Dark Fantasies

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Zine
Title: Dark Fantasies
Publisher: Maverick Press
Editor(s): Jo Ann McCoy
Date(s): 1993-2001
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: multimedia
Language: English
External Links: Maverick Press
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Contents

Dark Fantasies is a slash multimedia anthology that ran for eight issues. It has the subtitle, "Not for the Faint of Heart." It has a special edition called Fantastic Fantasies.

Issue 1

cover of issue #1

Dark Fantasies 1 was published in 1993 and is 200 pages long.

Description from the publisher:
Dark Fantasies 1 has four stories from Starsky and Hutch. In "Odds Against" by Tasha, a novella length AU (103 pages), Hutch with the help of MI6 agents, Bodie and Doyle, must infiltrate Nazi Germany to rescue Starsky from the evil Third Reich. Other stories included are "Nightmare" (36 pages) and "Therapy" (13 pages) by Kelly James. "Starsky's Fantasy" (4 pages) by Donna S. completes the S/H stories with a complete misunderstanding between Starsky and Hutch.

Dark Fantasies 1 also contains three Blake's 7 stories that range from the light-hearted "It's a Dirty Job, but Somebody's Got to Do it" (13 pages) by Cami to the dark and brooding "Kerry," (9 pages) which is probably the most controversial and discussed story in Blake's 7 fandom. (Winner of the Golden Handcuffs Award.) "Control" (8 pages) by Lynne Franklin is an S/M fantasy with a surprising difference.

The last story, "The Morning After" (14 pages) by Airelle comes from the darker side of the Professionals fandom, in which one finds Doyle and Bodie experimenting in a consensual S/M fantasy.
  • The Morning After by Airelle (Professionals)
  • Odds Against by Tasha (Professionals/Starsky and Hutch crossover)
  • Control by Lynne Franklin (Blake's 7)
  • Therapy by Kelly James (Starsky and Hutch)
  • Starsky’s Fantasy by ? (Starsky and Hutch)
  • It’s a Dirty Job, But Somebody’s Got To Do It by Cami (Blake's 7)
  • Kerry by Tasha and Jenni Birk (Blake's 7)
  • Nightmare by Kelly James (Starsky and Hutch)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

See reactions and reviews for The Morning After.
[zine]: Warning, not that it's necessary. This 'zine caters to all sorts of kink, and there are examples of s/m, rape/comfort and slavery in this 'zine. The other fandoms represented are Starsky/Hutch and Pros (Bodie/Doyle).

Control (A/B) -- Lynne Franklin: Oddly enough, this is dedicated to S. Lewis, which gives a hint that there's a romance underneath this fairly intense BDSM story. B is tied up, "raped", beaten and humiliated by his dark, leather-clad master. The twist is that B loves every minute of it since he was brainwashed into masochism by the Federation, while A would much prefer to untie him, cuddle him, and make tender love to him.

It's a Dirty Job, but Somebody's Got to Do It (A/V) -- Cami: ...seducing Kerr Avon, of course. Vila is a spy-cum-sex-therapist. He wants an access code Avon has. The narly-virginal repressed Alpha Avon wants enough sexual confidence to approach Anna. Doesn't entirely convince me, but if you like this sort of thing, you'd like this.

Kerry ("Kerry"/multiple) -- Tasha and Jenni Birk: This is the one my beta reader regards as character-rape. An enslaved Alpha boy named Kerr Avon ("Kerry" is his slave name) is subjected to various humiliations by his corrupt masters. In the end, probably broken, the slave is sold to "a dark-haired woman dressed elegantly in red" and "a man with a head of unruly dark curls". Are these an alternate-universe Blake and Servalan? Do we care? For me, the answer is "probably not"--the author may visualise Avon (and for all I know other characters) in this, but I don't, and find it difficult to care about the characters. [1]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2, Suzan Lovett. Title: "Liaisons Dangereux"-- a fan in 2004 wrote: "The one entitled "Dangerous Liaisons" is on the cover of the zine Dark Fantasies II (copyright August 1994), the picture title is labeled as "Liaisons Dangereux" though. There is a story in the zine by Kitty Fisher ("The Alchemist's Measure") that is based off the artwork, though from the way they worded the editorial it seems that the art came first. They also mention later in the editorial that the artwork for the cover was bought at a con for the zine cover, so I don't think it was done specifically for this zine." [2]

Dark Fantasies 2 was published in August 1994 and has 220 pages. It features a front cover by Suzan Lovett and a back cover parody by Karen Eaton. This cartoon was also published in BritWit #3. Dark Fantasies 2 was nominated for 5 Stiffie awards. "Metamorphosis" and "Blood and Shadows" each won their categories.

Description from the publisher:
The Alchemist's Measure," a Pros story by Kitty Fisher, was inspired by the Suzan Lovett cover. It is an alternate universe tale of unnatural lust.

There are three Blake's 7 stories. "Scars" is a novella length chilling tale that takes place after Gauda Prime. Stiffie winner "Blood and Shadows" is another novella length story that follows the episode Warlord. "The Beginning of the Bargain" is a sequel to "Control" from DF1 which explains how Blake and Avon entered into their depraved relationship.

Man From Uncle is represented by two stories which are packed with angst and hurt comfort in "The Price of Love Affair" by Susan Devereaux and "The Darkness Affair" by Mary Millard.

The last award winning story in Dark Fantasies 2 is "Metamorphosis" by tasha. It continues the WWII saga started in Dark Fantasies 1 and is a (Starsky and Hutch, Professionals and Forever Knight) crossover.
Karen Eaton's back cover parody, also published in BritWit #3.
  • Scars by Ross Allister & Nevin Patriyck (Blake's 7)
  • The Alchemist's Measure by Kitty Fisher (Professionals)
  • Metamorphosis by Tasha (Professionals/Starsky and Hutch/Forever Knight)
  • Blood and Shadows by Salome (Blake's 7) (winner of a 1995 STIFfie Award)
  • The Beginning of the Bargain by Lynne Franklin (Blake's 7)
  • The Darkness Affair by Mary Millard (Man from UNCLE)
  • The Price of Love Affair by Susan Devereaux (Man from UNCLE)


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

[Blood and Shadows]: Why this must be read: OK, now we're in "people who like this sort of thing, this is the thing they like" territory. (The archive it appears on has a rating system, and Blood and Shadows was rated 4-out-of-5.)

This is a to-the-hilt example of both the BUARA (Beat Up and Rape Avon) and BABYT (Bind and Bugger Young Tarrant) genres. When Servalan captures Avon and Tarrant, Tarrant is conditioned to rape a severely abused Avon. The Scorpio crew rescues Avon and--a bit later--Dayna, in possession of less than all the facts, rescues Tarrant (who by this time has suffered extremely severe and graphically described physical and sexual abuse himself). Not really my sort of thing, but I can't say that it didn't leave an impression.

As you'd expect from a slash story, all is well again after the application of advanced 30th Century combat medical techniques and Therapeutic Sex, with Orac (for those outside the B7 ambit: the super-computer, who is so advanced as to be actually portable!) combines canonical crankiness with a somewhat out-of-character role as Yenta Sue. [3]
[zine]: First the Disclaimer: I had some hopes for this zine because one of the stories in Dark Fantasies was so completely my kink it could have been written to my erotic specifications. Keep in mind that none of Dark Fantasies II comes even close to fitting any of my kinks, and so I am afraid that I am too harsh about the zine overall....((And, I tend to find in slash that if the story is setting out to be 'kinky' for lack of a better word, that if it doesn't hit one of *my* kinks, it is unlikely to work for me solely as a story: i.e., they tend to be less well written (less grounded in the universe is probably a kinder and more truthful way of saying that) than usual slash.

In general:

Beautiful Cover (Liaisons Dangereux, by Suzan Lovett) and wonderful silly parody version of it for the back cover by Karen Eaton (great idea!). All of the stories are 10-50 pages, relatively meaty stories, rather than short PWP's. Authors with ambition, even if their ambition outreaches their grasp. The copy-editor's hand is clear throughout. There are almost NO typos, not even of the synonym/spellchecker missed it type, and grammar is very good throughout the stories. The zine is dated (important to some historian part of me) and the editor uses her real name (also a plus for me). Very pleasant and friendly editorial.

