Fire and Ice (Blake's 7 zine)

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Zine
Title: Fire and Ice
Publisher:
Editor(s): Kathy Resch
Date(s): 1990-to at least 2005
Series?:
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links:
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

Fire and Ice is a slash Blake's 7 anthology in the Blake/Avon pairing.

Artwork has been uploaded to Fanlore with the publisher's permission.

Issue 1

Fire and Ice 1 was published in 1990 and contains 148 pages. It was the winner of a 1991 Fan Q. The zine was co-edited by Kathy Resch and Melody Clark.

issue #1, front cover by Gayle F
issue #1, back cover by Gayle F

Fiction

Poetry

  • art by Gayle F and Phoenix

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

No reviews up on Fanlore, so I thought I'd bite that bullet.

Actually, that's not true. I thought - 'Fanlore says it got a FanQ award! and various things from this zine appear in the Space City rec list! I must get it now!'

I forgot that the SC rec list and I disagree quite a bit...

First thing to say about this zine (if you're me), is that I really like the way it's presented. Hardly any inner art, but each fic has a B/W frontispiece, which is a really nice idea and works really well in making the zine seem like a unified whole/a finished piece (which is particularly necessary since we jump between different fonts and formatting decisions).

My copy doesn't have the explicit art up on Fanlore or the PreRaph!Blake on the back cover... I am a little disappointed. [snip]

Anyway, it's a nicely presented zine - mostly in two-columns, though sometimes not, and I like the cover (although I preferred the back cover, which I do not have! Woe is me).

Second Sight by Pam Rose

So, this is my favourite one that isn't on the internet. To be fair to it - that sounds like faint praise, when what I really mean is 'this is a really good fic!' It's mostly PWB with a 'The Way Back from Avon's POV' framing narrative - this latter bit I could have lived without, although it has some nice Avon-Vila and Avon-Jenna moments. The actual PWB section is some of the best PWB stuff I've read - Blake is recruiting Avon for the revolution, but keeps accidentally forgetting to tell him that's what's going on. Cue big blow out, which is nicely done. Almost uniquely for zine-era fic the sex is merely implied rather than explicit, but it doesn't really need to be there.

My problem with this fic is that like so many amnesia fics - it's missing its ending where we find out the consequences of what has happened. Just saying 'the consequences' are 'the show as you watched it' isn't satisfying unless you 100% believe this specific premise. And it's good - but not quite that good.

Oddly enough, thinking about it, I'd probably accept the ending as written without the framing narrative - if what happens is Blake gets taken away and brainwashed and Avon thinks 'well, I never want to see him again!!' then there's enough dramatic irony to make it work and close it down. But the fact that we see Avon looking at Blake in the cell makes me think there will be something else/that we're leading into a larger story. And we're not.

That's a harsh complaint, though, and basically, as I say, I liked this one.

Uncertain Changes by Sylvia Knight

Now again - let's be very fair to this zine: 'Uncertain Changes' is one of my favourite B/As. It most definitely made the list. If I hadn't read it already, I would have been very pleased to have come across it now. But it is online already... so I'd already read it and rather cruelly therefore I count its presence more as a minus sign (no - spending money on something already available!), than a positive.

Since Molly wrote the rec on our list, though, I will use this opportunity to say a few things about the fic. Obviously it's good - I've implied that already. One of the things I like most about it is the uncertainty at the beginning - the way the distraction and then the look upwards, eyes meeting, 'oh fuck, we both just saw that' is described is both poetic and so so awkward - as a device to make you think 'what is going to happen now????' it really works. And a similar sort of thing happens with the second section, with them struggling... not to misunderstand each other, or to misunderstand each other on purpose if it would be convenient. The urge to make things easier for themselves by not going for it is clearly so strong (and Avon reveals what happened in 'Gambit' like a weapon to keep Blake away), but Blake fights it - and it is very exciting (not just in a sexy way). I absolutely love it.

[snip]

I love the ending. It's so lovely and so beautifully timed. Excellent stuff. Do very strongly recommend.

Reviews of the other fics in the zine on Dreamwidth.[1]

Issue 2

Fire and Ice 2 was published in January 1993 and contains 107 pages. The front cover is by Phoenix, the frontispiece by Gayle F, and additional art is by Cat.

front cover of issue #2, Phoenix: "Nice cover by Phoenix - armwrestling. Avon is looking Wearily Affectionate and Blake is looking Obstinately Gentle. I like this better than the other Phoenix stuff I've seen - it looks more low-key and intimate."[2]

