mutton View Post
I definitely think surreal is the best way to describe this fic, not crack; it's got a very definitive tone that it's running with which makes reading a joy. There are times the facade breaks (generally the talk of glitches), but otherwise I'm quite enjoying it.

4/5
You are correct. 'Surreal' is the word I was looking for. 'Crack' never seemed to fit at all, but the author describes the story as a humor fic, so I just went with it. 'Absurdist' works as well - the author describes her fic as such.
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Old 01-16-2015, 11:42 PM   #8
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Just read this fic in one sitting, as well as one of the one-shots (the Fred & George one). I really loved it, actually, it was amusing most of the time, and a little moving TBH in a couple of spots. I am intrigued by Rabbit, expecting the worst...he is a bit unsettling.

It's been a while since I read a fic, let alone one with Fred & George, I had forgotten how much I loved them. Hopefully there will be less of Ron and more of them in the future...

 
So what is the deal with Wizard Lenin and the girl he knew, who married a nearsighted boy with bad hair? There are many people that could refer to, but I really have no solid idea, am I missing something?


Anyway, 4/5 from me.
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Old 01-17-2015, 03:56 AM   #9
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So what is the deal with Wizard Lenin and the girl he knew, who married a nearsighted boy with bad hair? There are many people that could refer to, but I really have no solid idea, am I missing something?
 
I kind of assumed the girl he knew with red hair was Lily tbh (her mother, not the main character), since she's the only one that fits the bill and it'd explain why Lenin doesn't like Severus. The only thing I can't figure out is the timeline.
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Old 01-19-2015, 11:20 AM   #10
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This was surprisingly coherent and interesting.

Even though the Wizard Lenin raised my eyebrows at first, I actually chuckled when it was explained, and managed to bear with the weight of communism further along.

The story is... absurd, for the lack of better word, but in the absurdity itself there lies entertainment.

In a way, this carries a certain vibe of Rorschach's Blot's - if the Mr. Black stories were better written and would flow properly, this could be the style they could take. Why Mr. Black? Because "Riddle Inc." is a better "Black Inc.".

Out of one-shots, the firm and its recruitment were the bits that I ended up liking the most. Otherwise, there's fun all around.


On the other hand, Lily is way too relaxed and overpowered, even though that is to be expected. Her craziness is over top, trying to one up itself with each passing conversation, and even though hilarity follows, one easily gets lost looking for a shred of reason. Well, if it has to be done...

This, surprisingly, doesn't get in the way of fun. Perhaps, when one writes a story where the bizarre and unexplained powers are the norm and the source of the conflicts and merriment... One can be allowed a lot of leeway.

I'm giving this a weak 4/5, but a 4/5 nonetheless.
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Old 01-20-2015, 07:25 AM   #11
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Really enjoyed it.

Lily's bizarre thought processes that go on crazy tangents and get more and more absurd made for a really enjoyable narrative. Her upbeat, playful attitude and the way she somehow manages to avoid taking anything personally is pretty endearing, and you can see why even Lenin manages to warm up to her. He's too busy going "The fuck is this girl on...? Wait, what? No don't do that! Whyyyy....my entire understanding of the universe just died..." to maintain any sort of disdain for her.

 
But by far, my favourite scenes were the ones with Dumbledore.

Both of them.

The initial meeting. Fun, playful with twinkling overload as Lily meets someone who she feels gets it.

Then the second meeting, where she approaches him as an adversary. Her talk of fiddles, speeches and melodies. Oh wow, for a crack fic, that was a freaking epic piece dialogue.


There were a few times that the jokes fell flat, but generally managed to keep a smile on my face the whole way through, while leaving enough "plot" to keep me looking forward to what was going to actually happen.

My only question is where it'll go from here. As Nauro pointed out, I think Lily may be just a bit too overpowered at this point. It's fun watching everyone's reactions to her craziness, but once people start understanding that she's basically God, that will probably stop being a thing. I think this fic would leave a lot more open in the future if she had to struggle a tad.

4/5.
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Old 01-25-2015, 10:35 AM   #12
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The story updated with another oneshot.

Mimsy were the Borogoves : Lily, after opening the wrong doors at the wrong time, tries to describe her experience in detention with professor Quirrell and comes short of the essence of things.