Format: The good things--Very clean font (though I questioned their use of a sans serif font as the body font, it is a very readable one), double justified 2 columns with a nice amount of space between columns, name of the story (and the authors) at the bottom of each page, nice page numbering. Nice clear Table of Contents, stories labeled by fandom, but not by pairing or other content...(to tie into another thread).

The not so good--There is a huge amount of space at the top and bottom of each page. They could easily have kept the same page count, and increased the rather small font size by shrinking the top and bottom page margins. Also, (I know this is a quibble 95 out of 100 fans could care less about) underlining is incorrect in a published work. Underlining is used in draft as a *signifier* for italic (somewhat like *'s are in e-writing) because it is hard to show italics in handwritten and early typewritten text.

On to the stories:

The Alchemist's Measure, by Kitty Fisher--39 pgs. A regency era story (written to go with the cover) in which a pauperish lord, Raymond Doyle, has scrapped together enough money for one last night of submission before he is forced into a loveless marriage with a rich shrew. The man on the other end of the whip turns out to be Bodie, and before the night is through, they are both compelled to find out more about each other... I thought the story is adequately written/edited, as I expect from Fisher. The grammar, punctuation and story flow are competent. (I don't mean to be damning with faint praise. Those mere facts place the story high on the heap of slash in general.) S/M is not my kink, per se, so the sex might well be hot to someone else. The story itself is a pretty good historical, but the characters never reminded me of Bodie or Doyle. Bodie quite easily gives away that fact that he is a spy, and acts in general quite like the hero of a Cheltingham Tragedy, "He paused, averting his eyes, his cheeks flaming. 'Gods, why are words so clumsy...'" If gay, 40-page Harlequins with kinky sex existed, I think they'd be a lot like this.

Scars by Ross Allister and Nevin Patryck. 60 pgs. I greatly fear that sordid is what you call kinks not your own... having said that, I really did find this story sordid. Blake is a 3rd stage alcoholic living off of drug-addicted & suicidal Tarrant's wages as a licensed prostitute. Vila and Avon are still together, Vila hating Avon for the torture the Federation gave him when Avon wouldn't talk, Avon forcing Vila to viciously master him sexually (Vila having mixed emotions; half hating it, half thinking it is no more than Avon deserves). When Vila bumps into Tarrant long after Gauda Prime, he sets off a chain of circumstance that tests all four of them nearly to their destruction. Vila is the only character even slightly worthy of respect, though Avon, as usual, manages to keep some dignity in his degradation. The story includes intentionally vicious multiple rape. This is long, complicated story, and despite my distaste for it, there are pieces of this that really work. For example, when Vila finally tells Avon how he feels about Avon refusing to talk to the Federation while he was tortured: "You cracked, and I've been picking the splinters out of myself ever since." Generally though, if the characterization for these men are correct, I'm glad they were never tested this harshly on the show; trust me, it would never have acquired a fandom.

Blood and Shadows by Salome. 43 pgs. Tarrant and Avon are captured by Servalan, who uses psychomanipulation (the type used on Avon at Terminal) on Tarrant, to get him to rape Avon. When only Avon can be rescued, the other crew members have to decide how they feel about Tarrant; whether he's worth saving, what they believe the limits of psychomanipulation to be. I thought the story is a little over written, (Tarrant's POV) "He appreciated Dayna's kindness in thinking of him while she herself was in obvious distress from the memories aroused by the return to the childhood home that she had left in such traumatic circumstances. But he was still so tense that even the serenity of his environment failed to soothe him." But I thought the characterization was better in this story than some of the others: the scenes of Servalan running Tarrant through raping Avon are not bad; Soolin reluctantly respecting Avon's desire to hide what had happened, everybody hiding what had happened from Dayna: all of these rang pretty true. I can't easily discuss how unrealistic I found the ending without giving it away, So, SPOILER ALERT....Just two words: Sexual Healing...End SPOILER Alert. I hate that solution. YMMV. Not a bad story.

The Beginning of the Bargain by Lynne Franklin. (Technically a sequel to Control--but actually more of a prequel, since most of the story is a flashback.) 10 pages. Avon is trying to a) wean Blake away from his need for painful degrading sex and b) get Blake to accept loving care from him, rather than just sex. (Sue, stop laughing. Now!) Most of this story is a flashback to when Avon 'accidentally' discovered Blake's sexual needs, and is written (as befits the name of the zine) in somewhat archetypal fantasy style. (Avon walking into the brothel: "Moving toward the massive wooden doors at the end of the rectangular room, Avon was intercepted by a beautiful woman in a flowing, diaphanous gown. Her manner as regal as her bearing, she smiled a greeting, nodding her head in a courtly gesture.")

The Darkness Affair by Mary Millard. 26 pages. One of the many, "Oh no, my partner (Illya, this time) is blind" stories in this fandom, and slash fandom in general. The only excuse for this story being in a zine called Dark Fantasies, is the fact that one of them is blind: otherwise it is the sweetest of romances. Perhaps too sweet. Blinding Illya, already too frequently drawn as shy and childlike, is extra marshmallow topping on a 12 scoop ice cream treat. An example, '"That's very nice, Napoleon. Thank you." Turning shy, Illya lowered his head as he blushed. "I always found pleasure in your smile, too."' Illya spends pages telling Napoleon that he can't possibly be as in love as Napoleon thinks he is. I had a few quibbles with anachronisms in this, as well: quality-time is the only one I can think of now. If you like shy sweet romantic first time stories, give this one a try.

The Price of Love Affair, by Susan Devereaux. 20 pgs. Napoleon is kidnapped by Dr. Dabree (from the series? I couldn't tell. If so, it would have been nice to have an author/editor's note telling which episode the character was introduced in.) and held in the basement of his apartment building. Illya, of course, shows up to find him without backup of any kind. They are tortured while able to see each other, first on video cameras, then in the same room. The story is done somewhat faithfully to the style of the show with many short acts and seeming escapes which come to naught (though the rapes of course, would have been done off camera, if at all...). I recommend this one for hurt/comfort fans, with the caveat that I'm not one, and so am probably not a reliable judge, since I may not get what makes 'good' hurt comfort.

Metamorphosis by tasha. 54 pages. This is a sequel to a story in DFI, though that information doesn't seem to be given anywhere in this zine. (Not true-I reread the editorial, and it is in there--I think it would be more useful at the beginning of the story, though.) To give them credit, the story largely stands on its own, aside from some understandable confusion about why Bodie, Doyle, Starsky and Hutch are all in W.W.II England... This half of the story mostly concerns Hutch and Nicolas Knight (of Forever Knight), as Hutch is captured while in Nazi Germany, and rescued by Nic, who is forced to bring him across to save his life. They eventually meet back up with Doyle, then Bodie, and Starsky, (and Cowley who immediately thinks of the uses Hutch's change might be to the Secret Service). The story has some nice action. It is mostly about Hutch coming to grips with his new life as a vampire, but does nicely tie up the lose relationship ends of the first half. A nice story, though so much about Hutch dealing with becoming a vampire that it doesn [missing words]].

All in all, I would say that it is a well produced zine by someone who cared and put a lot of well considered work into it, who has tastes very different from my own. [4]
[zine]: Who knows what dark impulse made me pick this zine up off the dealer's table? For that matter, who know what caused the people who created it to think of such things? Why do some of us enjoy taking characters we love and putting them in painful and humiliating situations? As a friend of mine likes to say, "Freud would just pick that ball up and run with it." These questions are beyond me, though. Perhaps some day, some really wise person like Susan Garrett will figure it out and write an essay about it. Until then, we must merely deal with the results. Dark Fantasies II is a multimedia, S&M slash zine. As it warns in the subtitle, it is not for the faint of heart.

Part of what placed this zine in my hot little hand was the cover. In this striking, black and white piece entitled "Liaisons Dangereux," by Suzan Lovett, Bodie and Doyle are dressed (or perhaps it is more proper to say, semi-wn dressed) in eighteenth century garb. Doyle holds a riding crop and Bodie a candle. Karen Eaton's cartoon version of the picture (featured on the back cover) suggests possible uses the characters may be contemplating for these items.