Link to the flyer.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

See reactions and reviews for Pedestal.
See reactions and reviews for Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know.
See reactions and reviews for Some Guys Have All the Luck.
See reactions and reviews for Planetfall.
See reactions and reviews for Melancholy.
See reactions and reviews for The Point.
See reactions and reviews for Rescue.
See reactions and reviews for Do Not Go Gentle.
See reactions and reviews for Splendid Isolation.
See reactions and reviews for A Trip Down Memory Lane.
See reactions and reviews for To Hell Among the Rogues.
See reactions and reviews for It Was Real for the Children.
[zine]: This is as ever all A/B (not a minus point as far as I'm concerned), and more romantic than otherwise (which may be - there are a couple of writers I like for romantic A/B slash but the Floods of Tears school doesn't do much for me). Most of the shortest stories (4 pages or less) strike me as sketches that should have been filled out, but YM May As Always V. [See individual fiction pages for Predatrix's reactions.] [3]
[zine]: My third Fire & Ice and the first one that I don't really love anything in - that's a bit of a blow since the other two F&I were 90% perfect. Anyway, I do like some of the fics here. But not most. [See individual fiction pages for Aralias' reactions.] [4]
[zine]: General comments: The first _Fire and Ice_ was one of the first zines of any kind that I read and I loved it. (All B/A. Yum. B/A is vastly superior to A/V and any other variants IMO. So there). I was not quite so keen on this issue, though. Maybe I'm jaded. So I'm just going to summarize the stories in order of appearance instead of naming my favorites as I did with Forgotten Seven. It does occur to me that plot summarizes are probably unnecessary -- the plot in any slash is the relationship; how do these men get along, or not get along. [See individual fiction pages for Sue C.'s reactions.] [5]

Issue 3

Fire and Ice 3 was published in May 1995 and contains 143 pages. The front cover is by Phoenix. The zine and the art for the front cover won a 1995 STIFfie Award. This zine contains no interior art.

front cover of issue #3, Phoenix, won a 1995 STIFfie Award

Link to the flyer is here.

From the editorial: "I would like to thank all the contributors very much for their long patience in waiting for their work to see print. I had decided against doing FIRE AND ICE III last year, after I'd only received a small handful of submissions. But as soon as I announced cancellation of the zine, stories poured in!"

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

Fire and Ice is a B7 slash zine edited by Kathy Resch that prints only Avon/Blake stories. It's one of my favourite zines, but then Avon/Blake is my favourite pairing.

The issue #3 cover is by Phoenix and is the best drawing I've seen her do. Avon and Blake are wrestling and you quite literally can't tell if they are going to kiss one another or throw the other to the floor, which to my way of thinking sums up the relationship perfectly. The zine is comb-bound with 143 pages.

The Gift by Pat Terra - a follow on to 'Deliverence' in Avon Calling #2 - 4th season Avon buys a slave on Domo who turns out to be Blake. Fairly good (although I preferred the original story) with bondage style sex.

Wild, Beautiful and Damned by Gemini - Stiffie winner for best B7 story 1996 - Avon and Blake trip over the local customs when they visit the planetof Akhaia. They didn't realise that partner swopping with your host included men and what's more, Avon has no intention of sleeping with anyone.

Set the Night on Fire by Riley Cannon - a short PWP, and a very nice one indeed. A friendly first encounter while everyone else is on shore leave.

Deliver us from Evil by Willa Shakespere - Willa's writing has got steadily better over time and this is a very well written story indeed. It's an AU set after 'Deliverence'. Blake and Cally overpower Ensor's son and head back for Cephlon, but Ensor's son learns that Blake is in love with one of the people left on Cephlon. Later on, he realises that this has to be Avon and his revelation causes a major flare up. This story has well drawn characters as well as a lovely Blake/Avon relationship. Although Ensor only appears briefly in the story, he feels absolutely spot on. Jenna is treated well and Cally, Vila and Gan feel like themselves too.

Gorgeous by Gloria Lancaster and R. Olivia Brown - Avon and Blake go undercover to meet a possible contact. What they don't initially realise is that Orac didn't tell them the significance of the outfits they were wearing.

Avon finds that he has to pose as Blake's 'companion', a role that inevitably requires him to sleep with Blake eventually. Although the story has a couple of trivial flaws, overall it is highly enjoyable. I got a lot of fun out of watching Avon forced to pretend to be a brainless piece of fluff!

Though Memories Die, Love Remains by Leah Starsky - Payter Fen (one of the boys Blake was accused of molesting) comes after Blake and claims that he is in love with him. Avon, who is having perfectly satisfactory affair with Blake, is forced to give it up while Blake tries to convince Payter that he can't sleep with him because he prefers women. Everything is sorted out happily in the end.

Trusting to Fate by Tara - Avon and Blake feel spot on in this PWP - the dialogue is great and I do so miss that in some slash writing where the cut and thrust gets lost in the romance. This story reminds me of xBryn Lantry in style (that's a compliment) although there are some differences.

Legacy by Tara - A sad, bittersweet PWP, and one I like very much. Avon finds Blake briefly after Star One.

Sentence by Katy Deery - Stiffie Winner for best B7 short story 1996 - an unusual plot (which is always a bonus for me). After Terminal, everyone except Blake and Avon are dead and Avon has Blake hooked up to the machine that creates illusions. Blake is helplessly lost in a fantasy world that is totally under Avon's control.

Avon, My Avon by Vanessa Mullen - After Gauda Prime, Avon is placed on a ship that takes him to the world where Blake's clone once lived. There he meets Blake who tells him that it was actually the clone who died on GP. This story is told from Blake's point of view, and doesn't follow the usual path of 'it was the clone' stories. (The writer was trying to be clever with italics to distinguish thought from speech- maybe she should have left them out as they aren't really necessary and are a bit distracting.)

