I found a heavy tumblergenuine glass, not plasspoured a generous measure and carried it across to Avon, lapping my hand over his to fold it round the tumbler. He flinched at the touch, disposed of the whisky in one long swallow and hurled the tumbler at the wall, where it exploded in a nova of diamond shards.
"Feeling better now?" I asked.
"Not noticeably," he said. "Would you mind explaining how you returned from the dead?"
(Years after Gauda Prime, Blake embarks on a mission to buy arms, and discovers the identity of the company director - Kerr Avon.)
HALF A LOAF by Linda Norman
"Leave me alone."
Avon collapsed like a broken doll against the black wall. He wiped his mouth and his burning eyes on his sleeve.
"It's over, Blake," he rasped. "All of it." Let it all finish here in the dark, the revolution, and the love, and the murder. It was all Blake's fault anyway; Blake the idealist, Blake the freedom-fighter, Blake the bloody fool who had reduced Avon to this.
Blake knelt now on the wet ground, held at bay by Avon's wounded, angry stare. Two alpha males locked in silent combat, with love and hate and rage shimmering between them.
(This story is set five years before Cygnus Alpha...)
OUTLAWS AND IN-LAWS by Nova
Avon's father turned and ran his eyes across Blake, with an impersonal force that left him feeling as if he'd been stripped naked. "So you're still a pervert, Kerr," he commented.... He dumped a reader unit on the table and sat down, dismissing Blake from his notice, although seconds later his head jerked up and his eyes flared in hostile recognition. Avon smiled like a chess player who'd scored a point during a hard-fought game. He strolled back to Blake's side and leaned against him, more demonstrative than he'd even been on Liberator.
"Mother and Father, I'd like to present Roj Blake," he drawled. (An A/U that peels off after "The Web". Avon meets Blake's parents - ardent revolutionaries who perhaps aren't revolutionary enough when it comes to their son's personal relationships. Then Avon returns the favor, introducing Blake to his father - the man who presided over the destruction of the Freedom Party.)
GROUNDHOG LAY by Predatrix (Avon is caught in a temporal vortex, forced to repeat the same day over and over again until he "gets it right".)
PLAYTIME by Julia Stamford (The Liberator crew gets Avon a birthday present)
STRICT PROTEIN DIET by Predatrix (Some mutoids are programmed just for sex)
AS EASY AS FALLING OFF A BIKE and HOT TUB by Helen Patrick (even rebels need relaxation)
SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS by Predatrix and Helen Patrick (Avon shows up in Blakes bedroom for more than conversation)
THREE'S A CROWD by Julia Stamford (Avon, Blake...and Zen???)
STUFF AND NONSENSE, OR L'AUSTEN SPACE and PERSUASION by Executrix (a Jane Austen pastiche)
NIGHT BLAKE, DAY BLAKE by Amethyst Lane (Avon and Blake have to prepare for a mission to a hedonistic planet)
BLACK LEATHER ROSE by Julia Stamford (Blake's gift to Avon has long-lasting implications)
THE OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN by Willa Shakespeare, The Bawd of Avon (even the afterlife is no match for a determined rebel)
THINGS WE SAID TODAY by Hafren (Can honesty build trust?)
Art by Val Westall, photo art by Pat Fenech
OK, here goes. Will try to not actually give away anything which would ruin the pleasure, also, if I don't go for something, to try and work out if that's because I didn't think it was written right or just that the author's take on the characters isn't mine. Everything IMO, no offence, naturally.
classy, with a pretty front cover which makes A look awfully young. There are a few typos but nothing too major (except one thing which actually works so well I wondered if it was intentional).
The art inside is also fine, as art. Some of it did take me by surprise, because like an idiot it hadn't occurred to me that a zine with all-adult verbal content would also have adult art. Why I should have been taken aback by pictures of thingies I can't think, it isn't like I never saw one in RL. I feel daft about it and no doubt it sounds daft to anyone who isn't such a novice with paper zines, but in case there are more novices out there they might want to be prepared I did get used to it, once I persuaded myself it was all right to look.
The stories: some I knew from the mailing list or elsewhere, many I didn't, nor their authors.