The cover inspired "The Alchemist's Measure," by Kitty Fisher. After reading the story, I found myself wishing the process had worked the other way. In Lovett's drawing, although she has taken Bodie and Doyle out of their usual context of time and place, they remain recognizably Bodie and Doyle. In Fisher's story, they don't. "The Alchemist's Measure" is a competently written, readable story, but Fisher has fallen prey to the chief danger of alternate universe writing—namely, when you change the history and circumstances that have made a character who he or she is, you can find yourself writing about someone who no longer bears a resemblance to the original character who inspired you. I was most put off by the fact that Ray Doyle, ex-cop and working class guy with an occasional taste for the bohemian, becomes Lord Raymond Doyle in this incarnation. The promotion in social stratum completely changes the motivations and conflicts that make Doyle an interesting character for me. Fisher's Lord Doyle doesn't talk like Ray Doyle. To me, he doesn't even seem to think the same sort of thoughts that I imagine Ray Doyle would. Bodie fares better. He's an ex-mercenary in both past and present, but still there was no phrase or gesture described by Fisher that made me stop and say, "Oh, yeah. That's old Bodie, all right." The end result is that, for me, "Alchemist's Measure" lacked, well, alchemy. Fisher failed to perform the narrative magic that would have allowed me to enjoy this story as an episode from the lives of an alternate Bodie and Doyle. Instead the story reads as a rather adult version of a standard historical novel plot with familiar names curiously inserted.

Standard plots are also featured in both the M.U.N.CLE. stories, "The Darkness Affair," by Mary Millard, and "The Price of Love Affair," by Susan Devereaux. In Millard's story, Ulya is blinded and Napoleon.... Really, can't we all finish this one in unison by now? Retellings of classic hurt/comfort standards like this one can be made palatable by innovative storytelling. That doesn't happen here. The narrative segments are fine, but the dialogue tends toward the "Do me, my darling Napasha! Do me! Do me!" end of the scale. Now, to be fair, the preceding was not an actual quote from the story. The following, however, are: "Love is worth the pain. Make my dream come true, Napasha. Make me yours." and "Napasha! My love! Yes! Take me—now." When I imagine David McCaUum saying those words in his trademark dry, sardonic style of delivery, I begin to giggle...and giggle...and giggle very hard for a very long time. Somehow I don't think this is the effect the author had in mind.

"The Price of Love Affair" draws on another old reliable. Napoleon and Illya are kidnapped by someone who wants revenge on Napoleon. The best way to get back at Napoleon, of course, is through—guess who? Then guess what happens to guess who until the villains can be heroically disposed of and we can get on to the "Do me, my darling Napasha!" stuff. Actually, Devereaux's dialogue never falls into the unintentionally humorous as does Millard's. The fault I found with Devereaux's writing is that she remains too true to the reality of the series—the series at its worst. The cardboard characters and predictable dialogue sound like something a team of hack screenwriters could have hammered out easily in thirty minutes of a busy afternoon in 1968.

I must confess I never finished tasha's "Metamorphosis," a Starsky and Hutch, Professionals, and Forever Knight crossover set during World War II. Although the parts I did read seemed well-written, I have an unreasoning aversion for people who suck blood and characters played by David Soul. A David Soul character that sucks blood proved too much for my feeble constitution.

I group all of the Blake's Seven pieces together. Although each is listed as having a different author ("Scars," by Ross Allister and Nevin Patryck; "Blood and Shadows," by Salome; and "The Beginning of the Bargain," by Lynne Franklin), the stories are enough alike in style and approach to have conceivably been written by the same person. Now, for those of you looking for true S&M, look no further. Bad things happen in these stories...and are described in vivid detail. While reading them, I was glad that the editor had chosen to have no interior illustrations. I didn't want to see pictures of things that were described in these stories. Poor Tarrant seemed to get the worst of it. In one story, he's become a drug addict and a professional prostitute. In another, he's captured by Servalan, and...well, I'd have to agree with what Vila says when he learns of the astonishing depravity and variety of tortures endured by the pilot: "I never would have thought that a gangbang by [a unit of] Federation [guardsmen] could come as a relief."

The writing for each of these stories is blunt and visceral. The authors don't fall into cliche and they never, ever, ever made me want to giggle. Unlike "The Alchemist's Measure," part of the sometimes sickening impact of these stories is that no matter how low Blake's crew sink (and they do sink several levels lower than you'd think they could), they still carry enough remnants of who they were to allow you to imaginatively put the right voices and bodies with the character names.

Now comes the hard part. Do I recommend this thing? On a purely technical level, this is a well-produced zine. The layout is clean and professional—a very legible sans serif font in a decent point size, double columns, name of story and author in the footer, spiral binding and sturdy cardboard covers. No typographical errors to speak of. Reproduction of the cover illustration is excellent. No interior art—but then again, this also means there is no ugly or revolting interior art. Although I may quibble with stylistic choices made by some of the authors, the overall quality of the writing (particularly the Blake's Seven stories) is high.

And yet, I'm still squeamish about recommending a zine in which there is a detailed description of Servalan putting her fist up Tarrant's...well, you get the picture, I'm afraid. (I'll be kinder than the author and not mention the fingernails.) Then again, you can't condemn a thing for being what it is. This is an undisguisedly S&M zine. That is the genre to which it belongs. Those are the traditions it upholds. It wouldn't be fair for me to review a slash zine and say, "Well, the writing was good, the art was excellent, but I can't give it a good rating because it's slash, and slash is icky." Forthrightly, then, I take a deep breath and give this zine the four trees it deserves. Remember, though, this ain't one you're going to want to leave lying on the coffee table. [5]
This is a big thick zine, absolutely crammed into the binding. I have to take more care turning the pages than with the others with fewer pages and the same sized binding because of that. The text is a much smaller size than the Concupiscence zines I bought at the same time and it's a modern-looking (well, it was then) sans serif font. Really appropriate for the Blakes 7 stuff, but it was a bit jarring for the Restoration era Pros AU. There are no internal illustrations, but the front cover is a shiny piece of card with a black and white Suzan Lovett illustration on it. There are scans of this illustration online. It's nice to have an actual hard copy of a picture for once, but the contrast is actually better on the versions on the web! The back cover has a sort of cartoon parody of the front illustration.

The stories in Dark Fantasies 2 are three Blakes 7 stories, two Man from UNCLE stories, one crossover between Pros (yay), Starsky and Hutch, and something I hadn't heard of called Forever Knight, and the sole Pros one. They're all fairly long.

I would not suggest buying this zine if all you want is zine-only Pros fic. The Pros stores are both on the web.

So Pros content first:

The Alchemist's Measure, by Kitty Fisher. 39pp long, AU (Restoration times) and lots of BDSM. Online: The Alchemist's Measure by Kitty Fisher I reviewed it in the Reading Room recently, and you will gather from the discussion that I am not remotely impartial: Reading Room discussion of the Alchemist's Measure, complete with that picture. I love this story and jumped at the chance to get the zine it was published in. There is a lushness about Kitty Fisher's writing and the descriptions of everything from the furnishings of the room to the physical sensation are lovely: domination, submission, bondage, pain, lust, languor...

Kitty Fisher is British (as far as I know!) and although this zine is American, the language and spelling in The Alchemist's Measure remains British. I didn't realise how much that mattered to me until the other Pros-ish story...

Semi-Pros content:

Metamorphosis, by tasha, 54pp, is the final story, and was listed as 'Starsky and Hutch, Professionals, Forever Knight'. When I sat down to read this, I had entirely forgotten the webpage I had read somewhere (oh, fanlore.org wiki!), which had told me plainly: Hutch is a vampire. That must be the Forever Knight bit. For all I know, Forever Knight is set in the forties, too, because this thing is set in occupied France in WWII (and then in London). I don't like vampire stories as a rule (okay, I like Dracula!), I don't like WWII films, I never watched Starsky and Hutch, and the S&H fics I have so far read have them snuggling a lot, and blessed with great insight and articulation when it comes to their emotions, which is not my thing. So I was not pre-disposed to like this.

I didn't, much :) Although it's billed as a crossover, I think the Pros characters (Bodie, Doyle and Cowley) are very much walk-on characters, even if Doyle appears fairly early on in the story. Bodie gets bugger all to do beyond moping. The dialogue and spelling are all very American (apparently London has sidewalks, and Doyle tells someone to 'quit stalling'). I want to pick holes, but I fear it is my dislike of the vampire aspect and my disinterest in the non-Pros aspect that is driving that. I suspect it works much better if you're a S&H fan. Particularly if you like vampires. If you do: Metamorphosis, by tasha.

