Horizon 7At the price of a few bars of chocolate, Horizon 7 has to be excellent value even if you like only one or two of the stories. This edition contains four, of which "Possible Futures; part one" is by far the longest at 70 pages. This a post-PG story featuring Avon, Cally, Vila, Tarrant and Servalan. The narrative covers a great deal of ground but deals with the characters' relationships in a rather cursory way. For example it suggests that Avon has ambivalent feelings for Cally, but there's very little emotional charge in the writing; when they are finally reunited the meeting is glossed over in just a few words then - whoosh - we're racing off again to the next instalment. The writer certainly knows how to plot. There's enough material here for a full-length novel, and if the action would only slow down a little to allow the characters' interraction to be fleshed out, then it would make a very good one.
1992. Horizon Club
A5 digest. card cover. staple bound 94pp
Available from the Horizon Club
The story talks, amongst other things, about Avon's feelings of failure, his curious relationship with Servalan, and Vila's experiences with him on Xenon, but all are dealt with very prosaically and not as fully worked out in the action as they could have been. At times they act out of character, seemingly to advance the plot; I can't really see Vila, or the others for that matter, adjusting quite so effortlessly to the necessity of slaughtering unarmed enemies. Also the language can be a bit predictable; Avon snarls/snaps, Vila mutters/groans and Servalan hisses a bit too often.
If you like action/adventure you may think I'm being too harsh. Having seen a synopsis of this story I was expecting more in- depth hurt/comfort sequences so I was rather disappointed. The second story "Of a Heroine" is very short. It was written in response to an earlier story in which Cally foresaw the shooting of Blake and therefore killed Avon in series 3 in order to prevent it happening. It takes place in series 4 and shows that the best intentions don't always bring about the desired result. It is very deftly written, but the presentation is marred by the constant misuse of its/it's.
"Time's Waste" is a 10-page account of what happened to Vila after GP, told in the first person. It's perhaps a little under-developed in places - a touch of "then I did this, then I did that"- for example Vila's survival from shooting, escape from the complex, stowing away on a ship and landing on another planet takes just two pages to describe. However there is ample compensation in a running monologue which underpins the narrative, reflecting on Vila's relationship with Avon (who has also survived but who does not appear in this story; are there PGPs where Avon DOESN'T survive?) and speculating at the possibilities of its resumption. The ending is left open; has a sequel ever been published?
The final story "Alone and Silent" is set in the early Liberator days. Avon is taken over by telepathic aliens (well it makes a change from Cally) and experiences feelings of isolation which lead him to a better understanding of Cally's difficulties in living with humans. This a tender, perceptive story and I wish it had been expanded; towards the end it states "they (A&C) talked for a long time...". I would have liked to know more.
"Possible Futures" by Ros Williams
"Of a Heroine" by Anne Godfrey
"Time's Waste" by Felicity Millerd
"Alone and Silent" by Kathryn Cutmore
Art - portraits of Blake, Avon, Vila and Servalan, and an ASCII image of Cally. All reasonable, nothing outstanding.
Possible Futures Part 1 - Ros Williams
I'm sorry, but I can't face reading this one at the moment. There are 70 pages in part 1 and 44 pages in Part 2 (in volume 8), and I know by now that there's a high probability that I will regret having spent the time reading anything by this author... Those who do like her style will just have to assess the story for themselves.
Of a Heroine - Anne Godfrey
Riposte to "Of a Hero" in the previous volume. In an AU series 4, Cally discovers that escaping one fate may lead you into a worse. Short, nasty and well-written. I just wish that the usually good editing had caught the misuse of its/it's.
Time's Waste - Felicity Millerd
Monologue from Vila about how he survived Gauda Prime, what he's spent the last year doing, and what he's going to do next. Excellent Vila voice, and a lovely description of the relationship between Avon and Vila.
Alone and Silent - Kathryn Cutmore
The crew of an alien spaceship are desperate for assistance in repairing their computers, and abduct Avon. Except that they only abduct his mind. While they don't mean any harm, and return Avon when he's finished the job, the total isolation he experiences is difficult to deal with. His experiences make it easier for him to understand what Cally is going through with a non-telepath crew.
Nice concept, but one gaping plothole - the aliens abduct Avon because the failure of their control systems has left them in non-corporeal form, so they can't fix it themselves. But if only Avon's mind has been taken, surely he's going to have the same problem? Aside from that, I enjoyed the story.
Ros Williams, "Possible Futures" (part 1 of 2; S5; A/Se, A-C)
Ann Godfrey, "Of a Heroine..." (sequel to David Bell's "Of a Hero..." in #6; alt-S4; C)
Felicity Millerd, "Time's Waste" (S5; V)
Kathryn Cutmore, "Alone and Silent" (S1; A-C)
Art: (digest edition)
Valerie Leibson front c. B
p. 70 A
p. 83 V, Se
Wendy Ingle p. 72 C
Janette Harris back c. A
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Last updated on 03rd of June 2002.