Oblaquest (Oblaque III)
Review of slash zine by Predatrix
Oblaque is one of my favourite slash 'zines. It has a very decided
house style (rather more than most other b7 slash 'zines I've seen).
No artwork, no poetry, just very well-written slash stories
concentrated on emotional and sexual intensity (with a leaning towards
the dark side of both). Some people find it twisted and kinky, I find
it twisted, kinky and deeply enjoyable (even if I can end up slightly
squicked or depressed after reading some of the stories).
This is one of the earlier "milder" Oblaques (the issues from IV
onwards seem to have been harsher and weirder) but it's still got
enough dark to give a hearts and flowers slash fan the screaming abdabs
for a week (luckily the hearts and flowers slashfen are probably
concentrating on B/G (DS9) and avoiding b7 like the plague).
Oblaquest - (Oblique III)
ReOrbit: The Darkness Drops (A/V) - M.Fae Glasgow
Another cracking dose of emotional pain from M.Fae. No cuddly sex
scenes, but plenty of the dark, destructive side of love. Following
Orbit, Vila has finally been driven beyond his endurance, and has to
hit back. Grim and unrelieved.
ReOrbit: Stony Sleep (A/V) - M.Fae Glasgow
Sequel to the above. Avon's viewpoint as he sinks into a severe
depression, and realises that Vila is in danger because Blake's trying
to manipulate the situation for reasons of his own. More unrelieved
Flow Gently, Sweet Afton (A/B) - Leigh Graham
"Karl Afton", a mild-mannered man totally reconditioned by the
Federation, bumps into a certain Roj Blake who has most uncomfortable
effects on the hidden parts of his memories. Yes, folks, just for a
change we've got an Avon-more-mindwiped-than-Blake-story. I thought it
was a reasonably clever idea but the sketched-in relationships don't
really work Doesn't have the punch and conviction of the tangled
passions in M.Fae's stories.
Hauf Fun, Hale Earnest (A/B) - Cally Donia
Ah, now this one's a nice treat for us A/B fans who were getting a bit
depressed at the gloom and the decidedly-nasty Blake in the previous
stories. As the title implies, this story starts out jokey and ends up
romantic. The crew go to a planet with a very Scottish culture,
expecting to have to make political speeches, but they end up having a
party instead. Nice description of Avon looking absolutely gorgeous in
full Highland ceremonial rig-out. Lovely seduction scene.
e who Laughs Last (A/V - sort of) - B. Sassenach
This one seems to be meant in black humour rather than a serious
attempt to be convincing. Guess who was a Federation spy and an Alpha
all along, cunningly disguised... Neither nice nor convincing, but
it's an interesting idea... The first in a section entitled And Sundry
Other Bastards, i.e. the writers are having fun inventing a character
who is Even More Of a Bastard than Avon!
Appearances (A/V) - Morgan & O'Cullane
Blake rushes into Avon's room to save Vila, who is apparently being
beaten and raped. However, appearances can be deceptive. Can Avon and
Vila convince Blake that what he saw wasn't the real truth before
Blake drops Avon on a deserted planet in disgust? I think this one is
misfiled in this section - there are no real villains in it.
The Price to Pay (A/"Brodie") - M.Fae Glasgow
I think this is a crossover but am not sure (have seen little Pros
slash and none of the series). However, as the character is called
"Andru Brodie", has intense blue eyes and calls Avon "sunshine", it
probably is an AU Pros crossover. A nicely nasty little piece, anyway.
Avon picks up this character in a brothel and finds he's a bit too
much to handle. The end scene, where Blake teleports down to get Avon,
is one of the best bits in the whole 'zine. M.Fae can do Avon being
Horribly Embarrassed better than anybody else I have yet discovered
(see also the Delta Dome episode in Ob IV for wince-making laughter).