Non-Pros content is three Blakes 7 and two Man From UNCLE. I do know something about B7; all I know about MUNCLE is the character names and that the Scot plays the Russian.

Scars, by Ross Allister and Nevin Patryck, Blakes 7. 63 pp. Blake/Tarrant, Avon/Vila. Post Gauda Prime, I presume. Blake's an alcoholic pimping a drug-addicted Tarrant and telling himself the money is for when the real revolution comes. Avon and Vila are trying to stay alive whilst Avon hunts for Orac (and, Vila fears, Blake). Vila is coping poorly with the fact that Avon wants Vila to be extremely rough during sex. All four end up in the same place at the same time - well, the same planet, at least. Treachery and betrayal all round (which strikes me as very canon), and torture and rape at the hands of external characters (ditto). Ending vaguely positive, despite all that. But I did find a lot of the discussion about stopping drinking/drugs very 20th century, full of ideas I associate with AA, which struck me as odd. You'd think so far in the future they'd be using a different system.

Blood and Shadows, by Salomé, Blakes 7. 43 pp. Avon/Tarrant Available online: Blood and Shadows, by Salomé. Servalan plays nasty games with a captured Tarrant and Avon, inducing a drugged Tarrant to rape Avon, which causes inevitable complications on the Liberator after each is (separately) rescued. I liked this apart from the (and I am sorry to be tedious, but it's a British show) Americanisms, but I have no objection to reading rape fic.

The Beginning of the Bargain, by Lynne Franklin, Blakes 7, 11 pp. Avon/Blake. Sequel to something in the first Dark Fantasies, but you don't need to have read it to follow this one. I hadn't. Blake wants to be dominated and abused. Avon doesn't want to do it. I quite liked this, but they didn't seem to speak in a way that I recognise.

The Darkness Affair, by Mary Millard, Man from UNCLE, 26 pp. Illya is blind, and vulnerable, and prone to shedding tears, and in need of Napoleon, and much smaller than him, and he's all soft and beautiful, with a "tousled golden mass" (of hair, thank you, stop that at the back there - actually, there's a lot of description of his hair, some of it very detailed), and, well, I didn't finish this. None of these are my thing. I think perhaps it helps to know the show.

The Price of Love Affair, by Susan Devereaux, Man from UNCLE, 22 pp. Napoleon and Illya are captured by a female villain (presumably from the show, dunno) and held in separate rooms with live video equipment so they can see each other being tortured and raped (Illya, at least), and there is much h/c, and really, I am starting to think that there are definite, um, roles in this fandom.

So that's it. This is not a zine to get if all you want is Pros - not if you have to pay trans-Atlantic postage on top of the price, at least! Both stories are online. Nor is it a zine to get if you don't like fairly grim plotlines. I wanted to see the Blakes 7 stuff as well, so there was quite a bit in there for me, and even so, I winced at the cost of postage. [6]

Issue 3

art for "Instruments of Darkness", issue #3 by Randym. Note: This image has been marked as sexually explicit and has been minimised.
cover of issue #3, Betsy Mott

Dark Fantasies 3 contains 152 pages and was published in 1995. Color cover "Nicolas" by Betsy Mott. Art by John Largent and Randym.

Description from the publisher:
Dark Fantasies 3 continues in the tradition of 1 and 2, featuring stories from the darker side of fandom. "Instruments of Darkness" by Corona Polvanthus won a Fan Q at Media West 1996. "Truce" by tasha won a STIFfie at the same Media West.

Dark Fantasies 3 contains four stories from Blake's 7. It has both Avon/Vila and Blake/Avon.

Blakes's 7 stories include: "Orbital Aberration" by Irish shows Vila's revenge for the near fatal shuttle flight in the episode "Orbit", and "Instruments of Darkness" by Corona Polvanthus, a post Gauda Prime novella. "Engagement" by Trinity Pawling gives us a confrontation between Avon and Tarrant after the destruction of Muller's android. In "Rescue" by Catherine, Avon is unable to recover his teleport bracelet and discovers just how perverted Servalan's revenge can be.

Forever Knight is represented by four stories. "Sometimes When We Love" by James Kythe Walkswithwind is a nifty tale of S/M vampire style. "Bad Blood" by Ellis Ward is a dark tale that could only be told by Ellis Ward. "The Bonding" by tasha tells of an early encounter between LaCroix and Nick. Tasha also continues her Stiffie award winning series in "Truce", in which Nicolas is captured by the SS and rescued by LaCroix (won a 1995 STIFfie Award). Forever Knight Limericks by Dee...

Man From Uncle stories: "Troubled Times" by Mary Millard is a heart wrenching Man From Uncle story. This novella is full of angst and hurt comfort.
  • Just for Fun by Catherine and Katharina is a Pros tale of discovery between Bodie and Doyle. After an exhausting operation the boys explore their sexuality. (Professionals)
  • Without by Dee (Professionals) (1 page story)
  • Troubled Times by Mary Millard (Man from UNCLE)
  • Sometimes When We Love by James Kythe Walkswithwind (Forever Knight)
  • Bad Blood by Ellis Ward (Forever Knight)
  • The Bonding by tasha (Forever Knight)
  • Truce by tasha (Forever Knight)
  • Orbital Aberration by Irish (Blake's 7)
  • Instruments of Desire by Corona Polvanthus (Very explicit violence. PGP, Avon and Tarrant, the only survivors of the Scorpio crew, are brutally tortured at Servalan's orders. Later, after their escape, their shared experience draws them together; but their budding relationship is threatened when they encounter Blake, who has good reason to believe that Tarrant is a traitor.) (Blake's 7)
  • Engagement by Trinity Pawling (Set just after "Headhunter." A violent sexual encounter between Tarrant and Avon, with a surprising twist at the end.) (Blake's 7)
  • Rescue by Catherine (Blake's 7)


Issue 4

cover of issue #4, Whitby27
possibly another cover, or interior page, of issue #4

Dark Fantasies 4 was published in July 1996 and has 203 pages. All art by Whitby27.

Description from the publisher: "Again a zine with the darker touch. It is recently available with many different fandoms represented with an emphasis this time on Starsky and Hutch and The Professionals.

Professionals: (83 pages)

  • In this issue Kitty Fisher is continuing her universe established in "Alchemist's Measure" from Dark Fantasies #2 with "The Devil's Apprentice." Kitty puts Doyle through the wringer and Lucy gets her just due. Kitty promises that this is just the second of four parts which will appear in future issues of Dark Fantasies. Each part is/will be entire on its own. (39 pages)
  • "Getting Serious" by Catherine and Katharina is a sequel to "Just for Fun" by the same authors which appeared in Dark Fantasies 3 but can be read as a stand alone story. Bodie and Doyle continue their adventurous exploration of their sexual relationship and have to come to terms with the issues of equality, submission, and trust. (15 pages)
  • "Doyle, Later" by Dee is a sequel to the hardhitting vignette in Dark Fantasies 3, "Without." The author told me at Z-Con that Bodie was in handcuffs and not very happy about it. She had me on pins and needles until it finally arrived.(12 pages)
  • "For a Start" by Irish (12 pages) Cowley knows Bodie's secret and is about to reveal it Doyle.
  • "Bounds of Consociation" by James Kythe Walkswithwind (3 pages) Was it a good idea for Ray to have a key to Bodie's flat?

Forever Knight: (13 pages)

  • "The Anniversary" by Katy Deery (first released on the jadfe list) LaCroix has his own blackmail scheme for a certain Toronto homicide detective. (8 pages)
  • "Of Knight Dreams" by Natasha Barry~Ever hopeful LaCroix attempts to melt Nick's heart of stone.(1 page)
  • "The Sheeted Altar" by Natasha Barry~The most desperate bondage is that of the mind. (3 pages)
  • "Gone With the Blow...Job" by Natasha Barry~Scarlett had the right idea.(1 page)

Blakes Seven:(25 pages)

  • "In the Dark" by Erica Bloom~Vila takes advantage of Avon.(5 pages)
  • "A Marketable Commodity" by Pat Jacquerie~Tarrant goes looking for rumors of Blake in the wrong area of town. (19 pages) (The author has a "companion piece called "No Introdution Needed" here.)
  • "Denouement" by Irish (1 page) Having finally proved he cares, Avon faces the ultimate penalty.

