Gambit 8


Editor: Jean Graham
Publisher: Peacock Press
Date: February 1992

Nancy Dziergowski, "And Miles to Go Before I Sleep" (S0; A:ATA universe)
Jean B. Hubb, "The Observer" (S1)
April Giordano & Mary Gerstner, "Ghost" (S1; humor)
Tom Beck, "Gypsy" (S2; B/ocf)
Sandra Basham, "Retreat and Reconciliation" (S2)
Jennifer Smallwood, "The Surreal Path" (S2)
Lorna Breshears, "Fool's Gambit Declined" (S2)
Brendan O'Cullane & Adrian Morgan, "Remembrance" (S2)
Alicia Ann Fox, "Open Season" (S2)
Summer Jackson, "Computer Chat" (S2; O-Z)
Paulie Kay, "Trang" (S3; A-V)
Ruth Berman, "Blake Free" (S3)
Teresa Ward & Cami, "Revenge" (S3)
Margaret Walsh, "An Uneasy Alliance" (S3; D-Se)
Summer Jackson, "The Takeover" (S4; V-So)
Patricia Blasi, "A Cornered Rat... May Snap a Thread" (S4)
Roxie Ray, "Impasse" (S4; D/Ta)
C. K. Smith, "And Then..." (S5)
Rebecca Ann Brothers, Pat Dunn, & Diana Smith, "Christmas on Skarth" (S5)
Sophia R. Mulvey, "Consider Me Gone" (S5)
Catherine Kendall, "Sparks" (S5; Xiaodan universe)
Margaret Walsh, "Nine Day Galaxy Explorer" (S5; travelogue; humor)
Sheila Paulson, "The End of Entropy" (S5)
Cheufell Doshier, "The Drunk" (S5)
Jean B. Hubb, "The Participant" (real world crossover, sort of)
Nancy Dziergowski, "Avon... Who?" (real world crossover)

Jean Graham, "Editorial Musings"
Sandy Van Densen, "Co-editor's Page"
Teri Sarick, "Blake's 7 Knocks 'Em Dead" (knock-knock jokes; humor)
Letters of Comment
Zine ads

Katherine S. Cremona, "Word Jumble"
Teri Sarick, "Sci-Fi Word Search"
Teri Sarick, "Blake's 7-Eleven"
Katherine S. Cremona, "MisQuotes"

Poetry: Jackie Black, "Friends"
Michael Williams, "Vila"
Jacqui Topp, "Heart of Stone" (f, Heart of Stone, by Cher)
Jacqui Topp, "Just a Dream"
Jacqui Topp, "Deadlier Than the Male"
Jacqui Topp, "Homeward Bound-- The Trooper's Song" (f, Homeward Bound, by Simon & Garfunkel)
Michael Williams, "Beginnings"
Michael Williams, "Cosmos Run"
Melissa Mastoris, "A Daughter's Duty"
Melissa Mastoris, "Gauda Prime: Avon"
Melissa Mastoris, "Vindication"
Michael Williams, "An Avon Lament"
Michael Williams, "Ode to Anna"
Michael Williams, "An Avon Lament #2"
Michael Williams, "Avon: Post-Anna Grant"
Teri Sarick, "Care, Avon" (correct version of poem from Gambit #7)
Teri Sarick, "Justice"
Jackie Black, "Final Storm"
Michelle Christian, "Safety"
Jackie Black, "Castles of Sand"
Jackie Black, (Untitled)
Teri Sarick, "One Rebel Gone: Avon Sings" (f, And When I Die, by Laura Nyro)
Teri Sarick, "Simple Answers"
Melissa Mastoris, "Gan"
Melissa Mastoris, "Blake's Cause"
Melissa Mastoris, "Partners in Crime"
Melissa Mastoris, "Where Are You?"
Michelle Christian, "Last Thoughts"
Michelle Christian, "Half Sick of Shadows"
Jackie Black, "The Price"
Jackie Black, (Untitled)

