Avon Calling

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Zine
Title: Avon Calling
Publisher: Up the Rebels Press
Editor(s): Denetia Arellanes
Date(s): 1990-1994
Series?: yes
Medium: print fanzine
Size:
Genre: slash and het
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links:
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Contents

Avon Calling is a slash and adult het Blake's 7 anthology.

From a flyer for the first issue: "A Blake's 7 fanzine truly dedicated to the concept of infinite diversity in infinite combinations."

General Reactions and Reviews

Pretty, pretty zines, and sadly only three of them. I found the third issue to be the strongest, but then my tastes in fiction might be considered strange. [1]

Issue 1

front cover of issue #1, Phoenix
back cover of issue #1, Phoenix

Avon Calling 1 has cover art by Phoenix. Other art is by Leah Rosenthal and Phoenix. It was published in 1990 and is slash and het and contains 148 pages.

Artwork:

  • Phoenix (front and back covers)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

Excerpts from the following review are quoted in accordance with Fanlore's fair use principles.

An Avon-centred zine, containing eleven stories and assorted poems and illustrations, including work by Leah Rosenthal and Phoenix.

'Triumvirate' by la belle femme. A pacy story with an original premise - Travis as the Deltan chief of security on the Aquatar Project, Blake as the lover who is attempting to radicalise Travis, Avon watching jealously from the sidelines. The twists and turns of the plot lead to a denouement where nobody wins and an evocative last paragraph': 'Roj Blake lay back on the bed in his quarters [on Liberator.] No one would ever know how much he remembered.'

'An Anodyne to Dreams' by Paula. Post-Maoldaar A/V. If you can believe in stories where Avon cries and then reveals that he only needed encouragement from Vila to indulge in full-blown sentiment, then this is a well-written example, creating convincing versions of the characters within a set of parameters that I, for one, can't believe,

'Bound by Trust' by Christopher Montclair. (With assistance and added vitriol from M. Fae Glasgow.) Another story that begins with Avon in tears, although this time he's weeping over the memory of his SM sessions with Anna, the only woman who ever understood him. Luckily, Blake turns out to have 'a secret desire to dominate the aloof and moody tech', although there's too much psychologising and too little psychological consistency for a no-holds-barred SM PWP and the point of view shifts too abruptly and too often....

[snipped]

The entire review can be read here. [2]

Issue 2

front cover of issue #2, Phoenix
back cover of issue #2, Phoenix

Avon Calling 2 is subtitled, "Avon Calling Again." It was published in 1991, has 154 pages and cover art by Phoenix. It is het and slash.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

Excerpts from the following review are quoted in accordance with Fanlore's fair use principles.

[zine]:

Artwork Cover by Phoenix. Nude. Doesn't really look like Avon as far as I can see (too soppy expression & too over-muscled). There are some more Phoenix's in this 'zine which I don't like, I think she can do him as too Soppy & Quivery.

A nice A/T by Randym. I'm always amazed by her pictures because the characters are more recognisable than some in more naturalistic artwork despite being incredibly stylised.

A rather good soft-pencil thing of Blake's face by Laura Virgil. Nicely sensual. Slightly wary or pensive expression - I think he's looking at Avon & thinking What's He Up To Now...

A couple of fun cartoons by Leah Rosenthal.

Some line drawings by Jessikah Rian which I really don't like at all.

My absolute favourite in this 'zine is the full-colour Lovett illustrating "Weight Watchers": lovely sensual golden picture of Avon & Blake cuddling up in the afterglow.

Poetry: Well, you know what I'm likely to think of fan poetry by now...

Stories: The Hand of Friendship (A/V) by N.T. Casillas: Avon decides not only to kill Tynus for betraying their friendship but to make his life a misery first. He & Vila stage a slightly d/s sex scene (Vila as Top) in order to show Tynus (via the surveillance cameras) that Avon will permit Vila intimacies he never permitted Tynus.

[snipped]

The entire review can be read here.[3]

Issue 3

front cover of issue #3, Phoenix
back cover of issue #3, Suzan Lovett. Title: Sleeping Beauty." This cover won a 1994 Stiffie Award for best Blake's 7 art. One fan commented this is a perfect example of "...how nudity can be sensual without being sexual....Avon & Blake wrapped around each other, emotional stuff everywhere, complete and total nudity with no penises displayed."[4] Another fan said: "..."Sleeping Beauty", an absolutely gorgeous, nude study of Blake and Avon, with Blake sleeping with his head in Avon's lap, and Avon bending down to kiss him. It's not really erotic, but unbelievably sweet (I don't usually like sweet, but I'll make an exception here). It's more than that though. This drawing is more than what you'll usually find in zines, which is normerly portrait art. This drawing manages to convey real emotion." -- from the review below

Avon Calling 3 is all slash. Is is subtitled, "Avon Calls Once More/Perchance to Dream." It was published in January 1994, contains 140 pages and has a front cover by Phoenix and a back cover by Suzan Lovett. The part of this zine called "Perchance to Dream" was based on this cover.

