Anya Kalashnikov, "Panacaea" (A/B)
Riley Cannon, "Slings and Eros" (A/B)
Alicia Ann Fox, "Sweeping the Ashes" (gen)
Nina Boal, "Blood Rose" (B/"Ray" [Doyle])
Philippa Kaye Walther, "Tying Up Loose Ends" (gen; sequel
to Sandy Hall, The World Turned Upside Down)
xBryn Lantry, "Mender of Bad Souls" (A/B)
Emily Ross, "Nor Iron Bars a Cage" (gen)
Melissa Mastoris, "Fragments" (gen)
Jane Mailander, "Blake" (f, based on "Belle" from WD B & B; gen)
Emily Ross, "Mindfire" ("A Tribute to EPT's Delightful Novel;" A/B)
Melissa Mastoris, "Refusal" and "'I Have Always Trusted You'" (gen)
Suzan Lovett front cover nude B & unicorn
Randym p. 6 cartoon illo for "Blake"
p. 78 illo for "Mender"
Todd Parish p. 11 A
p. 19 nude B
p. 44 Ta
EClaire p. 15 V
p. 22 A & B
p. 86 B
St. Alia of the Knife p. 82 A; illo for "Nor Iron Bars"
Jane Mailander back cover cartoon, Rocky & Bullwinkle
plus assorted clip art of William Blake paintings
Catherine, "Snake Pit" (A/B)
Irish, "Sticks and Stones" (A/B)
Isis, "Sex, Lies, and Revolutionaries" (Ta/V, A/B)
Jean B. Hubb, "An Evening with Friends" (gen)
Willa Shakespeare, "Serpents in Paradise" (A/B)
Leah Starsky, "Eternity" (A/B)
Leah Starsky, "It Don't Come Easy" (A/B; sequel to Eternity)
Riley Cannon, "B/A/Ts" (A/B/T)
Arianne, "Thin Partitions" (A/B)
Arianne, "A Confusion of Enemies" (A/B; sequel to Thin Partitions)
Isis, "My Heart Leaps Up" (A/B)
Jane Mailander, "The Top Ten Nicknames for Roj Blake" (gen)
Jane Mailander, "The Top Ten Things Roj Blake Can Do to Be Taken More Seriously" (gen)
Jane Mailander, "Hic Habeat Draconis" (gen)
Emily Ross, "Oneiromancy" (A/B)
Catherine, "Blake's Thunder" (A/B)
Suzan Lovett front cover B & snake
Jane Mailander p. 6 cartoon
back cover cartoon
EClaire p. 18 C
p. 25 V
p. 28 T
p. 29 Se
p. 44 B
p. 47 A
Jean C. Hubb p. 35 illo for "Eve. w/
Randym p. 90 illo for "Thin
p. 94 illo for "A Confusion"
plus assorted clip art of William Blake paintings
These two, companion pieces featuring stories centring on Blake (or at least Blake *and* someone, usually - surprise! - Avon) are very similar in look and to a great extent in feel. Both have *gorgeous* Suzann Lovett covers, Innocence with Blake sleeping with a unicorn, Experience with him fighting some sort of serpent (with the Liberator in the background). She does draw Blake wonderfully, and these are two of the best covers I've seen. Insde there are a few pictures by Randym (not to my taste) and a lot of William Blake woodcuts (very much *to* my taste).
The stories are a mixed bag. Songs of Innocence is generally overall, but it does have one jewel in 'Mender of Bad Souls' by xBryn Lantry. This is my second-favourite Blake story of all (the absolute favourite being the sequel from Fire & Ice II) - PGP, badly damaged, dangerous, despairing - and bloody wonderful...Avon is also battered, ambiguous and quite breathtaking. Be warned, though - it's for B/A fans, no other character else gets a more than a glance. And her writing is fairly stylised, and probably not to everyone's taste.
'Slings and Eros' meanders over 22 pages, with Our Heroes captured by Travis, escaping, then finding themselves in a lost underground civilisation, and ends up in the air with an obvious sequel planned (whether written, I don't know). The relationship between Blake and Avon is rudimentary to say the least, and I couldn't get into the plot, so I had a hard time with it. 'Panacea' was fairly good *if* you can swallow the premise that Blake (thanks to the ever-convenient midwipe) is a total sexual innocent; 'Tying Up Loose Ends' struck me as rather pointless; 'Nor Iron Bars a Cage' tries a little too hard to be ambiguous (a PGP with Avon either insane and imagining Blake has come back for him, or maybe not...).
Not all of the stories are B/A. 'Blood Rose' is (I think?) something of a Professionals cross-over, which holds no interest for me, but has some good writing. 'Sweeping the Ashes' is a Blake-only story - nothing wrong with that and the idea is good, but the original characters are rather dull.
In Songs of Experience, the general quality is somwehat higher, though there is nothing anywhere near as good as the xBryn Lantry story. One each by Irish and Willa Shakespeare, both of whom have written very good stories elsewhere; these are both uneven efforts with some good patches. Irish's 'Sticks and Stones' is more a series of sketchy scenes than a stories, though some of the scenes are good in themselves. In Willa's 'Serpents in Paradise', the plot is to me quite unbelievable, and seems to lurch from potential tragedy to something perilously close to comic farce; the dialogue, usually a strong point, is patchy but usually fun to read and mostly (if not always) in character, and she can write genuinely Avonish (and funny!) one-liners, for which I am always grateful.
There's two linked pairs of PGP stories, one by Leah Starsky, slightly static dialogue pieces but quite well done, and another pair, longer and more rambling, by Arianne; also a thankfully short, brisk and quite entertaining Blake/Avon/Tarrant piece with a neat little coda in Vila's voice, and several others that did very little for me. And one, 'Sex, Lies and Revolutionaries', that I actively hated, not so much for the Blake/Avon central plot, but the cold and rather vacuous portrayal of both Vila and Tarrant (the second pair of lovers).
Last updated on 02nd of June 2001.
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