Finally Come Home by Irish - A badly injured Avon virtually works himself to death for an unsympathetic Blake after GP. Contains one of my favourite lines when Blake, reflecting that he'd been waiting for Avon with open arms only to get shot by him asks Avon, "How did *you* become the victim here?" A beautiful summery on Blake's part of how sympathies always seem to be with Avon even when he was the one who shot an unarmed man... There's a happy ending though.

New Day Dawning by JMR - I'm not so keen on this one. It's another 'Avon as victim' PGP and I dislike an Avon who keeps bursting into tears. Besides, Blake is miraculously uninjured, Avon is in hospital and the Feds have vanished as if by magic. This just isn't my sort of story, although if you happen to like Avon and Blake both shedding buckets as they realise their feelings for one another, then I'm sure you'll love it.

What Price Victory? by Catherine - Catherine and I once decided to try writing stories using the same bit of poetry as inspiration - Oscar Wilde's Reading Gaol. This is one of the stories that resulted, the other is in Forbidden Star. It's bleak, but then I like bleak.

The Ghost of Gauda Prime by Natash Solten - This is a real favorite of mine. (It was nominated for a Stiffie even if it didn't win) Years after Gauda Prime, a man called Blake, who sufferes from severe memory problems meets a dark-haried man whom he is sure he recognises from somewhere. As he falls in love with Avon, fragments of his memory start to return, but Avon has no memory of the past.

There is poetry in this zine. I didn't enjoy any of it, but then I'm biased towards verse that actually rhymes and scans.

Overall I heartily recommend this zine, there are no real turkeys and the good ones are extremely good. [6]
yay! fire&ice! the zine of my people - and actually not only is this zine appreciated because it only has fics that are about my ship in it, it is appreciated because almost all of them are really good. having come from 'southern comfort' where one and a half blake/avon fics were really good (and the one was arguably gen that used blake/avon as a metaphor), i really do appreciate it. also... there are lots of silly tropes, and i love a silly trope.

blake/avon trope counter (out of a possible 14 fics in this zine): fake relationship: 4 crying due to too much love: 4+ (i expect i missed some) slave fic: 3 negotiations to help the cause: 3 confession of love in the face of death: 3 forced to share a bed: 3 avon's incredible beauty: 2 showers: 2 hurt/comfort: 2+ shore leave/staying on the ship while everyone else is on shore leave: 1 virtual reality: 1 clone!blake: 1 amnesia: 1 bondage: 1 (not enough) unnecessary rape: 1 (more than enough)

[discussions of individual fics cut for length, but can all be found by following the ref link.] [7]

Issue 4

Fire and Ice 4 was published in 1998 and contains 194 pages.

cover of issue #4

You can read the flyer here.

  • Triptych by Predatrix 1
  • Echoes of Betrayal by Susan Riaz (Kerr Avon, busy with work on the Aquitar Project, has no interest in the activities of the Freedom Party - until the day the leader of the Freedom Party makes an unexpected visit...) 2
  • Behind Your Eyes by Khylara 16
  • As Time Goes By by Judith Proctor &
  • Vanessa by Mullen 17
  • Clonemaster by Pat Terra (Avon feels the mission to rescue the clone Blake and his companion Rachel is yet one more trap. What he doesn't calculate is the profound effect the Blake clone will have on him personally...) 26
  • In Way of Farewell by Pat Jacquerie (In an elegant hotel, in an idyll away from the Liberator, Blake and Avon deal with the subtleties and complexities of their feelings towards each other.) 39
  • Salvation by Khylara 51
  • Debts by Susan CutterBlake agrees to any sort of scene Avon desires. But guilt and pain sometimes demand unexpected types of expiation...) 52
  • Caste Games by Leah S. 60
  • Hostage Heart by Leah S. 61
  • Too Much Love Will Kill You by Catherine S. 63
  • Without Mercy by Aurora 71
  • Slave to the Whip by Vanessa Mullen 72
  • White Knight by Willa Shakespeare 73
  • The Honest Man by Bryn Lantry (Post the Andromedan War, Blake suddenly encounters a much-changed Avon in a POW camp...) 100
  • Aftermath: Terminal by Khylara 104
  • Divide and Conquer by Willa Shakespeare (In the wild escape from Star One, the Liberator crew is rescued - by an Andromedan ship, heading home - a trip which will take approximately 1,485 years. Naturally, the Andromedans are interested in their "specimens" - particularly their reproductive habits...) 105
  • Memories by Gene S. Delapenia 164
  • Challenge by Vanessa Mullen 166
  • Outwitted by Willa Shakespeare (Post Gauda Prime. Servalan is determined to force Avon to recreate the technology of the Liberator and Scorpio, and uses Blake as hostage against any rebellion by Avon. An excellent plan - except that Avon is indifferent to the fate of the hostage...) 167
  • Truth by Khylara 194

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

FIRE & ICE IV Part of a series featuring good-quality all A/B slash stories. Taking the stories in order -

ECHOES OF BETRAYAL by Susan Riaz Quite nice pre-series story, though a little hard to believe (though that could be my own rejection of the idea that Blake and Avon knew each other then), and therefore not very involving.

CLONEMASTER by Pat Terra: Nothing wrong with the writing, but for some reason clone stories rarely work for me. Possibly because the clone is usually just Blake with the fire, passion and, yes, bull-headedness, the things that make him fascinating, left out. That seems to be my problem with this story, but Avon and the real Blake are quite well-done.