This issue was the winner of a 1995 STIFfie Award.

  • Call of the Wild by Jane Mailander 1 (winner of a 1995 STIFfie Award)
  • No Fury by Jane Mailander 7
  • Welcome to My Dungeon by Caroline Dare 8
  • Retention of Title by Gloria Lancaster 18
  • The Observed by Pat Terra 28
  • LD50 by E. Lapidae 29
  • The Romance of the Written Word by R. Olivia Brown 34
  • Felis Avonis by Jane Mailander 42
  • Companions by Randym & Cami 43 (Sequel to "Strange Interlude." Avon wants to resume the relationship that he and Tarrant began while ill on a distant planet, but Tarrant is angry because Avon pretended at first that their earlier liaison was a hallucination.)
  • Sweet Revenge by Lynne Franklin 49
  • Words Never Spoken, Words Never Heard by Brendan O'Cullane 52
  • Just One Year of Love by Catherine Kendall 53
  • Cytherea by Christopher Montclair 61
  • A Thief's Punishment by Brendan O'Cullane 71
  • Brilliance by Pat Terra 80
  • Afterplay by Jane Mailander 92
  • Stranded by Matilda Willard 95
  • Kerr Avon's Top Ten Excuses for Shooting Roj Blake by Jane Mailander 116
  • Entropy by Pat Terra 130
  • A Bit of Humor by Jane Mailander 131
  • To Sleep, Perchance to Dream by Gene Delapenia 132
  • It's the Thought That Counts by S. Lewis 133
  • The Quality of Mercy by Matilda Willard 137

Artwork:

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

Excerpts from the following review are quoted in accordance with Fanlore's fair use principles.

Good cover art. The front cover (Phoenix) has the three chaps naked (Tarrant? Who's he?) and holding the title on a banner strategically covering their naughty bits. This is all great fun, but I think it'll be the back cover which people buy the 'zine for, or even buy as a print. A superb silver-grey Lovett called "Perchance to Dream" (Judith: the picture is actually called 'Sleeping Beauty' it's the back half of the zine that is called 'Perchance to Dream'), it has naked Avon bent over naked Blake to kiss him, but it isn't erotica, just very "sweet" love. Could either fit tragedy or sweet romance, and I suppose that's why part of the 'zine is on upside down and themed to fit the Lovett as the cover.

Call of the Wild (A/B) -- Jane Mailander: Jane's only A/B story, a gorgeously optimistic one where Avon is dreaming about B as a satyr, and this changes the course of events on *Liberator*. The humour and "sweet" tone are lovely, though it's a bit innocent for me (contains a fade-out sex scene--aaaargh. Well she puts in the dream-sequence sex scene, but as they are about to get down to it in reality she fades it out. Lovely POV, particularly A trying to deny his attraction.

[snipped]

The entire review can be read here.[6]
Short Description: This particular issue is all-slash. Avon Calling (#1) was a mix of het and slash (although more slash than het). All stories with one exception have Avon as one of the slashees (er, that's not really a word, but then the dictionary doesn't have a definition for our sort of slash, so I'm free to make up words). The zine is around 140 pages.

The Art: If nice art is important to you, then you'll really like this zine. Yes, there's lots of stuff by Lovett and Phoenix, plus an odd picture here and there, that isn't mentioned in the credits (there's an A/T by Randym, I think).

And I finally got to see the much mentioned "Sleeping Beauty", an absolutely gorgeous, nude study of Blake and Avon, with Blake sleeping with his head in Avon's lap, and Avon bending down to kiss him. It's not really erotic, but unbelievably sweet (I don't usually like sweet, but I'll make an exception here). It's more than that though. This drawing is more than what you'll usually find in zines, which is normerly portrait art. This drawing manages to convey real emotion. Also notable, there's a Blake-as-satyr drawing by Lovett, that's way cool and a must see for Blake fans. I like the cover by Phoenix quite a bit, esp. Vila.