Starsky and Hutch: (68 pages)

  • "Down Roads Long Past" by James Kythe Walkswithwind ~ Hutch makes a terrible choice for a lover. (28 pages)
  • "Spanish Gold" by tasha ~ Why is the Torino abandoned in a gully on the Indian Reservation? (39 pages)
  • "Summer Days" by James Kythe Walkswithwind (1 page) Starsky has a heart-to-heart talk with Hutch.
  • Nicholas (3 pages), "Fugitive Dreams."
  • Other universes include an X-Files story by Cody Nelson (4 pages), "Souvenir," Wild, Wild West story by Mary Millard (16 pages), "The Night of the Assault," and a Fugitive story by K.S.


Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

[A Marketable Commodity]: Why This Must be Read: The late and much-mourned Pat Jacquerie really was the person who put the Tarrant/Avon pairing on the map. "A Marketable Commodity" is a brothelfic--the commodity in question is Tarrant, who is captured by slave traders and purchased (with a bad check--well, he would) by Avon. From this unremarkable set-up comes a beautifully tender story combining extremely unsanctioned-by-the-Supreme-Court interrogation techniques and seduction-as-education. And Tarrant isn't, so to speak, going to take that lying down, so he gives it his substantial all to prove to Avon that Tarrant can give as good as he gets. [7]
[zine]: The front page is paper rather than card, with a clear plastic cover. The cover art is a colour image of seven head-and-shoulders drawings of Bodie, Doyle, Starsky, Hutch, Blake, Avon, and... erm... since there's a lot of Forever Knight in the zine, I'll guess it's a Forever Knight person. The font is different from the other Dark Fantasies zine I have: a serif one. Definitely fitted the mood better. There was the occasional typo and I did get the impression that perhaps the editors simply collated the stories rather than correcting words: there was a lay/lie confusion (a personal bugbear), and a pastime/pass-time, and one (non-Pros) author seemed more prone to this than others did ('might of', 'initial affects'). There were some formatting weirdnesses: a couple of occasions of two separate words run together (one pair of which actually made a valid word - most confusing), and two hyphenated words set with a gap between them, and a sentence with // marks around it which made me think perhaps it had been intended to be in italics.

There are three internal illustrations: all black and white pencil sketches, but not Pros: all three are Avon (from Blakes 7) bound in various ways. I cannot say I object. This gives you a general idea of the theme of the zine: lots of BDSM in this one. If that's not your thing, don't get this zine. There are only two non-BDSM Pros stories, and in one of those two, Bodie is tied to a bed...

Pros content:

The Devil's Apprentice, by Kitty Fisher. 39 pp. As with Dark Fantasies 2, I would have bought this zine for the Kitty Fisher story alone. As with the Dark Fantasies 2 story to which it is a sequel (The Alchemist's Measure), it is online. (The Devil's Apprentice: online) And as with that story, I have raved about it before: Reading Room discussion of Devil's Apprentice. For those not inclined to follow the link: it's a historical AU with Bodie and Doyle in Restoration England (okay, it starts in France), there's explicit (consensual) BDSM... and then it gets much harsher, as the pair of them end up in an embittered fiancée's clutches and face real torture, with some direct comparisons drawn between the two situations. It's by Kitty Fisher, so the writing is lovely. I find the ending ambiguous: can they continue as they were or no?

Doyle, Later, by Dee. 13 pp This is available online: Doyle, Later. It's a sequel to a very short story (also online: Without). It's post Wild Justice and slightly AU: Bodie has killed King Billy and departed CI5. Doyle spots him, is determined to extract an explanation, and decides to hold him somewhere until he gets answers. I like this largely because their communication is far from perfect: instead they are angry, hurt, frustrated, violent and dangerous, before they get anywhere near an explanation, let alone a resolution.

Bounds of Consociation, by James Kythe Walkswithwind. 3 pp The first of the stories which I think are zine-only. Doyle accidentally sees Bodie with a companion in the bedroom. We're not told what he sees. But it leads him to initiate a BDSM scene. I enjoyed the main part, but I couldn't really go with the set-up and Bodie's reaction to Doyle's overtures. To be honest, in the situation portrayed, I think instincts would have intervened and he'd have thumped Doyle.

For A Start, by Irish, 14 pp. Fairly involved plot, but at its base, Doyle becomes aware that Bodie really fancies him, and reacts poorly. Because Bodie is knocked out and loses a day's memory, Doyle has a chance to reconsider his initial reaction and respond differently, before he realises that Bodie, eventually, will remember Doyle's original reaction, and there will be trouble. There's quite a bit more to it than that, so don't think I have given it all away. Plenty to like here - Doyle's fantastic tactlessness which precipitates a plot turn is very Doyle, and the actual twists and turns are well-paced - but lots that I really don't go for. There are at least four mentions of Doyle crying, for example (argh!), and Bodie does too, and Bodie's initial "I fell in love with you" declaration doesn't strike me as very Bodie. Also, I found it hard to get into the right frame of mind after realising the first scene is Cowley and Doyle in a gay bar. There is a reason, but the story nearly lost me right there.

Getting Serious, by Catherine and Katharina, 16pp. A follow-up to a story in Dark Fantasies 3, which I do not have, but this one stands perfectly well on its own. Bodie and Doyle are in a fairly new relationship and venturing into BDSM territory. Doyle in particular is quite prickly about it and keeps trying to top from the bottom, and they have to work out a lot to do with trust. Some lovely touches: I particularly liked Doyle's defensive extra-macho swagger as they arrive in Soho, and also the casual use of the corner of the bedsheets - entirely plausible, I thought! I liked it a lot. I finished it and immediately wanted to read the earlier story. There were references that weren't fully fleshed out, and I got the strong impression from these unresolved aspects that there would be sequels. I hope there were.

Non-Pros content:

Forever Knight: four stories and three batches of poetry.

Argh. I really don't like vampires. I am the wrong person to review these. Most of the stories - The Sheeted Altar, Gone with the Blow...Job, and Of Night Dreams, all by Natasha Barry (who also writes in Pros) - and almost all of the poetry - by James Kythe Walkswithwind, and Vanessa Mullen - did nothing for me beyond confirm that I should not watch Forever Knight. One of the limericks did raise a real laugh, and one of the stories - The Anniversary, by Katy Deery, kept me reading in spite of myself. Don't really get the blood/orgasm thing, but I liked the choice of 'pieces of mortal life', which managed to avoid too many clichés, and I did like the ending.

Blakes 7

In The Dark by Erica Bloom 4 pp. Avon/Vila. Avon has been captured. Vila, on a rescue mission, finds Avon strung up, blindfolded, and wearily defiant after abuse. He can't resist the opportunity to take advantage. Two of the drawings in the zine go with this story.

Limericks by Vanessa Mullan: very silly!

A Marketable Commodity, by Pat Jacquerie, 20 pp Avon/Tarrant. Avon and Tarrant must fake a night of passion for the watchers they suspect exist as they wait to leave a planet. Avon is determined to get answers from Tarrant, and intersperses questions at critical moments. I had seen this online - it's here: A Marketable Commodity, Pat Jacquerie - and that and the Kitty Fisher fic would probably have persuaded me to get the zine, even before the lure of Pros fic I hadn't read. There are a couple of observations that I really liked - a comment about jockeying for position so intensely for so long that what difference would a single night make struck me as accurate - and Soolin's deadpan comment towards the end was a great change of pace. . Denouement, by Irish, 1 p Looks like a sort of AU of Gauda Prime. Very brief: can't say more than that!

"Mixed Media" - a grab bag

Fugitive Dreams, by K S Nicholas, The Fugitive, 2pp First-person, told by Sam, or Samuel, who I presume is the police guy pursuing Kimble. "That night I dreamed I was..." I think this is events from the film (it's a long time since I've seen it), but I am pretty sure the rest of the dream was not in the film.