AS TIME GOES BY by Judith Proctor and Vanessa Mullen: Three PWP scenes, each set after one of the TV episodes and exploring how what happened in the episode affected the unfolding relationship between the two men. Atmospheric, beautifully quiet. I liked it, especially the second scene (set after The Web).

IN WAY OF FAREWELL by Pat Jacquerie: By the author of the only A/T I have ever liked...but this felt oddly flavourless, with the characters and their relationship far too placid, leached of the fire and brilliance that makes them - and it - unique. Others may like it - it just didn't feel like Blake and Avon to me.

DEBTS by Susan Cutter: A darker story, centring around a rather twisted and nasty view of Avon's sexuality and his relationships with Gan and Blake (set just after Pressure Point). Veeerrrry interesting. Actually, the psychological bits left me a bit unpersuaded, but - if you can accept the premise - both men are well portrayed, especially Blake, whose cheerful and unabashed twisting of the situation at the end is a wonderful touch...

CASTE GAMES and HOSTAGE HEART: Very short pieces, the first sharp and a bit silly, the second more just a dialogue than story, a light but nice coda to the episode Hostage.

TOO MUCH LOVE WILL KILL YOU by Catherine: Competent, nothing not seen before, but quite readable. The main problem is the ending, which seems a bit scrappy and tacked on unnecesssarily.

WHITE KNIGHT by Willa Shakespeare: First of three stories by Willa, and not at all bad, though I liked the other two better. Starts with a long, and rather obvious, dream sequence, but picks up immediately after this with Blake wanting Avon, Avon acting cold and indifferent and only interested in sex, Avon finding he is none of these, and panicking with the usual cruel backlash and messy emotional results...yes, it's been done before. But when it's done well, who cares?

THE HONEST MAN by xBryn Lantry: This is terrific, a really good AU set in a POW camp after the Andromedan War. Enigmatic and thoughtful, with the usual lovely writing, complicated characterisation (giving us a deep, strong but not overly or blatantly emotional bond between the two men) and ambiguous ending.

[See this fan's comments on Divide and Conquer.]

MEMORIES by Gene S Delapenia: A short piece about Servalan, a bit out of place here, perhaps. My interest in the Supreme Commander being tepid at best, I really can't judge it.

OUTWITTED by Willa Shakespeare: Again, the characters are lighter and a little nicer than I see them on the screen, but not too much so; we're given a good plot (a PGP with both Blake and Avon prisoners of Servalan). There's one scene which nearly breaks my Blake Would Never Hurt Avon rule, and the ending is rather mushier than I like, but I can overlook these small faults. A brief appearance by the Scorpio crew is enjoyable (Willa does a very, very good Vila and Tarrant, as she did before in Divide and Conquer.)

All the art is by Whitby27, and very good too, including a couple of lovely nude studies of Avon. [8]
Like all Fire & Ice, this focuses exclusively on Blake/Avon slash. The physical relationship is depicted though most of the stories are primarily focused on the emotional aspects. There is remarkable consistency throughout the fanzine; though I preferred some stories to others, it was generally due to personal preference rather than the quality of writing. Many slash stories use plot as an excuse, but I found enough action and intrigue within Fire & Ice 4 to satisfy my craving for a good story where the outcome involves something more than whether or not Blake and Avon resolve their differences. I'd recommend it slash fans and to gen fans who do not dislike slash. [9]
Echoes of Betrayal by Susan Riaz

A PWB story in which Blake is doing rebel business and Avon starts out by covering for him, and eventually has to do something that gets himself in trouble. It's not jaw-droppingly amazing, but I liked it a lot.

As Time Goes By by Judith Proctor & Vanessa Mullen Bizarrely only part 1 of this story is on Hermit, but under the same name as the overall fic. This is confusing for those of us wondering whether we should buy the zine (I did), although actually all three parts work well on their own, even as they also work well as a depiction of an evolving relationship. I like this fic a lot, in total and in parts - although I'm afraid I do feel the need to flag up the fact that Blake is explicitly heterosexual in this fic. Yes, I do understand that this could be a problem between people, but I would prefer this sort of external issue (i.e. not related to them as people) not to be a problem in my shippy fic. Ship fic is not real life, nor I think (although you could argue differently) should it be. Also, it's hardly a problem here. It's not relevant at all - Blake gets over it almost immediately. The problem, as set up in the fic, is about misunderstandings and awkwardness. Which I like. I don't understand why we have to take time out to talk about how Blake doesn't want to get involved in buggery (even and especially because he gets over it immediately).

Clonemaster by Pat Terra

Another clone fic that I actively dislike. There's a lot of talk about how Avon must be a good person because Blake's clone loves him (based on a feeling) and Avon thinking about how beautiful Blake could be if none of the things that made him our Blake were true any more. So - that's my main issue with this fic, although I would also like to point out that, if anything, Blake's clone is Blake without any of the lulzy, embracing life bits of our Blake. He's just cross and serious, not a free and beautiful spirit. I agree the dialogue of 'Weapon' suggests perhaps the latter, but Gareth Thomas decided to play it... cross. Could we have some of that characterisation, perhaps?

[More on DW][10]

Issue 5

cover of issue #5, Whitby27

Fire and Ice 5 was published in 1999 and won a 2000 FanQ.