Half a Loaf: Linda Norman
I go along with her seeing Avon with masochistic leanings, though I'm not sure he would actually be selfish enough to con Blake into playing BDSM games which he knows upset the man. For the life of me I can't see him agonising about having shot a Fed trooper in self-defence, even if the guy was fairly young and innocent. Our Kerr, give it a second thought? I quite like the purple prose, though the last sentence jumps up and down saying "I'm a cliche!" But one cannot quarrel too much with any story that has Avon bound to a wrought-iron gate and whipped, now can one? The gate is beautifully, and very erotically, described.
Groundhog Lay: Predatrix
Oh, this is a gem! Very difficult to describe without saying too much, but as the title indicates, Avon is trapped in a time loop, escape from which seems to involve shagging his way through the crew now there's a surprise. But it turns out to be more complicated than that because he also has to find out what he really, really wants. Meanwhile he has given Zen a personality transplant It sounds, and is, funny, but it's something more than that. Liberator isn't a funny place, and humour can sound untrue to the characters, but in Pred's stories they always stay themselves.
I don't know if it's just my copy, but the last page of this was bound twice and for one glorious moment I thought the plot had come true and I'd be re-reading this story for ever
Playtime: Julia Stamford
In which Avon gets his teddy bear; which the crew give him because it's Blake's birthday and they hope it'll amuse Avon enough to make him be nice to Blake all day. This is an unashamed PWP. There's some nice understatement in it, especially early on, where Avon's feelings are hinted at rather than stated.
Strict Protein Diet: Predatrix
This was originally going to be for "I,Mutoid" but missed the deadline. The mutoid is a "private unit" created to give sexual pleasure: Vila gives it to Avon as a present (and the only thing I really object to in this whole story is the notion that Vila can't spell "happy birthday"). Again what sounds funny has a serious side; the mutoid has feelings and this is a story about the moral issues of science and slavery rather than who's sleeping with whom. (But they are. Often.)
As Easy as Falling Off a Bike: Helen Patrick
Hot Tub: Helen Patrick
Well, they go together; the one is a sequel to the other. Premise is that Avon keeps flirting and then backing off (well, that's practically canon) because he's worried that Blake won't be able to respond. On the Gan analogy, he assumes someone convicted of the charges against Blake will have been conditioned so they can't repeat the offence good point, I thought. In the first story, the pretext for Getting Avon's Clothes Off is a visit to a planet where they have to ride a long way on obsolete bicycles. Blake isn't new to them but Avon is, and is in agony next day I can sympathise.
In the second, Blake has got Zen to modify his bath somewhat and they're having this leisurely jacuzzi together. The tension comes from neither being completely sure whether Blake's conditioning can be broken.
Conversion to the Faith: Helen Patrick
One-page fragment for Valentine's. Fun for chocoholics and a nice bittersweet twist in the last sentence.
Sleeping Arrangements: Predatrix and Helen Patrick
Avon moves cabins to be next door to Blake, but exactly why doesn't become clear until three in the morning. Good dialogue for both of them. One thing though how exactly can Zen "create a duvet"? I can never see this; it's a machine, it hasn't got any arms.
Three's a Crowd: Julia Stamford
And the third is Zen. PWP, fun, in character for both.
In the Night: Julia Stamford
Blake having nightmares about being interrogated and Avon being unexpectedly but not unbelievably understanding of Blake's need to feel in control of someone. I liked this.
Stuff and Nonsense: Executrix
This is a star. Execuverse meets Jane Austen, and God, it's funny. Perfect parody but more; when Blake and Avon are being Elizabeth and Darcy (and they take it in turns) they come out with Austen dialogue that suddenly sounds exactly right for *them*. How does she do that?
The sequel, but much darker and sadder. Well, this is B7 after all. Lovely writing.
Night Blake, Day Blake: Amethyst Lane
PGP: variant on the "Blake and Avon go to odd planet with strange rituals". But this one has them in spades; everyone has to be young and attractive, which means hair dye and diets, they also go in for tattoos and piercings and weird clobber. This felt like a PWP with a lot of plot attached, it's just all unnecessary. A long way through, Blake says "what a waste this trip has been" and you'd have to agree. Also Avon sounds a bit transatlantic sometimes which is a turn-off for some, if not for others.