Lucia C. Moore front c. "The Dominant Male" (A, D, So)
p. 102 A, B in Pressure Point
p. 161 Ta
p. 187 V
p. 209 V (& A, Se, Ta, B)
p. 218 Ta
p. 236 A
p. 250 A, Klyn
p. 259 A, V in Orbit
Linda Garlick back c. A, wolf
p. 5 Ta
p. 6 A
p. 99 C
p. 154 D
p. 277 PD w/ guns, bears
p. 284 A
Michael Williams p. 10 A
p. 17 A
p. 85 V
p. 96 B
p. 116 A, V
p. 118 A
p. 168 A, V, Ta
p. 183 A
p. 222 A
p. 244 C
p. 281 A, Se AU
Denise Loague p. 19 cartoon; A, V Halloween
p. 141 Se
p. 254 Se
Fliss Davies p. 22 Tr
p. 30 B, J
p. 50 J
p. 71 A
p. 112 Ta
p. 173 B
p. 273 Se
Cindy Brink p. 38 ?
p. 95 A, V
p. 178 A
p. 197 A
p. 203 ocm?
p. 220 J
p. 227 C
p. 232 B
p. 261 Ta
p. 275 ?
p. 278 So
Katherine Cremona p. 59 G
p. 81 C
p. 155 A, Se
p. 250 So
Jacqui Topp p. 65 C
p. 144 So
p. 193 B
Suzie Molnar p. 78a illo for "The Surreal Path"
p. 78b illo for "The Surreal Path"
p. 150 illo for "A Cornered Rat"
Leigh Moto'oka p. 127 A, Ta; illo for "Revenge"
Derrin p. 137 Ta


Reviewed By CB

Peacock Press 1992
Ed Jean Graham 284 pages Colour cover of Dayna, Soolin and Avon by Lucia Casarella Moore

Pre Series
And Miles to Go Before I Sleep by Nancy Dziergowski

Series A
The Observer by Jean B Hubb
Ghost by April Giordano and Mary Gerstner

Series B
Gypsy by Tom Beck
Retreat and Reconciliation by Sandra Basham
The Surreal Path by Jennifer Smallwood
Fools Gambit Declined by Lorna Breashears
Remembrance by Brendan O'Cullane and Adrian Morgan
Open Season by Alicia Ann Fox
Computer Chat by Summer Jackson

Series C
Trang by Paulie Kay
Blake Free by Ruth Berman
Revenge by Teresa Ward and Cami
An Uneasy Alliance by Margaret Walsh

Series D
The Takeover by Summer Jackson
A Cornered Rat - May Snap a Thread by Patricia Blasi
Impasse by Roxie Ray

Series E
And Then by C.K.Smith
Christmas on Skarth by Rebecca Ann Brothers, Pat Dunn and Diana Smth
Consider Me Gone by Sophia F Mulvey
Sparks by Catherine Kendall
Nine Day Galaxy Explorer by Margaret Walsh
The End of Entropy by Sheila Paulson
The Drunk by Cheufell Doshier

Other Dimensions
The Participant by Jean B Hubb
Avon...Who? by Nancy Dziergowski

Also puzzles, poetry and filks (31 of them) by Jackie Black, Michelle Christian, Melissa Mastoris, Teri Sarick, Jacqui Topp and Michael Williams

Massive amount of zine for the price, densely packed pages but a nice clear print. Contents include a splendid PGP from Sheila Paulson, and particularly good stuff from O'Cullane/Morgan, Ward/McCoy and Ruth Berman.

"And Miles to Go before I sleep" draws from Paul Darrow's book, starting before Avon's birth and ends with his entering the Federation Academy. The writing is somewhat stilted and character development cursory, telling the reader what happens rather than demonstrating it, so it's difficult for the reader to feel involved.

"The Observer" has Avon contemplating existence in a holding cell before leaving for Cygnus Alpha, and watching Vila, Jenna and Blake. Typically Avon and nicely observed.