You can read the flyer here.

  • Stripping the Scales by Julia Stamford (Avon and Blake discover a shared fondness for a certain kind of fun and games.) 1
  • Tool Kit by Julia Stamford (Avon and Blake discover a shared fondness for a certain kind of fun and games.) 34
  • Blood Ties by Willa Shakespeare (a Post-Gauda Prime vampire story) 55
  • The Forgotten One by "Serious Moonlight" (Blake's nightmares force Avon to confront his own feelings...) 87
  • An Infallible Cure by Calico (Blake. Avon. A spy mission and close confinement in a closet...) 122
  • Unspoken Conversation by Vanessa Mullen 131
  • The Quick and the Dead by Linda Norman (On a doomed planet, Blake and Avon share a brief and haunting encounter.) 133
  • Secrets by Linda Norman (Blake discovers that Avon has had a sexual encounter with another rebel leader) 140

Artwork:

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5

[zine]: I just got the n/l with my B7 review, and is my face red or what! I completely forgot one of the best zines I read in 1999--FIRE & ICE 5. Of course, you have to like B/A to like this series, but B/A is my favorite--right up there with h/c with Blake and Avon. [11]
[zine]: I've had several inquiries about the new Fire and Ice. In fact I haven't finished reading it yet, because although I love A/B, I find it too intense to enjoy reading a whole zineful at one sitting. I have to pause every story or two and space it out with something else; whereas a mixed zine like Southern Comfort or Forbidden Star I can read straight through, because the zine itself will have enough variety to keep me from burning out.

This zine was brought back by popular demand, as explained in the Editorial, which also mentions that #6 is in the works (deadline September 15, 1999, if you're considering a submission).

There are three novella-length stories in this one, and one has an accompanying sequel that makes it even longer.

"Stripping the Scales" deals seriously and skilfully with some themes that are common in B7 fan fiction but often handled clumsily. This universe postulates a homophobic Federation, but the real struggle takes place inside Blake's head, as he tries to understand his reactions to Avon's overtures and sort out true feelings from false, conditioned ones. I especially like the handling of the A/B/J triangle, and the characterization of Jenna, who is far more unflappable about sexual matters than either of the men-- as is only logical, given her more adventurous life history! Here the bitchy, randy one is Avon-- not my own favorite characterization of him, but presented in a believable and touching way in this story.

"Tool Kit" is a shorter, lighter sequel to "Stripping the Scales," with less angst and even more hot sex. Blake finds some interesting ways to satisfy Avon.

"Blood Ties" by Willa Shakespeare introduces another element dear to fannish hearts, postulating that the bat-bite Blake suffered in "Duel" infected him with what amounts to classic vampirism. There's one major difference, though. In most vampire stories, blood-sucking is a substitute for sex, but here they go together, as Avon finds out the hard way PGP. Eventually, though, there's a happy resolution, in which the entire Scorpio crew participate. Fans of Dayna, Soolin, Tarrant, and/or Vila may want to borrow the zine just to read this story, which has a strong adventure plot involving all the characters, as well as the A/B romance.

The third novella-length story is "The Forgotten One" by Serious Moonlight. I found a it little disappointing relative to the rest of the zine, although it's still basically good. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that the author has been a K/S writer, because some of Avon's dialogue sounds rather Spocklike to me. The plot revolves around a figure from Blake's past, a lover who betrayed him and whose memory greatly complicates his relationship with Avon.

"An Infallible Cure" by Calico is a lighter story, referring to a cure for hiccups. Avon's tongue in the mouth of the sufferer does it very effectively. (Wish I could try that some time!)

"Unspoken Conversation" by Vanessa Mullen deals with another version of the A/B/J triangle theme, but this is one of those sad stories in which none of the characters get what they want. Very nicely written, with effective use of the difficult Avon POV.

Linda Norman is one of my favorite B7 writers, and her two stories in this zine live up to expectations. I have one minor complaint about the editing: I wish that the two stories had not been placed together, as the placement initially gave me the impression that they are part of a sequence in the same universe, like the first two stories in the zine. But no, they are completely separate.

In "The Quick and the Dead," Avon uses a professional male courtesan on a doomed planet to make Blake jealous. He is repaid for his cruelty to the courtesan in a startling way. "Secrets" deals with Blake's discovery of the darker side of Avon's sexual interests, with a seemingly happy resolution that, however, points toward ultimate tragedy. Very B7, very well done.

The art in this issue is especially nice; Val's style is improving all the time. My very favorite is the lovely Avon in the tropical garden, an illustration for "The Quick and the Dead;" it reminds me a bit of the Suzan Lovett Blake/Bodie that was in, I think, an issue of No Holds Barred. I also particularly like the pretty young Avon with the sly sidelong glance at the end of "Stripping the Scales"-- just perfect for that story, IMO.

A/B fans will be very happy with this zine, which maintains the high standards set by its predecessors. [12]
The backbone of F&I IV was Willa Shakespeare's stories, and of this is Julia Stamford's (two long related stories). And very excellent too (and I'm not just saying that because she's a friend and these stories started out as a 5000 word PWP for me before growing to epic size)! I'll also note the art work (Val W's work is *still* keeping the fandom afloat despite being almost criminally neglected by FanQ/Stiffie/whatever award givers). The cover is superb--Avon holding a knife on a totally-unimpressed Blake: the canonical inspiration being the scene in *Spacefall* where Avon pulls the gun on Blake to be greeted with that "Oh, put it *away,* Avon!" expression. Highly recommended.

