There's a lot of nude art in this one, far more than is usual for Fire and Ice.
Writers include Amethyst Lane, January Garnet, Willa Shakespeare, Nova, Julia Stamford, Predatrix, Helen Patrick, Belatrix Carter, Carrie Vonne, Linda Norman, Ravenschild, and Vanessa Mullen.
If I have any complaint about the zine, it's to do with the order in which the stories are presented... Several of the stories deal (in whole or in part) with very similar themes: for instance there are several stories that feature Blake angsting about the child-abuse charges and wondering if he might actually be capable of such a thing, and several stories (some of them the same ones) in which Avon's been the victim of prison rape and is angsting about *that*. And, unfortunately, those stories are clustered together at the beginning of the zine, in a way that makes things start to feel a bit repetitive after a while. It would have been a better idea, I think, to have spread them out more. But that's a pretty minor complaint. (I get the feeling that maybe there was some attempt to order the stories by tone: the first few at the beginning of the zine generally feature positive, fairly conflict-free A/B relationships with optimistic endings, and the proportion of darker stories gets higher as you get towards the end of the zine. I might suggest skipping around, if you like variety.)
On to the stories, themselves:
"A Dangerous Concept" by Nova: Avon is captured and held in a state of sensory deprivation, where, in an attempt to stay sane, he conjures up a detailed fantasy world in which he and Blake are lovers. It's an interesting idea, and handled more believably than I would have expected. And I *really* liked the dynamics between Avon and his dream-Blake, and how they carried over into his relationship with the real thing.
"A Friend in Need..." by Julia Stamford: Blake is worried about the child-abuse charges, and Avon undertakes to prove to him that it's definitely not children Blake's interested in. There's some interesting discussion around this issue, but overall this one just didn't engage me all that much. Maybe it's just that there's no actual sex in it. :)
"...Is a Friend Indeed" by Julia Stamford (follow-up to "A Friend in Need"): Now, *this* one I definitely liked. An exhausted Avon celebrates the completion of a difficult computer project by saying "Oh, what the hell" and going to bed with Blake. The sex felt very realistic (right down to Avon being so wiped out he nearly falls asleep in the middle), and I like that a *lot*.
"Rhetorical Questions" by Predatrix: Oh, no, Avon's been drugged and is about to be raped, and Blake has to charge in to rescue him. Except the situation isn't *quite* what Blake thinks it is... This is another one with a really good sex scene. My goodness, they actually *talk* to each other about what they're doing, the way you'd expect people having sex for the first time to do! And I love Avon's attitude, subverting as he does all the usual expectations about what constitutes being the "submissive" vs. the "dominant" partner.
"Mastery" by Willa Shakespeare: After "Voice from the Past," Avon discovers that Blake isn't the only one whose mind has been tampered with. Did he and Blake actually know each other before the _London_? And, oh, my, did they really do *that*? I generally tend to dislike stories that postulate that they knew each other in the past, as normally I just find it impossible to buy. This one worked for me much better than most, though, even if there were one or two plot points that required a fair amount of suspension-of-disbelief. The character dynamics were complex and well done, and that is, of course, the important thing. And it was fascinating watching the various layers of their relationship being peeled back. What's the real them? What was programmed? Can they make their relationship be what it *should* be and prevent the tragedy that otherwise lies in their future? Interesting stuff.
"Window Shopping" by Helen Patrick: I'm a little surprised to find this story in here, because, although there's a definite A/B element, it's primarily a Jenna/ocf story. It's a good, well-written Jenna/ocf story, but, to be honest, f/f doesn't generally do all that much for me, so I'm a little sorry there wasn't more focus on the A/B.
"Glorious Smut" by Vanessa Mullen: An amusing little filk about "glorious smut!" I liked it.
"To the Victor" by Amethyst Lane: It's apparently some years PGP, and Avon has just defeated Blake in the post-Federation government's presidential election. Blake makes his concession, and, while it might be oral, it ain't exactly a speech... I must admit, "President Avon" has a certain ring to it, but overall this one didn't do a whole lot for me, as I didn't find either the sex or the politics all that believable. But then, I often find that I'm not terribly keen on after-the-revolution Blake-as-politician stories.
"The Biter Bit" by Nova: An amusing variation on your standard aphrodisiac story. I found this one thoroughly enjoyable: great sex, great character interaction, and a great twist or two on the cliché. And yet another optimistic ending that I can actually find believable. (Happy endings, particularly A/B happy endings, don't generally feel quite natural to me for B7...)
"'Hostage' Situations" by Belatrix Carter: Well, I wrote this one, so I certainly can't comment on it objectively. :) If you were on this list (or rather, the Space City list) for the '99 Labor Day party, you've already seen it, anyway.
"None So Blind" by Carrie Vonne: Now, talk about *dark*... <Shudder> This one's about as dark as you can get. Very disturbing. Very... *yucky*. Very *deliberately* yucky. Warning to Blake fans: this one portrays Blake as, frankly, downright psychotic. I don't buy it at all on a literal level, not even as an AU (which it certainly is), but as a metaphor for the darker aspects of Blake's nature, and of the relationship between Blake and Avon, it's tremendously effective.
