The Logic of Empire

Tape Cover

Art Work

The tape is sold out.

Review by Sandy

I haven't seen a review of Logic of Empire so here it is. This is a fan produced audio tape made by the same people who did "Mark of Kane". If you liked that one you will not be disappointed with the followup.

This tape is set 7 years after Gauda Prime and features Paul Darrow as Avon, Jackie Pearce as Servalan and cameos from Peter Tuddenham as Slave and Orac as well as Gareth Thomas as Blake.

This is written by fans for fans and as such has tremendous attention to detail. Avon sounds like Avon. Both from the script and from the actor. In this episode Avon says exactly what is necessary and nothing extra. As well Darrow has his Avon voice firmly in and under control. As an aside his 2nd season Avon voice is also there- in a flashback dream sequence with Blake showing that he is capable of doing another radio play in any series from 1-4.

I wont give the plot away but deals with Avon, the sole survivor of Gauda Prime now a moral arms dealer and a resistance group who want him to do a small service for them. Betrayal is the name of the game but by whom and the reasons why are what makes this storyline interesting.

What I like about this production was what I like about the series as a whole. The Avon one-liners, the relationships between the characters and the twist at the end. Though I will admit the ending was very much like a story I first read on the Internet a couple of years ago.

If you didn't like the Dr Who-like adventure of Sevenfold Crown this may be more to your liking. I did like the little warning on the tape- "Unauthorised copying ... etc strictly prohibited or Avon will shoot you down like a dog"

All tapes are now signed by Paul Darrow.

Judith's Comments

PS from Judith. I intend to write a longer review when I have a spare minute. In a nutshell, I agree with Sandy - Avon is very well acted with good direction making Avon more subtle than in The Sevenfold Crown. The dialogue is excellent, showing the writer's long familiarity with the characters. There are some weak points in the plot structure. Of the sample of three people that I've asked so far (including Sandy) none have worked out one of the important strands of the plot. I didn't see it myself until Alan told me how it worked.

I do recommend Logic of Empire though - it's better than the Sevenfold Crown.

It has its weaknesses, but the strengths more than compensate.

Alan and I have different views on the backstory to 'Logic of Empire'. Seems only fair to let Alan tell you his views on the subject, so here they are.

Alan Stevens' Comments

Three years ago Judith and I had a rather confused telephone conversation about The Logic of Empire. This left Judith going away under the misapprehension that the text story Premature Burial, that appeared in Horizon issue 38, is essential to the basic understanding of the story. It isn't, and this is why:

The explanation as to how Avon survived the shoot-out on Gauda Prime is not an important strand of the plot and is meant to be obscure. The idea of a character coming back from the dead is a powerful one and quite a number of films (High Plains Drifter, Point Blank, The Crow, Halloween) and television programmes (Doctor Who, Edge of Darkness, Pennies from Heaven, Babylon 5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) have used it to great effect. Very rarely is any explanation given as to how these characters overcame death, and if there is, it's usually meaningless. Like Rotten to the Core, that appeared in Zenith, the text story Premature Burial is not remotely integral to the understanding of The Logic of Empire. True, it tells you that Avon survived because Dorian's "Room" saved him, but really, if you give it some thought, this isn't telling you anything at all. How exactly does the room save him, and why? No answer is provided. Premature Burial is just the replacement of one enigma with another.

As for any "hidden clues" that appear in The Logic of Empire and which seem to tie-in with Premature Burial - All of them either have an alternative explanation (Avon's appearance in "The Room" with the Blake spectre is, after all, part of a nightmare), or are so ambiguous, they could mean absolutely anything. The main idea was to set up an air of mystery. In the story Avon is haunted, but by what? A ghost, a guilty conscience, a paranoid delusion, or all three? Most people who listen to The Logic of Empire just accept that Avon came back, others who feel that they need an explanation find their own, or are sometimes lead, via the text story, to "The Room".

The truth is that Avon's survival is due only to one thing. The stroke of the author's pen.

In the end, it's all an illusion...

Review By Jackie Speel

This is one of three audiotapes produced by Kaldor City (the others being 'Travis: the Final Act', and 'The Mark of Kane'), and the transcript of which has recently been put on the Kaldor City site.

Perhaps the best line in the story is 'Never ask a man with a spade where he's been.'