Unusually for me, I don't have any pure-erotica picks from this issue, but there's a nude cuddle scene somewhere where the expression of pure love on each of their faces is so, so touching.... Aaaaah!

Anyway, to the stories.

Stripping the Scales (A/B) -- Julia Stamford: I love this pair of stories. Wonderful characterisation, sex, humour--and a happy relationship!... For the purposes of these stories, Blake is straight and Avon is bi--how they manage to get it together despite this little obstacle is the theme of the first story. Imagine if Blake, sublimely unaware, orders Avon to get laid and improve his temper, with "anyone on the ship, if she's willing." From his time as a guest of the Federation, Blake has a double helping of homophobia layered on top of his basic straight orientation, and barely realises consensual homosexuality can exist (what he has seen in prison doesn't help). The social background is unusually good in this story: too often in fanfic there isn't any attempt to imagine what it might be, but since canon gives us a stratified repressive society, why *wouldn't* they stoop to this sort of thing? Avon thinks that Blake needs to be whacked over the head by a clue-by-four, and provides the necessary education. From this outline, it sounds almost like a comedy story, but it's got angst as well. Highly recommended, and not just because it was written for me.

Tool Kit (A/B) -- Julia Stamford: Sequel to the above, but more pure smut now the relationship has been established. Lots of D/S play, without a S/M element. Hot (and watch out for the scene where Blake improvises a toy--much panting and laughter here).

Blood Ties (A/B) -- Willa Shakespeare: Another go at an angsty Blake-as-vampire story--it's been done before, but I quite like Willa's stuff. PGP. Like one of the stories in F&I IV by the same author, this has B raping A (for being an obnoxious little bastard) after which he seduces A very gently and A realises he loves him. She doesn't fill in the characterisation properly (one para in A's POV suggesting he has a desire, which he is ashamed of, to submit to B, doesn't quite work for me), so I think it's just a kink of hers. That said, I quite like the story, although I don't think it's her best work. Watch out for the bit on the last page with Orac--howls of laughter from me. The Tarrant Nunquam (hi, Harriet) will like the bit where T thinks A couldn't be bi because he hasn't come on to T!

The Forgotten One (A/B) -- Serious Moonlight: Hopeless. This reads like a K/S fan's first take on A/B. Avon has blue eyes, which I wouldn't mind if she'd got anything *else* right, but the tone of voice is wrong as well. Like a bad Sentinel or K/S story, a pair of wobbly-lipped men with the emotional depth of thirteen-year-old girls have to be drawn together by a wise unselfish woman character. Vast quantities of badly-described emotions, and dialogue that doesn't convicted me it belongs to the Liberator crew. Avoid.

An Infallible Cure (A/B) -- Calico: A & B hiding in a cupboard. A nice funny fluff, with the unusual distinction of being a PG PWP, really. Avon discovers an infallible cure for Blake's hiccups. I like the ending, which suggests Avon might return B's feelings a bit (unless he's just winding him up, of course).

Unspoken Conversation (A/B, B/J uc) -- Vanessa Mullen: Two-pager of A's POV: he and Jenna share a moment of sorrow. They both love B, but he is married to the Revolution and cannot return enough feelings for a personal relationship. I like this, oddly enough, but am glad it is so short. (remember, my only sad A/B story is a one-page sonnet sequence. Anything longer is happier).

The Quick and the Dead (A/B) -- Linda Norman: Avon, Blake and Vila on a doomed planet, entertained by eunuchs. A tone of loss throughout. Sad but rather beautiful.

Secrets (A/B) -- Linda Norman: A has masochistic tendencies. When he comes back from planetfall covered in whip-marks, B is first disgusted then interested, realising that his disgust was caused by envy. I don't feel the characterisation's entirely "filled in" at one point--they're having an argument and then A asks B in sultry tones to come to his cabin--but this may be the reader being thick, of course, rather than the author not explaining. Very hot s/m sex. Like the above story, it has an elegiac tone in implication, and unlike Serious Moonli8ght, Linda N has enough ability to manage the one-line sad ending perfectly, because the foreshadowing and characterisation suggest things have not changed because they had sex. [13]
Stripping the Scales and Tool Kit by Julia Stamford

Right. Right. So, if you knew what was coming, you may have seen me gearing up for this fic (and the initial run of fics from F&I6) with my objections to F&I 4. I just don't know why Roj Blake, a man who spends his life doing things he doesn't want to do for the good of other people, can't bring himself to even consider giving Avon a blowjob. It makes me want to scream and throw things. It's not just something I don't want the entire fic to be about (oh noes, am I gay?), this time I find the way it's depicted to be in active opposition to how I see the character. I really like the way Stamford writes them both usually, and indeed there's lots of niceness and good dialogue in this one, but, like Blake and his fear of giving blowjobs, I can't get past the fact that this fic is obsessed with things I'm not interested in and don't think are relevant: helping Blake get past the fact he is not gay/that he's been brainwashed into being homophobic, and then experimentation with casual D/s play. Bondage and power struggles are things I'm interested in, but I am not interested in it if it's a game and they're putting on an act, and it's not lulzy/doesn't reveal anything about them as characters. We escape the fic-space and get into 'this could be anyone'. This is a long fic, and I was disappointed not to spend the time I was reading it with Blake and Avon. However - there is a nice bit where Jenna gropes Avon. I enjoyed that part.