The Poetry: Well, I don't really care for poetry, because half the time I don't understand it. Some people are tone-deaf, I think I'm poetry-challenged. But I think I did grasp "Felis avonis" by Jane Mailander, which does a nice comparison between Avon and felines. And there's a neat full color Lovett to go with it, esp. loved the Avon-transforming-into-panther in the upperleft, which is very sensual.

The Stories: "Call of the Wild" by Jane Mailander - A/B: Avon has a really wild, erotic dream in which Blake figures significantly, only it's Blake as he would look if he were a satyr. Needless to say, that's the catalyst for the start a sexual relationship. This is a pretty humorous (as well as pretty hot) story. And the little graphics that separate the sections of the story are hilarious. Very enjoyable.

[snipped]

The rest of the zine is called "Perchance to Dream", which are three stories all centering around that stunning Blake-Avon picture by Lovett (so natuarlly these four stories are A/B). It's separated from the rest of the zine by being bound in opposite direction (upside down?).

"Entropy" by Pat Terra - A/B: A mystical PGP story with a paganistic bent. If you like that sort of thing and upbeat endings, then this is the story for you.

"It's the Thought That Counts" by S. Lewis - A/B: Entertaining, lightweight, post-"Careless Whispers" story. A nice bit of sweetness and light before the next tale.

"The Quality of Mercy" by Matilda Willard - A/B: Probably my favorite story in the zine, and an excellent portrayal of Servalan. It's actually a very short story, so I don't really want to say more about it, other than if you don't like depressing stories, don't read it!"

The entire review can be read here. [7]


Art aside, this is a nicely presented zine in general. I like the two halves business they've got going on. The typeface is nice and a good size. In short - it looks professional and very worth the money. But what of the stories? The main event, as it were.

Let's talk about those.

First, I've already intimated that I think the standard of writing is generally very high, and the standard of emotional involvement is generally low. But it's worth repeating that, I think.

Call of the Wild by Jane Mailander

Avon dreams about Blake as a satyr and they have a lot of sex and share grapes and things. My problem with this story, which is well written, is that the Blake satyr could be characterised as 'well hung, not a rapist, and laughs a lot'. There's no dialogue between them until Avon wakes up (and not much then), and while you could certainly argue that there was tension between them before the dream (i.e. in the show) and that this caused them to fancy each other on a personal as well as physical level, I don't think it's too much to ask that some of that be in the fic too. On a personal note - there's a hilarious line about Servalan in the final wrap-up.

Welcome to My Dungeon by Caroline Dare

I only read the first part of this, because I disliked it so strongly. I can't believe this awful behaviour of either Blake or Vila, and I'm not keen on Avon being "raped", particularly not by people he trusts and likes, or getting off on humiliation or trivialising Vila. You know, it's just not for me at all.

Retention of Title by Gloria Lancaster

This is more interesting, particularly since Lancaster and R Olivia Brown (two stories down) are responsible for the silly, fluffy, fun time that is 'Gorgeous', and Brown is responsible for 'No Iron Bars A Cage', which is made of terrible rape and torture. So, I assumed that Lancaster was the steadying fluffy hand - I assumed wrong. So, that interested me. This is a well written fic - but I don't like it. It's never clear to me what Avon gets out of being a prostitute, given that it's not sexual gratification, and although I had a long conversation with elviaprose in which she convincingly argued that what Blake feels doesn't make him a bad person, it's just a sexual urge - it's clearly a metaphor, isn't it? And unfortunately while I hoped I'd mellow with time and be able to accept characterisations of Blake that I thought were monstrously unfair to someone I believe to be ultimately a good man, trying to do the best he can in the face of massive opposition, in fact I've just grown crazier and less able to accept it. So, I respect this fic to some extent, but I don't like it at all.

The entire review can be read here[8]

References

  1. comment by Lynn W.
  2. a review by Nova in 2000 at Judith Proctor's BLake's 7 site; WebCite.
  3. review by Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site; WebCite.
  4. Charlotte Hill's discussion of Explicit Slash Art on the Virgule-L mailing list in May 1994, quoted with permission.
  5. Sandy Herrold posting about Escapade 1993 to the Virgule-L mailing list: "I also bought my *first fannish art* at the con. (12+ years a fan, and never bought art.)"
  6. review by Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake' s7 site; WebCite.
  7. review by Sonja at Judith Proctor's Blake' s7 site;WebCite.
  8. Aralias reviewed this zine in November 2013 on Dreamwidth
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