Souvenir, by Cody Nelson, X-Files. 4pp Mulder/Krycek. Ooooh. Wow. Playing right at the edge here, with a belt around the neck. I liked this very much, but I do not think everyone will. That said, it is online: Souvenir, by Cody Nelson

The Night of the Assault, by Mary Millard, Wild Wild West, 10 pp, Artie/Jim. Another series (or film?) I know nothing of. Without doubt the gentlest story in the zine. h/c, but almost entirely the comfort, as Jim (who he?) looks after Artie (who he?). The reason it is in a zine called 'Dark Fantasies' is, I presume, the nature of the hurt (which happens before the story starts). There is absolutely nothing wrong with this story at all, but it didn't grab me at all either, and I didn't come away thinking I must learn more about the characters.

Starsky and Hutch:

Down Roads Long Past, by James Kythe Walkswithwind, 27 pp. H/c: Hutch is gay and beaten up by an abusive lover. Starsky moves in to look after him whilst he can't use his hands. Hutch weeps at least seven times, and Starsky once - is this typical of S&H? Dear me. More seriously, if I liked S&H, and such very comforty h/c, I think I might really like this story: Starsky's concern for Hutch comes over very clearly, as does an ability to know when Hutch isn't quite telling everything.

Summer Days by James Kythe Walkswithwind 1 p Effectively a monologue from Starsky. Probably means a lot more if you know who the other people referred to are. I could see what it was meant to achieve, but without the background, it didn't have the impact.

Spanish Gold, by tasha, 37 pp. Adventures in the desert, dodging nasty pair of villains who have designs on them. Hutch is injured. Starsky is protective. No crying (yay) and more sex. I much preferred this to the Pros/S&H/vampire one by the same author in Dark Fantasies 2, despite the lack of Pros: whether it was her grasp of this setting in this or my reaction to vampires in the other, I don't know.

So overall, I was keen - and glad - to read the Pros stories which are not online. I particularly enjoyed Getting Serious. And I enjoyed reading the other Pros stories on paper for the first time. I enjoyed some of the rest, too, particularly the B7 stories and Souvenir. Unlike with the Concupiscence zines, I noticed that the other stories I liked here were all to do with series which I had already seen. If you only really go for one of the fandoms in this, I'm not sure this is the best zine to get. If you like more than one, I suspect it's a better bet. [8]

Issue 5

table of contents with story summaries, click to read
cover of issue #5

Dark Fantasies 5 was published in March 1997 and contains 220 pages. It was published in 1997.

  • Vader’s Child by Elisabeth Stuart. Art by Cat. (STAR WARS) (38 pages) (He was more at home among the stars than among the living. There were moments, too many of them, when he felt as though he'd died in Cloud City. Or at the very least, lost his soul. He should have died. Death would have been preferable to living with the burden that his father was supposed to be his enemy?an enemy he was expected to kill.)
  • Tough and Tender by Natasha Berry(DECEPTIONS) (6 pages)
  • Apologize by DeLaine (HIGHLANDER, THE SERIES) (6 pages) ("Sorry...I must have dozed off," Methos stammered, starting to lever himself up. "Don't bother getting up on my account," a martial arts callused and clamped around Methos throat forcing him back down, as Duncan nudged his hip to move over. He sat down on the edge of the sofa, leaning across =he supine man to rest his arm along the back of the sofa, effectively trapping Methos.)
  • Penance by Paloma Manchada (DUE SOUTH) (28 pages) ("You said you wanted a penance. You remember that?" Another nod from the increasingly worried cop. "Did you mean that, Ray? Are you ready to do penance?" "This is too weird, Fraser. Tell me what you're doing." Fraser just repeated his last question. "Are you ready to do penance, Ray?")
  • Ghosts Of Future Passed by Natasha Berry (PROFESSIONALS) (2 pages)
  • No Introduction Needed by Pat Jacquerie, art by Whitby27 (BLAKE’S 7) (3 pages)
  • The Devil Is A Woman by Gingersnapp (PROFESSIONALS) (2 pages)
  • Closer by Richel Darrah (LAW & ORDER) (4 pages)
  • Closer Still by Richel Darrah (LAW & ORDER) (4 pages)
  • Waiting For The Clouds by Cara Loup (STAR WARS) (38 pages) (Well fucked and far from home, was his first thought. The Falcon's subliminal music had stopped. Silence wrapped around him like something dank and sticky creeping up his arms.)
  • Past Gemini (THE KRAYS) by Natasha Berry( (3 pages)
  • Innocence Lost, and, In A Sense, Gained by Cat, art by Cat (THE HAT SQUAD/PROFESSIONALS) (30 pages) (Andrew breathed in the atmosphere. It was crowded and hot, leather and macho, except for a kid looking lost and panicky at the bar. Not a kid. Older. But he looked nice, clean and innocent. The young man was holding his glass of beer nervously ,sipped repeatedly from it, darting looks left and right, looking so sense that, although he was not without appeal, the other patrons of the bar had been cautious about approaching him. "First time chicken," Andrew thought to himself with smug anticipation.)
  • Good Enough by Mireille (DUE SOUTH) (20 pages) (That long moment right before the fist hit his stomach, the backhand slammed into his mouth and sent him reeling, choking on blood and tears and helplessness...no point in begging, he won't stop...no point in praying, Ma prays all the time and God doesn't ever help her, why would He help you?...just take it like a man, sure it hurts, but the hurt will go away after a while...)
  • Did Someone Say Bondage by Gingersnapp (PROFESSIONALS) (4 pages) ("Starvin', yeah!" Bodie laughed and grabbed at him again. He caught only air as Doyle raced back through the room towards the kitchen. "Make me supper and I'll be your slave." Bodie vowed.)
  • Sole Victory by Irish, , art by Whitby27 (BLAKE’S 7) (6 pages)
  • Bedside Manner by Natasha Berry ((PROFESSIONALS) (2 pages) (It was too close to the vitals. I knew it, and I hated it. Worse of all, I knew it would spread even further. It was all Bodie's fault, anyway. Him and his lock-jawed sense of adventure. Sometimes he deserved to be flogged, did Bodie. Especially by his loving partner. And I take great joy in fantasizing this. A pressie, if you like. One without accompanying card.)
  • Learning To Play The Game by Alexis Rogers (VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA) (6 pages)

Interior Art


Issue 6

cover of issue #6

Dark Fantasies 6 was published in 1999 and has 186 pages.

  • "The King's Shilling" (Highlander/Sharpe's Rifles) (He stood on the bank of the Seine and stared at the barge, floating at anchor. So this was where the bastard lived. He was going to kill Duncan MacLeod, take his head, but first make him sorry he'd ever lived. It hadn't been too terribly hard to locate the man. Now he would have his revenge.)
  • "Firewalk" by Susan Cutter (Blake's 7) (He strolled over towards Avon, and stopped at what he hoped was a great enough distance not to trigger the smaller man's touchy sense of personal space. "You look like you're working hard," he said, making his voice as friendly and warm as possible.)
  • "Alternate Hell: Alternate Life:" by Tattoo Moon (Blake's 7) (What the hell! I'm looking at myself. How? No, I'm not. This isn't a mirror. This isn't anything familiar. I'm looking at another "me". He, whoever he is, this Blake, looks like me--but he's not me. He's even got the same scarred eye I have, so he's me as I am now. He's laughing. What's funny? And he's evil. How do I know that? When do I wake from this dream? How the hell did I get this sick? Is this a nightmare? What is this? This can't be real.)
  • "Un Seul Etre Vous Manque..." (Professionals) (Bodie was dead. All life on earth, every single person or animal living now, was going to die one day or another.)
  • "This Could Be the Start of Something" (Professionals) (Bodie usually had other things on his mind besides food. Really, he did. Occasionally his mind was occupied by things besides his partner, as well. But a perfect day for Bodie meant food and Doyle. Or food with Doyle, since he couldn't have food and Doyle. Not yet, anyway. But he was growing on the poor sod by leaps and bounds. He could see it clearly. Unfortunately, if he could see it, so could others.)
  • "First Kill" by Irish (Professionals) (Ruth Pettifer hurried around the corner at the end of the street, ducked into an alleyway and promptly emptied the contents of her stomach. Christ, she'd thought the debrief would never end. Thought she'd disgrace herself all over Cowley's shoes.)
  • "Consequence of Withholding Evidence" by B.B. (Sentinel) (I knew Jim was still angry about my withholding evidence in the case just completed. When we left the precinct Jim put an arm around my shoulders and whispered in my ear. "We'll discuss your actions during this case when we get home.")
  • "Crying in the Rain" by Gwendolen (Golden Eye) (Alec Trevelyan had been gone for over five months and only now, seeing him again, did James Bond realize that he'd missed his friend. And looking at him, he felt a quickening of his pulse. Dressed in his favorite black, comfortable clothes that showed off his slender and graceful build he looked seductive and dangerous, but his blond hair and mischievous smile made him look like a schoolboy.)
  • "Craving" by Natasha Barry (Lost Boys) (It was just another photo shoot, nothing special about it, but he felt uncomfortable anyway. There was tingling throughout his nervous system, and Michael didn't know why.)
  • "Mutatis Mutandis" by James Kythe Walkswithwind (Starsky & Hutch) (The huddled mass of screaming cries wavered in his vision, then he steeled himself and snapped his wrist again. The soft leather whip came down, and he watched as it landed with strict precision on the exact spot for which he'd aimed.)
  • "Under Control" by Steve Rogerson (Blake's 7) (There was dull thudding pain inside his head. It greeted his return to consciousness and made him wish for oblivion. "It must have been a good night," thought Gan, and immediately wished he hadn't as the pain sharpened. He tried to move but his body wouldn't respond. Slowly he opened his eyes.)
  • Poetry/filks by Vanessa Mullen and Garnet (Blake's 7)
  • other material from Young Guns, Star Trek: The Original Series, and Hard Boiled - the movie