Blood Ties by Willa Shakespeare

This isn't at all a bad fic, but it's not one of my favourites of hers. I hear Vampire!Blake is a thing, but I can only think of about three. There should be more, as it's a fun way of getting out of GP, although I do also wish that 'being a vampire' wasn't the instigator for the sexual/romantic relationship (Avon is, again, not gay, and it's not clear whether Blake goes for him just because he's peeved that Avon shot him). There's some capture and torture by Servalan and some fun business with a rescue by the Scorpio crew. Also, good dialogue as always, but - not my favourite at all.

The Forgotten One by "Serious Moonlight"

I skipped this one fairly quickly, because I didn't like the prose style/the way the dialogue was being written. Plus, the other reviews posted on Hermit/Fanlore are fairly damning. So - let's go on.

[More on DW][14]

Issue 6

cover of issue #6, Whitby27

Fire and Ice 6 was published in October 2000 and is 205 pages long. Art is by Whitby27. There's a lot of nude art in this one, far more than is usual for Fire and Ice.

  • A Dangerous Concept by Nova 1
  • A Friend in Need by Julia Stamford 14
  • Is a Friend Indeed by Julia Stamford 19
  • Rhetorical Questions by Predatrix 29
  • Mastery by Willa Shakespeare 43
  • Window Shoppping by Helen Patrick 84
  • Glorious Smut by Vanessa Mullen 90
  • To the Victor by Amethyst Lane 91
  • The Biter Bit by Nova 99
  • Hostage Situations by Belatrix Carter 112
  • None So Blind by Carrie Vonne 123
  • Desire by Linda Norman 129
  • Desire by Ravenschild 131
  • The I-Lab of Dr. Moro by Willa Shakespeare 132
  • Midnight Blue by Linda Norman 163
  • And They Lived Happily Ever After? by January Garnet 173
  • Why I Can't Stand Vila Restal by Nova 180
  • Black Velvet Band by Vanessa Mullen 185
  • Touching Life by Vanessa Mullen 187

Non-explicit art sample:

Explicit art sample: Note: Marked as sexually explicit; minimized

Reactions and Reviews

See reactions and reviews for Touching Life.
[A Friend in Need]:
I should have guessed. It caught me on the hop.
I thought of blood or agony or hate.
Not of his taking off his clothes to--stop
And illustrate a talk, and contemplate.
Putting the clothes back on, he touched Blake's face,
Blake touched his arm. A start. Or perhaps an end.
If rapes in mind or body leave a trace,
If they can't find each other more than friend.
B pities A -- for being really raped.
A pities B -- not knowing false or real.
Both think the other suffered, not escaped
Past wounds, and they themselves don't need to heal.
What next, if anything? Is that the end
Of sonnet, story? Do I dare press "Send"? [15]
[zine]: First, general comments on the zine: I *love* A/B, and I've greatly enjoyed the past issues of F&I, so I was *really* looking forward to this one (and not just because my first zine-published story is in it, either!). And, overall, I'm quite pleased. To begin with, there's quite a lot of artwork this time -- not too many illos for particular stories, unfortunately (although mine got two, so I'm definitely not complaining!), but there is a multiple-page "art portfolio" section, and some of the illos (both there and in the rest of the zine) are quite yummy. But then, I never get tired of looking at Blake and Avon wrapped around each other. :)

If I have any complaint about the zine, it's to do with the order in which the stories are presented... Several of the stories deal (in whole or in part) with very similar themes: for instance there are several stories that feature Blake angsting about the child-abuse charges and wondering if he might actually be capable of such a thing, and several stories (some of them the same ones) in which Avon's been the victim of prison rape and is angsting about *that*. And, unfortunately, those stories are clustered together at the beginning of the zine, in a way that makes things start to feel a bit repetitive after a while. It would have been a better idea, I think, to have spread them out more. But that's a pretty minor complaint. (I get the feeling that maybe there was some attempt to order the stories by tone: the first few at the beginning of the zine generally feature positive, fairly conflict-free A/B relationships with optimistic endings, and the proportion of darker stories gets higher as you get towards the end of the zine. I might suggest skipping around, if you like variety.)

On to the stories, themselves:

"A Dangerous Concept" by Nova: Avon is captured and held in a state of sensory deprivation, where, in an attempt to stay sane, he conjures up a detailed fantasy world in which he and Blake are lovers. It's an interesting idea, and handled more believably than I would have expected. And I *really* liked the dynamics between Avon and his dream-Blake, and how they carried over into his relationship with the real thing.

"A Friend in Need..." by Julia Stamford: Blake is worried about the child-abuse charges, and Avon undertakes to prove to him that it's definitely not children Blake's interested in. There's some interesting discussion around this issue, but overall this one just didn't engage me all that much. Maybe it's just that there's no actual sex in it. :)

"...Is a Friend Indeed" by Julia Stamford (follow-up to "A Friend in Need"): Now, *this* one I definitely liked. An exhausted Avon celebrates the completion of a difficult computer project by saying "Oh, what the hell" and going to bed with Blake. The sex felt very realistic (right down to Avon being so wiped out he nearly falls asleep in the middle), and I like that a *lot*.