You're It (A Game of Tag part 1) (A/B) - Caroline Dare
A change of pace. After the "bastards" section, which was heavy in
parts, we get to the traditional "gratuitous sex" section in the
middle of an Oblaque (probably on the principle that after all that
angst it's just what the reader needs). The middle part of a nice PWP
series in which Avon, Blake and Vila go off on shore-leave for a few
hours of al fresco s/m. I like the way she implies that there is real
affection under all the rough play (they're trying to be convincingly
cruel without actually hurting each other). Any slash fans who turn on
to the idea of Avon getting all ruffled and dirty and being forced to
beg for sexual pleasure will find this one fairly hot.
A Complete Balls-Up (A/V) - Gael X. Ile
A PWP with a fairly obvious idea, but none the worse for that. Avon
puts his back out when he's having sex with Vila and they have to discover
how to get out of that position, preferably without either making it worse
or having to ask Cally to come and disentangle them. Good irritably-funny
dialogue and jokey ending.
Hell (A/B) - Adrian Alexander
The start of the more romantic section of the 'zine. A short vignette.
Blake and Avon are on a horribly hot planet (a certain fellow-feeling
here; summer has come to blight my existence, too early as usual....)
and Blake can't sleep, but is standing admiring Avon and wondering if
he dares do anything.
In the Beginning (A/V) - Edi N. Burgh
A nice sweet one, this. Avon and Vila decide on a casual no-strings
"arrangement", but find more affection and fun than either expected.
Lament (A/V) - Cally Donia
Can't tell you the idea of this one without ruining it for everyone.
Lovely story, anyway.
ReOrbit: The Second Coming - M.Fae Glasgow
The Editor said M.Fae was "blackmailed" into providing a happy ending
for the doom-and-gloom ReOrbit stories. M.Fae said this story was so
sweet it should come with extra toothpaste. I think it would be too
sweet on its own, but it's just right if you're feeling agonised from
having read the two first stories. But then I like darkish slash which
manages to pull off a happy ending Against All The Odds. Slash is
about doing the impossible, anyway.
The Warm Patch (A/B) - Adrian Alexander
Out of the romance section. This one is fairly agonised. Blake is
trying to convince Avon to take the risk of love, but even love and
sex can't quite convince him - and he hits back when threatened.
Slight hurt/comfort aspect.
The Room (A/B) - M.Fae Glasgow
Much more distant/isolated in tone than M.Fae's usual style. No
dialogue. The idea is that Blake & Avon go to an isolated room and
have sex every so often, but Avon refuses to submit to Blake's desire
for love. This satisfies their immediate sexual desire, but does
nothing to fulfil any of their other needs.
Something to Live For (A/B) - Morgan & O'Cullane
A PGP (traditional It Was The Clone style) where both Blake and Avon
believe the other one is dead. Gloom at the beginning but a happy
ending with a new ship and several new recruits. I would really like
it, but I think it's trying to do too much at once, so it ends up
The Ties That Bind (A/V) - L.A. Scotia
Cheerful little PWP. The crew are getting irritated with Vila's
boasting that he's better as a thief than Tarrant as a pilot or even
Avon as a computer expert. Avon dares Vila into a bet - and finally
comes up with an interesting lock for him to pick.
For A' That (A/V at least in this episode) - M.Fae Glasgow
The second installment of the Dome Cycle. AU plot where Avon takes
cover with Vila and Vila's family in the Delta Dome. I love this
sequence. The lovingly-crafted social backgrounds between the Deltas
and the Alphas are wonderful. I also like the idea that Vila is the
one who knows what he's doing and Avon is tagging along. Too many bad
A/V stories just have Vila needy & vulnerable while Avon isn't, and
you end up with a gay version of an Alpha-male (!) wounded-hero
romance novel. M.Fae is doing a good job of convincing me that the
Avon/Vila dynamic is more complicated than having all the power on
Hope this review is of some help to new fans trying to decide what to
go for first. People usually either really like Oblaque or really hate
Footnote from Judith. I enjoy Oblaque greatly, but I would not recommend it
for a first slash read. It is extremely explicit, frequently bleak, and
would probably come as too much of a shock to a first time slash reader.
Try something milder first, then you'll be ready to enjoy Oblaque to the
full if you find that you want something stronger (not everyone does).
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