Black Leather Rose: Julia Stamford
Quite sweet little seduction scene followed by a coda which would be the promise of a happy ending if we didn't all know what was coming next Very B7 in that way.
Pecking Order: Helen Patrick
Post, "City" vignette. Since I like Avon, Cally and Vila a whole lot more than Tarrant and Dayna, I should really like this better, given that T and D come out of it looking a bit daft. But it didn't do too much for me I must be going soft
The Other Side of Heaven: Willa Shakespeare
Knew this from FC; loved it there too. PGP; Avon and Blake trying to find somewhere heaven, hell to be happy in. They're really them in this, and there are a lot of wonderful cameos for minor characters too.
Things We Said Today: Hafren
Can't comment on that, obviously, though I will say there's a very pretty illo after it two faces, which though they look like Blake and Avon are also reminiscent of Lennon and McCartney (the shadows help).
Time and Fevers: Nova
PGP, a long time after. There's something very touching about the fact that Avon and Blake aren't young any more, and that they still seem beautiful to each other. Very haunting. Query; would Blake have liked Auden's love poem so much if he'd known it was addressed to a 14-year-old?
Outlaws and In-laws: Nova
AU, based on the other theory of relativity relatives are OK if you keep them at a distance, preferably half a galaxy. It's about coming to terms with one's past. In the first half Blake introduces Avon to his parents, as his lover, only to find that his mum is homophobic, at least when it comes to her son and her missing grandchildren. He has to try to make her see that Avon is what he needs. Then Avon feels a need to reciprocate. The story gets far darker here, as the Family Avon is spectacularly dysfunctional and some quite upsetting things happen. Dark, strong, with a lot in it apart from the sex.
In fact I don't think you'd have to be a rabid RA/BSH to enjoy a lot of what's in here though it would certainly help!
Linda Norman, "Half a Loaf" (S0; A/B; 3 pp.)
Predatrix, "Ground Hog Lay" (S2; A/V, A/C, A/G, A/J, A/B; humor; 23 pp.)
Julia Stamford, "Playtime" (S1; A/B; 5 pp.)
Predatrix, "Strict Protein Diet" (S2; A/B, A/ocm, V/ocm; 22 pp.)
Helen Patrick, "As Easy as Falling Off a Bike" (S1; A/B; 8 pp.)
Helen Patrick, "Hot Tub" (sequel to "As Easy as Falling Off a Bike;" S1; A/B; 7 pp.)
Helen Patrick, "Conversion to the Faith" (S1 or S2; A/B; 1 p.)
Predatrix and Helen Patrick, "Sleeping Arrangements" (S1; A/B; 7 pp.)
Julia Stamford, "Three's a Crowd" (S1; A/B/Z; 7 pp.)
Julia Stamford, "In the Night" (S1; A/B; 3 pp.)
Executrix, "Stuff and Nonsense" (Jane Austen pastiche; AU S1; B/Nova, Nova/Zelda, Zelda/ocm, A/B, implied C/V; 10 pp.)
Executrix, "Persuasion" (sequel to "Stuff and Nonsense;" Jane Austen pastiche; AU S1; A/A-clone/B, uc A/J; 6 pp.)
Amethyst Lane, "Night Blake, Day Blake" (S5; A/B; 19 pp.)
Julia Stamford, "Black Leather Rose" (S1, S4; A/B; 7 pp.)
Helen Patrick, "Pecking Order" (S3; implied past A/B; 2 pp.)
Willa Shakespeare, "The Other Side of Heaven" (S5; A/B; 10 pp.)
Hafren, "Things We Said Today" (S2; A/B; 4 pp.)
Nova, "Time and Fevers" (S5; A/B, D/So; 14 pp.)
Nova, "Outlaws and In-laws" (alt-S2; A/B; 35 pp.)
Susan Sicafoosh, "Rest Easy" (S2?: A-B)
Val Westall cover A/B, color
p. [iii] A/B, color
p. 2 A
p. 27 A/B
p. 78 A/B
p. 89 A/B
pp. 132-6 portfolio, A/B, A
p. 148 illo for "Other Side"
Pat Fenech, A/B photo montages, pp. 33, 85, 88, 124, 138, 153, 167, 203, 204
Back to Fanzines
Back to Blake's 7 Index Last updated on 21st of December 2007.