No doubt if this was a written story more detail would be given - such as how Avon comes to know Elise, and comparisons between his relationship with her and with Anna Grant. Technical limits of the recording meant that some of the plot details have to be deduced by the listener/reader.

The timeline may be slightly confusing at first glance: the story starts with a scene immediately preceding the beginning of 'Blake', and then, for the most part, narrates events some seven years later, with an episode that is dreamt or remembered from Series 2. The story, quite logically, ends on Gauda Prime 'some time later' with an unexpected - if slightly implausible - plot twist which takes place as 'her Imperial Majesty' is about to visit the planet.

The main storyline is that Avon has become a gunrunner and supplier of materials to the rebels and other opponents of the Federation. He has agreed to meet and supply a trio of rebels - but one of their number is working for Servalan, who has her own plans for Avon...

I quite enjoyed the story, and its twist in the tail is intriguing, but have some quibbles. The dating appears to be slightly confusing. 'Logic' is set seven years after 'Blake', but one of the characters states that Avon worked with Blake twelve years before - which would mean that Series 3 and 4 occupy some five years between them. It would have been interesting to know what population increase lies behind the apparent construction of a dome on Gauda Prime.

Perhaps the most fundamental flaws involve the Servalan-Avon encounter and the twist in the tale.

Servalan tells Avon as far as the Federation is officially concerned Blake is still on Cygnus Alpha. However this is contradicted both by the series and within 'Logic of Empire' itself.

In Seek-Locate-Destroy Bercol says: 'My department has done all in its power to suppress information about Blake and his actions -- there is a total blackout on all reports concerning him - but still the stories get out. They spread by word of mouth, by whispers, by rumour; each time the story is told it is elaborated upon. Any damage to the Federation is attributed to Blake. The smallest incident is exaggerated out of all proportion until it becomes a major event. Blake is becoming a legend. His name is a rallying call for malcontents of all persuasions. He must be stopped.' There are also various references to the bounties on the Liberator/Scorpio groups.

And in 'Logic' itself there is:

Kelso: 'I've heard it said that Avon purposely led his crew into a Federation trap...'

Lydon: 'That was Federation bullshit spread after the civil war, used to discredit him and the old regime.'

Servalan also says that she and Avon will not meet each other again - which under the circumstances seems slightly unlikely, given what has been done to him. By some means Avon has been turned into - or has taken on the role of - Roj Blake: the whole sequence is about to start again. Even if Servalan is correct in her statement that the Federation needs enemies to help it survive (especially as Earth has apparently been destroyed - possibly in the civil war that Lydon mentions) - why Blake? It is evident that Blake and his associates were not the only rebels and anti-establishment figures or groups around. Quite apart from the independent planets operating within the Federation there are Avalon who has started 'resistance movements on a dozen planets' in the middle period of Series 1 and Del Grant in Series 2, who has been invited to Albian because of his success elsewhere. There are also the apparent tensions between the Federation central administration and the regions - as demonstrated in 'Voice from the Past.' Blake may well be the most well known rebel but, several years after his last significant period of activity, others would probably have acquired more than a local fame. To be fair to Logic‘ though, other writers seem to follow the same route. It could be argued that as with real history‘ certain actual or symbolic figures capture the imagination, and that in the B7 galaxy we are presented with Blake is one of these.

While it is an interesting twist to have Avon become Blake - and to have Servalan create 'tame enemies of the Federation' there are certain risks in the process. The various opposition movements (including regional leaders) might get into a situation where they can mount a challenge the central administration that is at least partially successful.

What will happen when Avon-as-Blake remembers who he really is, is not indicated. Even if he decides to pursue a career as a 'freelance opponent of the Federation by the name of Blake' (not the same as 'being a rebel') he would be 'slightly annoyed' with Servalan. He is quite capable of seeking vengeance for what has been done to him (or those associated with him - as with Shrinker). Also, considering how long he has been working with 'those opposed to the Federation', unless Avon has been given cosmetic surgery, there will always be the chance of meeting someone who says 'I knew Blake (or Avon) - years ago - what are you playing at mate?'

Perhaps if there had been a successor to this tape the issues of 'Avon as Blake' would have been resolved. It can, however, be argued that the ambiguities of 'Logic of Empire' to some extent reflect the somewhat open-ended nature of the series itself.

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