"Desire" by Linda Norman: Very short story about Avon and his... demon lover? Another one that's not exactly believable on a literal level, but works very nicely as a metaphor. Well written.
"Desire" by Ravenschild: Another very short piece, this one made up entirely of dialog between Avon and... well, something supernatural, apparently. I was a bit confused by this one, actually, primarily because I'm not entirely sure whether it's meant to go with the previous piece or not.
"The I-Lab of Doctor Moro" by Willa Shakespeare: B7 meets _The Island of Dr. Moreau_ (in reverse), as Blake and Avon are held captive by an insane scientist who enjoys turning people into animals. This one's a weird mixture of humor (bits of it are *extremely* funny), horror (there's a fairly nasty rape scene, for example), sex (of course), character-based drama, and just plain weirdness. It shouldn't work, but it *does*, and I enjoyed it a lot.
"Midnight Blue" by Linda Norman: A dark and bittersweet sex scene in the wilderness of a distant planet. Well written and atmospheric, sexy and sad.
"And They Lived Happily Ever After?" by January Garnet: Another after-the-revolution political-Blake story, but I liked this one rather better than "To the Victor." I may not quite be able to buy the possibility of Avon and Blake living together in PGP domestic harmony, but it is a nice thought, and they're still quite recognizably *themselves* here and it certainly doesn't get treacly.
"Why I Can't Stand Vila Restal" by Nova: Vila steals Avon's Blake-substitute for the night, so he has to content himself with the real thing, after all. Another nice, happy story in which Blake and Avon have great sex followed by confessions of love and much hope for the future. Personally, I don't ever think it'd be quite that easy for them (a sentiment I find coming to mind regarding several stories in this volume), but what the heck, I enjoyed it a lot, anyway.
"Black Velvet Band" by Vanessa Mullen: A filk about the joys of tying Avon up with velvet rope. *Very* nice.
"Touching Life" by Vanessa Mullen: It's over a decade PGP, and Avon has gone over to the dark side. What will he do when he encounters the man he thought he'd killed? How far will he go to keep the power and safety he now enjoys? Very dark, heartbreakingly painful, and all too easy to believe. This one really wrenched at my emotions. I would have ended it differently, I think, but that's just a matter of where my personal preference for angst-levels is set, and I suspect I may be in the minority there. It's a very good story, regardless.
I should have guessed. It caught me on the hop.
I thought of blood or agony or hate.
Not of his taking off his clothes to--stop
And illustrate a talk, and contemplate.
Putting the clothes back on, he touched Blake's face,
Blake touched his arm. A start. Or perhaps an end.
If rapes in mind or body leave a trace,
If they can't find each other more than friend.
B pities A -- for being really raped.
A pities B -- not knowing false or real.
Both think the other suffered, not escaped
Past wounds, and they themselves don't need to heal.
What next, if anything? Is that the end
Of sonnet, story? Do I dare press "Send"?
Nova, "A Dangerous Concept" (13 pp.; S1?; A/B)
Julia Stamford, "A Friend in Need..." (6 pp.; S1?; uc A/B)
Julia Stamford, "...Is a Friend Indeed" (9 pp.; sequel to "A Friend in Need;" S1?; A/B)
Predatrix, "Rhetorical Questions" (12 pp.; S2; uc A/ocms, A/B)
Willa Shakespeare, "Mastery" (41 pp.; S2, post-Voice; A/B)
Helen Patrick, "Window Shopping" (7 pp.; S1?; uc B/J, uc A/J, J/ocf, implied future C/J, implied future A/B)
Amethyst Lane, "To the Victor"(8 pp.; S5; A/B)
Nova, "The Biter Bit" (13 pp.; S1?; A/B)
Belatrix Carter, "'Hostage' Situations" (9 pp.; S2, post-Hostage; A/B)
Carrie Vonne, "None So Blind" (5 pp.; alt-S2; A/B)
Linda Norman, "Desire" (1 p.; S1?; A/ocm, uc A/B)
Ravenschild, "Desire" (1 p.; S1?; A/oc)
Willa Shakespeare, "The I-Lab of Dr. Moro" (31 pp.; S2; A/ocms, A/B)
Linda Norman, "Midnight Blue" (8 pp.; S2; A/B)
January Garnet, "And They Lived Happily Ever After?" (6 pp.; S5; A/B)
Nova, "Why I Can't Stand Vila Restal" (6 pp.; S2; A/B)
Vanessa Mullen, "Touching Life" (19 pp.; S5; A/Se, A/B)
Vanessa Mullen, "Glorious Smut" (f, The Hippopotamus song, aka Mud, Glorious Mud)
Vanessa Mullen, "Black Velvet Band" (f)
Art, all by Val Westall:
p. [iii] A/B
p. 25 nude A
p. 34 nude A
p. 40 A/B (explicit)
between pp. 90-91 Art Portfolio (8 pp., nude A)
p. 116 A/B (faces)
p. 122 A/B
p. 128 nude A (bondage)
p. 130 A/ocm (illo for Norman, "Desire")
p. 168 A/B
p. 171 A/B
p. 177 nude A
p. 186 A-B (illo for "Touching Life")
Back to Fanzines
Back to Blake's 7 Index Last updated on 21st of December 2007.