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6

Here is something completely different, a multimedia zine that is very definitely slash-- plus one B7 het adult story in this issue! The het story is by none other than our own Steve Rogerson, and it's very dark, though with a certain black humor (involving cricket, with thanks to Harriet!) as well. The first draft of the story (now somewhat revised) was originally posted to the Space City list, where it squicked a number of readers including yours truly. Susan Beth, in a very perceptive review, pointed out that that's probably because the story is based not on the conventions of female-written fan fiction, but rather on men's adventure fiction: the hero is tortured by the villain, and eventually dispatches said villain by an appropriately similar method. Post-Pressure Point, Gan is worked over by Servalan, until he eventually manages to take his revenge. I think it's the only time the G/Se pairing has actually been written, although Barbara T did suggest it in her classic article on "Pairings" some years ago.

Susan Cutter's excellent "Firewalk" is an Oblaque-type A/B dealing with the sexual aftereffects of Blake's conditioning by the Federation, and the ingenious if somewhat unscrupulous means by which Avon copes. Definitely Stiffie material, IMO. I love the way that a happy ending (well, at least by B7 standards-- they're both alive, still on speaking terms, and indeed reasonably pleased with each other at the end) is brought about by the fact that Avon is more than a bit of a bastard-- just what Blake needs under the circumstances. The story is told from Blake's POV and is very sympathetic to him.

"Alternate Realities" by Tattoo Moon is a long and very, very strange A/B story, also from Blake's POV. Indeed, the first of its three sections is told in first person, by (our?) Blake himself-- one of two Blakes in this story. I'll call him Blake1. Some years PGP, Blake1, who is still fighting the Federation, falls very ill and in a feverish delirium meets-- himself. Another Blake, that is, from an alternate universe where both Blake and Avon are, if not exactly evil, considerably more unscrupulous than the versions of them we know. This Blake2 forces Blake1 to trade places with him. Blake1 then finds himself in a universe where his double has won the war but lost the peace. That is, he has proven to be a very inefficient, possibly corrupt President (we never hear the exact details) and is now being forced to step down in favor of the local Avon.

Avon2 sends Blake into exile on Horizon, supposedly to work as an engineer but actually to be forced into sexual slavery to a brutal fellow prisoner, Onyxx, in a prison work camp. However, after two years in the work camp-- which do wonders for Blake's physique if not for his morale-- it is revealed that the whole thing was set up by Avon, who wanted Blake trained for his own use. Poor Blake1 is distressed by the contrast between cruel Avon2 and his idealized memory of his beloved Avon1; but eventually, over the course of a highly erotic, heavy SM relationship, he does fall in love with Avon2.

Soon after Blake1 has managed to come to terms with his existence as Avon2's slave, Blake2 shows up again and once again forces a switch. Blake2, after giving himself another chance with both the Presidency and Avon by moving into Blake1's universe, has now managed to mess it all up once again, and again makes his escape at Blake1's expense. When Blake1 returns to his own universe, he inds that he is about to be executed for Blake2's crimes, and Avon1 now hates him, although he is still attracted to him sexually.

I can't describe the ending without giving too much away, but the two Blakes do meet for a third and final time, with a neatly science-fictional conclusion that I found very satisfying.

This is a fascinating if flawed story. I thought that the first section, in first person Blake POV, was extremely well-written and gripping; the other two sections, IMO, could have used a bit more editing and tightening up. There are also some small things that bothered me, such as the use of too-cute names for minor characters (e.g. guards Tartarus and Styx on spaceship Charon), and the author's editorial comments at the beginnings of the sections, pointing out things like the POV change. I'd rather find out for myself.

I'll be interested to hear what others think of this story. There is a lot of very graphic, very violent sex, which will not be to everyone's taste (especially since Blake is the sufferer and not Avon!). I think, though, that it's necessary in order to get a feel for Blake1's confused state of mind after all that Avon2 puts him through. And I really like the handling of the alternate universes, the personalities of the alternate Avons and Blakes, and the way they all change and learn as they interact with each other; very well and believably done, IMO.

Additional B7 content in the zine includes a gen A-V poem, appropriate to the theme of dark aspects of fannish universes because it deals with Orbit; and, in the opposite vein, two lighthearted filks on the joys of Avon-torture by Vanessa Mullen. I especially like "My Favorite Things" :).

Most of the zine is unillustrated, but there are very nice photo montage illos for "Alternative Realities" that are uncredited but were, I suspect, done by the author. I particularly like the one facing p. 66, which combines the eye of the tortured Blake from "The Way Back" with a nude male figure of appropriate build-- what Blake might look like after two years of hard labor, lying back submissively with one arm thrown over his face-- and the face of a very cold-eyed late Avon (from "Blake," when Vila asks him what happened to Tarrant and he refuses to answer). It fits the mood of the story beautifully.

Overall, recommended, especially for A/B fans (no Tarrant to speak of, and only a smidgen of Vila). [9]

Issue 7

cover of issue #7

Dark Fantasies 7 was published in 2000 and contains 185 pages.