This was awesome. I'm tempted to increase my rating to 5/5 after reading this. For all the surreal moments in this story, I don't think anything came close to this one-shot. Rabbit getting creepier, the Death Chasm, the new version of Voldemort, Lily feeling real fear for the first time in her life.... there was no humor here, this one was really meant to freak you out. If you read the story, definitely give this one a read.

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Old 01-25-2015, 04:44 PM   #13
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I read it over the last week, and it was great.

Absurd or surreal describes it quite well. In the first chapters Lily's perception of reality and her interaction with the rest of the world matches how I think Luna's mind works. Lily is a otherworldly Being with probably unlimited powers and magic comes naturally to her, nevertheless the author doesn't cross the line into the typical super!Harry cliché territory. He toes with it but he knows where to stop.

While at first the author said he didn't have a plan or plotline for the story, he now apparently has at least a rough concept with "Riddle. Inc" and Voldemort's youth.

The author manages to stay in character and to keep up the style and quality at a decend update rate (21 chapters with 120k words in 13 months). There are some glitches (grammar, spelling) but they aren't really bothersome.


I rate it 4.5/5 for plot, style, length and update rate.
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Old 01-27-2015, 01:01 AM   #14
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Not sure WTF is going on with this, but it's fantastic. 4/5
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:20 AM   #15
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4/5

I love the story, read all the updates immediately etc. What is missing, is any real sense of conflict. It's all about the atmosphere etc and one may fear that this style will not be sustainable..
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:21 PM   #16
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4/5

I love the story, read all the updates immediately etc. What is missing, is any real sense of conflict. It's all about the atmosphere etc and one may fear that this style will not be sustainable..
I don't know; the story has it's own sense of conflict, it just happens to be very disconnected from what we normally think of as a Harry Potter storyline. Lily's current quest is to figure out a way to make Wizard Lenin a body. She's had stops and starts along the way, while general Dadaist shenanigans occur. What makes the story work is that it doesn't focus on her powering through the Harry Potter storyline; that's all background noise.
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Old 01-27-2015, 08:38 PM   #17
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It's sustained itself on humor and curiosity at what will happen next for 122k words now. That's longer than your average novel, so after it's made it this long I don't think it'll get 'old' too quickly. So long as the author manages to keep (1) making us laugh and (2) making us wonder what will happen next the gimmick should keep working.

It's true that there isn't much beyond that, which is why I give it a 4/5 instead of all 5 stars, but there doesn't need to be.
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Old 01-27-2015, 09:19 PM   #18
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It's sustained itself on humor and curiosity at what will happen next for 122k words now. That's longer than your average novel, so after it's made it this long I don't think it'll get 'old' too quickly. So long as the author manages to keep (1) making us laugh and (2) making us wonder what will happen next the gimmick should keep working.

It's true that there isn't much beyond that, which is why I give it a 4/5 instead of all 5 stars, but there doesn't need to be.
Its around 200k words if you count the one-shots.

As for the conflict, I don't think the normal kind of conflict would work in this story. Lily's overpower-ness and emotional untouchability is an integral part of Lily's character, and an important part of the story. Leave those out, and Lily just won't be Lily. The author breaks out enough stuff - some very original stuff like Rabbit and Drug Lords and Vampire Revolutions that somehow blend in perfectly with Lily's odd personality, making the story amusing and charming.

The best part of the story is that it is unique in the fandom. It is this uniqueness that makes the story a must-read. Lily's characterization and charm is the best part of the story - sacrificing any part of it for the sake of traditional conflict seems like an incredibly stupid thing to do.
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:32 AM   #19
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So I guess I'm the only one who hates absurdism. Fics like this just make me angry -- angry that an apparently talented author has put work into silliness instead of a real fic. If the same talent and effort had been put into something with proper characterisation, realistic plot etc. then we could have one of the best fics in the fandom. Instead we have the fanfic equivalent of Lady Gaga.
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Old 01-28-2015, 06:36 AM   #20
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So I guess I'm the only one who hates absurdism. Fics like this just make me angry -- angry that an apparently talented author has put work into silliness instead of a real fic. If the same talent and effort had been put into something with proper characterisation, realistic plot etc. then we could have one of the best fics in the fandom. Instead we have the fanfic equivalent of Lady Gaga.
No you're not. I totally agree with you.
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