Gan's ghost haunts Liberator among lots of in-jokes in the playful "Ghost". "Gypsy" is a thirty page story written in a very stylised manner. Blake and co. are pursued by Travis, who with Blake becomes involved with a gypsy-like tribe while the rest of the crew on Liberator try to avoid pursuit ships. The plot and characterisation are okay, but the mannered prose and constant use of the present tense quickly becomes irritating, as does the gypsies' dialect and the overt mysticism.

The twenty-page "Retreat and Reconciliation" starts with Blake and a surly Avon holding talks with a group of rebels, and then develops into a n investigation of Avon's past. I t has some sensitively written scenes, especially between Avon and Vila, but I didn't really buy the ending.

"The Surreal Path" is another mystical story, this time of the witches and warlocks variety, in which Avon is transformed. If you like fantasy of this type, this is a good example, and not without a sense of humour.

"Fool's Gambit Declined" is an ingenious light hearted alternative Gambit. "Remembrance" starts after the Shivon debacle. Blake decides he needs to undergo therapy to restore his damaged memory, and Avon must help. Excellent story with some interesting twists.

In "Open Season" Cally and an injured - not too seriously - Avon are trapped in a monitor station. Blake has a characteristic last word. A simple but discerning story which gets across their companionship rather than going for angst.

"Trang" has Vila and Avon unconvincingly declaring their undying glove, caring, friendship etc in an embarrassingly contrived plot.

Avon ponders on the past and future at the start of series 3 in "Blake Free". Very believable characterisation and acute observation.

"Revenge" is an alternative continuation of Terminal in which Tarrant has apparently been abandoned until found by Servalan. Convincingly written.

"An Uneasy Alliance" sees Dayna and Servalan forming a temporary alliance to escape from a harem. This one I could not believe.

A morose, post-Malodaar Vila teleports down to a colony on business with Soolin in "The Takeover" and ends up in trouble. Has he been abandoned? Does he care?

"A Cornered Rat...May Snap a Thread" is an unusually savage story which starts with Vila's intentions towards Orac and gets bleaker by the minute.

"Impasse" is a two-pager which takes place after Dayna and Tarrant return from Virn. Dayna is confused and Tarrant is surprised.

"And Then" is PGP. Avon and Vila have survived, but who else? Del Grant and Avalon also feature, and Avon winds up in an unexpected and incongruous role.

"Christmas on Skarth" is a fifty-page episode ion a continuing series. It's very cosy in tone, revolving around the love lives of Avon, Blake and Vila and an awful long way from science fiction. As I find this series relentlessly soap-operaish and overly sentimental I didn't enjoy this one, but it's a matter of personal taste. The writing is competent, and the pace well-judged. If you want to luxuriate in the possibilities of domestic bliss for all of them, you should enjoy this.

"Consider Me Gone" is another PGP where Avon and Blake play tricks on one another. Moderately dark in tone.

"Sparks" is a another episode in the convoluted "Xiaodan" saga. Unlike some ongoing series it does give a detailed summary of previous episodes, without which the grateful reader would be truly lost. This series has many different threads, too many for its own good IMHO. It covers various resistance machinations, clones, surgical alterations, slavery, prostitution, personal revelations of every kind, drug addiction, characters who reveal themselves to be really someone else (usually related to Servalan, Avon or whatever) family feuds, imperial liaiaisons lots of new characters, and that's just for starters. You have to admire the writer's breadth of imagination but it's all too much. Individually each thread would make a good story but put together the whole is hard to take.

"Nine Day Galaxy Explorer" is welcome light relief - a brochure advertising the Heroes of the Rebellion tour. If it's Day Three it must be Exbar.

"The End of Entropy" is yet another skilful and subtle story from Sheila Paulson. Avon and a sullen Vila are unexpectedly free after Gaude Prime and go off together with the ultimate aim of hunting down Servalan. This is a brilliant story, so I won't say anything more about it.

If you can take Vila as president, surrounded by prattling grandchildren and Supreme Commander Tarrant, you might conceivably like "The Drunk".

The last two stories cone under the heading of Other Dimensions. In "The Participant" a fan gets to be part of the series videotape and takes more of a part than was expected. "Avon... Who" covers similar ground to "Cheeseboard".

Last updated on 16th of April 2001

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