  • Selfish Acts by Emily Veinglory (Sherlock Holmes/Dracula) (18 pages) (Night falls in winter's London like despair on the soul of a dying man. The gloomy streets add their weight to homesickness and hunger so that it is only fitting when the rain begins to fall. Count Dracula instructed his coachman to take his time. When the horse moved at a fast clip he found the sound of their shod hooves on the cobbles too jarring to his acute senses. So as the coach rolled and swayed on the slow journey, he found his thoughts drifting to long lost and happier days. It was almost as if his memories were brought to life when he heard the soft strains of a violin muted, but clear, in the darkness. He tapped once for the coach to stop, and lowered the window shade. The song called out like his soul's voice in its isolation and loneliness. Crying not in desperation, but in resignation to a long and loveless fate. Like a wolf howling in the wilderness, not expecting to be heard. 18 pages) (from the writer: "Yes, I wrote Sherlock Holmes/Dracula slash. Why outrage just one fandom when you can outrage two at the same time? But seriously, it needed to be done. I also have an unpublished sequel lurking somewhere on my hard-drive." [10]
  • Nothing by January Garnet (Blake's 7) ("Oh, stars, Avon," Blake gasped as he flooded Avon with his cum. He was nearly out of breath and obviously not coherent. Lost in the wonderful sensation of orgasm, he wasn't thinking, he couldn't think. Sex was something he thoroughly enjoyed, whether he was having it often or rarely. These Liberator days he was having it regularly. 13 pages)
  • Strange Seas by Natasha Barry (Miami Vice) ("Blond and really beautiful," the gentleman with the telescope sighed, putting his gleaming smile on hold for just that moment. He'd been observing the nude figure for some time, without the fellow's knowledge, of course. They were merely two ships at sea, his much larger yacht quite capable of eclipsing--swallowing whole--the boat which remained steady as its master roamed the deck, finally lazing upon it. 16 pages)
  • Space Captain by Erika Bloom (Blake's 7) (With a groan of relief, Vila heaved Tarrant's body onto the bed. The pilot might be skinny, but there was an awful lot of him, and dragging that dead weight from the downstairs bar up to the room Vila had secretly rented had been no picnic--especially when he had to balance Tarrant over one shoulder and carry his tool kit in the other hand. Vila wondered for a split-second what had possessed him to set up this project in the first place. Then he cheered up. After all, the hard part was over now. It would be all fun--well, almost all fun--from here on in. 12 pages)
  • The Eyes of Naboo by Sue (Star Wars Phantom Menace) (Obi-Wan woke with a start, sweat beaded on his forehead, disorientated as the first light of a new day spun dappled patterns of shade and light through the breeze brushed trees. It had been several months since he had last had the dream. His cock throbbed hard with need and leaked profusely. The vision had never been this powerful before. 6 pages)
  • Hot and Cold by Natasha Barry (Star Trek) (Imprisoned on the Orion ship, James Kirk was finding it difficult facing up to his lack of alternatives. Ordinarily, in any given situation, no matter how desperate the circumstance, he'd contrive some action, some winning combination, that would route him from his problem. With the Orion slavers, nothing he tried gained him anything, except, occasionally, their amusement. For instance, he'd even tried bluffing his way out of his imprisonment, swearing he was a Klingon operative, and his return to Klingon space would be disastrous for his cover as a Federation office--laughter. He'd tried a variation on the--now infamous, aboard the Enterprise--card game, Fizzbin, which went down just as well. He'd finally realized the problem was, he was in no position to attempt anything, except a bluff, and when it came to bluffing, he was in the company of the masters of the universe. All he could do was sit and wait. 56 pages)
  • Jumpstart by Garnet (X-Files/Highlander) (Me and my doll were walking down the streets arm-in-arm and it had just quit raining and we were playing around with hailing a cab, when a big black car came out of nowhere and slammed to a stop, half up on the sidewalk in front of us. A few grim-faced guys jumped out and one of them shoved the girl away from me and the next thing I knew they had yanked my hands behind my back and shoved the barrel of a gun into my gut and me into the nearest wall. They had searched me quickly and roughly, scraping the side of my face in the process, before pulling a hood down over my head and hauling me off with them. That car of theirs tearing away a moment or two later with me crammed between a couple of bodies in the backseat and my wrists bound together now with something that felt like a kind of thick wire, the whole time that gun still poking into me, hard enough to bruise. 22 pages)
  • Stars and Garters by Garnet (X-Files/Highlander) (There's this guy, see, and he works for the FBI. And this other guy and he used to work for the FBI. Kinda sorta. You see, he really worked for this other guy on the side, a real mean old sucker, and was just pretending to be an honest and upright man of the law. He'd never ever really been on the side of angels, I figure, but he musta been pretty good at pulling it off, 'cause he certainly fooled the first guy. And that guy he got really pissed off for being screwed over and lied to like that. Really pissed off. 37 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

I'm doing this review because I have a Blake's 7 story in this. It's "Nothing" by January Garnet and features B/A. It's BDSM, as are several other stories in this zine. Of course, I recommend the story, but only if you don't mind the concept.

The other B7 in the zine are a two page Avon poem by Garnet (only one name & no relation) which is very nice and actually could be in a genzine just as easily as not, and "Space Captain" by Erika Bloom which is a T/V story.

The rest of the zine features various fandoms. Captain Kirk and Koloth are in a very long story called "Hot and Cold" by Natasha Barry. The poet Garnet has, also, written two X-Files/Highlander crossovers, both of which feature Cory Raines (whoever he is) who happens to look like Krycek. The titles are "Jumpstart" and "Stars and Garters." Sue (another one name author) wrote a Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan story called "The Eyes of Naboo." There's Miami Vice in "Strange Seas" by Natasha Barry, and perhaps the strangest one of all, a Sherlock Holmes/Dracula crossover called "Selfish Acts" by Emily Veinglory. [11]
Dark Fantasies continues its tradition of stories "not for the faint of heart." This issue, #7, has both consensual and non- consensual B7 SM stories. "Nothing" is what Blake is required to say when he finds himself submitting sexually to Avon, after being prepared for the experience by an original male character, in a scenario set up by Vila, who suspects-- correctly-- what Blake really wants. "Space Captain" is a darker story, dealing with an outright rape by a nasty version of Vila. Having had his way secretly with Avon in an earlier story, he now arranges for clandestine enjoyment of Tarrant as well. Vila fans may not like this one, but fans who want to see Tarrant suffer-- whether because they like him or because they don't!-- will probably enjoy it. (Remember the discussion on this list a while ago on the potential use of Pylene 50 as a date-rape drug? Well, here it is, or something very like it, complete with the muscle- relaxing function.) I haven't yet read the non-B7 stories, but at a glance they appear to be well-written. The zine is very attractively laid out and is illustrated with some cleverly selected photographs, showing the characters with assorted appropriate expressions. I especially liked the sly-looking Vila and sweetly clueless Tarrant for "Space Captain." [12]

Issue 8

cover of issue #8

Dark Fantasies 8 was published 2001 and has 200 pages.

  • “Future Shock” by Sue-Anne Hartwick
  • "Redemption" by Gilrain (Starsky & Hutch) (story of love and commitment)
  • "Liberating Enterprises" by Jasmyn Flynt (B7/Star Trek: TOS) ("Captain Kirk of the ISS Enterprise was trying to avoid two Klingon ships and didn't need any distractions. Blake was grabbed by three hefty security guards and manhandled off the bridge, despite his protests that he could walk without help. Spock and Avon quietly monitored the situation and data, along with Uhura. Everyone was tense, even Spock.")
  • "Transitions" by Tasha, SH, Forever Knight, Professionals crossover ("Once through the door, he was hit in the face with icy cold water. Immediately his vampire instincts reacted to a perceived danger. His eyes turned gold and his canines extended almost painfully. Standing there with water dripping down his chin onto his crisp clean uniform blouse and through a reddish haze, he was startled to see Bodie behind Cowley's desk with a rifle—no, not quite a rifle, but a crossbow! "What the fuck!" was the first thought to run through his mind. Then he knew!")
  • "Zombie" by Garnet (X-Files/Highlander)
  • "Disciplinary Action" by Garnet (X-Files) ("Krycek's stomach hurt and he was cold and miserable and wondering if he'd ever get his life back under control. His control. Not somebody else's. Sure, he had been free for a little while Or as free as anyone could be who was on the run, always looking over their shoulder, just trying to survive. Knowing the whole time that there was nowhere really that he could hide for long, nowhere that they wouldn't eventually find him. He couldn't remember the last time he'd had a good night's sleep. The last time he'd enjoyed what he was eating.")
  • other contents: Queer as Folk (British), Dr. No, Independence Day, Partridge Family

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

[Zombie]: This short story takes place—kinda sorta—in the X-Files/Highlander crossover universe that includes stories previously published in Dark Fantasies 7. In the first story, "Jumpstart," a case of mistaken identity results in Fox Mulder sleeping with Cory Raines, after which Cory runs into the real Krycek in "Stars and Garters" and has his wicked way with him. Another, yet unpublished story, after that results in Cory rescuing Krycek in Siberia, where Krycek lost his left arm and nearly his life. Cory then tries to set the two of them up together, meddlesome Immortal that he is. However, this story is not how I want the series to eventually turn out, so just think of it as a somewhat nasty offshoot of the real timeline if you would. [13]

References

  1. from Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  2. from Suzan Lovett art ... Help needed
  3. from Crack Van, posted by [[Exectrix], October 27, 2003
  4. In 1994, Sandy Herrold posted this review to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
  5. from Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #6. The reviewer in gives it "4 trees." The reviewers in "Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?" rated zines on a 1-5 tree/star scale. See that page for more explanation.
  6. from [[moonlightmead] on December 11, 2007 at Discovered in a Livejournal; reference link
  7. from Crack Van, recced by Executrix, October 24, 2003
  8. from moonlightmead on December 7, 2011 at Discovered in a Livejournal; reference link
  9. from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  10. Gay Sherlock Holmes
  11. from Joyce Bowen at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  12. from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  13. from Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
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