"Rhetorical Questions" by Predatrix: Oh, no, Avon's been drugged and is about to be raped, and Blake has to charge in to rescue him. Except the situation isn't *quite* what Blake thinks it is... This is another one with a really good sex scene. My goodness, they actually *talk* to each other about what they're doing, the way you'd expect people having sex for the first time to do! And I love Avon's attitude, subverting as he does all the usual expectations about what constitutes being the "submissive" vs. the "dominant" partner.

"Mastery" by Willa Shakespeare: After "Voice from the Past," Avon discovers that Blake isn't the only one whose mind has been tampered with. Did he and Blake actually know each other before the _London_? And, oh, my, did they really do *that*? I generally tend to dislike stories that postulate that they knew each other in the past, as normally I just find it impossible to buy. This one worked for me much better than most, though, even if there were one or two plot points that required a fair amount of suspension-of-disbelief. The character dynamics were complex and well done, and that is, of course, the important thing. And it was fascinating watching the various layers of their relationship being peeled back. What's the real them? What was programmed? Can they make their relationship be what it *should* be and prevent the tragedy that otherwise lies in their future? Interesting stuff.

"Window Shopping" by Helen Patrick: I'm a little surprised to find this story in here, because, although there's a definite A/B element, it's primarily a Jenna/ocf story. It's a good, well-written Jenna/ocf story, but, to be honest, f/f doesn't generally do all that much for me, so I'm a little sorry there wasn't more focus on the A/B.

"Glorious Smut" by Vanessa Mullen: An amusing little filk about "glorious smut!" I liked it.

"To the Victor" by Amethyst Lane: It's apparently some years PGP, and Avon has just defeated Blake in the post-Federation government's presidential election. Blake makes his concession, and, while it might be oral, it ain't exactly a speech... I must admit, "President Avon" has a certain ring to it, but overall this one didn't do a whole lot for me, as I didn't find either the sex or the politics all that believable. But then, I often find that I'm not terribly keen on after-the-revolution Blake-as-politician stories.

"The Biter Bit" by Nova: An amusing variation on your standard aphrodisiac story. I found this one thoroughly enjoyable: great sex, great character interaction, and a great twist or two on the cliché. And yet another optimistic ending that I can actually find believable. (Happy endings, particularly A/B happy endings, don't generally feel quite natural to me for B7...)

"'Hostage' Situations" by Belatrix Carter: Well, I wrote this one, so I certainly can't comment on it objectively. :) If you were on this list (or rather, the Space City list) for the '99 Labor Day party, you've already seen it, anyway.

"None So Blind" by Carrie Vonne: Now, talk about *dark*... <Shudder> This one's about as dark as you can get. Very disturbing. Very... *yucky*. Very *deliberately* yucky. Warning to Blake fans: this one portrays Blake as, frankly, downright psychotic. I don't buy it at all on a literal level, not even as an AU (which it certainly is), but as a metaphor for the darker aspects of Blake's nature, and of the relationship between Blake and Avon, it's tremendously effective.

"Desire" by Linda Norman: Very short story about Avon and his... demon lover? Another one that's not exactly believable on a literal level, but works very nicely as a metaphor. Well written.

"Desire" by Ravenschild: Another very short piece, this one made up entirely of dialog between Avon and... well, something supernatural, apparently. I was a bit confused by this one, actually, primarily because I'm not entirely sure whether it's meant to go with the previous piece or not.

"The I-Lab of Doctor Moro" by Willa Shakespeare: B7 meets _The Island of Dr. Moreau_ (in reverse), as Blake and Avon are held captive by an insane scientist who enjoys turning people into animals. This one's a weird mixture of humor (bits of it are *extremely* funny), horror (there's a fairly nasty rape scene, for example), sex (of course), character-based drama, and just plain weirdness. It shouldn't work, but it *does*, and I enjoyed it a lot.

"Midnight Blue" by Linda Norman: A dark and bittersweet sex scene in the wilderness of a distant planet. Well written and atmospheric, sexy and sad.

"And They Lived Happily Ever After?" by January Garnet: Another after-the-revolution political-Blake story, but I liked this one rather better than "To the Victor." I may not quite be able to buy the possibility of Avon and Blake living together in PGP domestic harmony, but it is a nice thought, and they're still quite recognizably *themselves* here and it certainly doesn't get treacly.

"Why I Can't Stand Vila Restal" by Nova: Vila steals Avon's Blake-substitute for the night, so he has to content himself with the real thing, after all. Another nice, happy story in which Blake and Avon have great sex followed by confessions of love and much hope for the future. Personally, I don't ever think it'd be quite that easy for them (a sentiment I find coming to mind regarding several stories in this volume), but what the heck, I enjoyed it a lot, anyway.

"Black Velvet Band" by Vanessa Mullen: A filk about the joys of tying Avon up with velvet rope. *Very* nice.

[See this fan's comments on Touching Life.] [16]
A Dangerous Concept by Nova

The first time I read this, I thought it was good, but not as good as some of her others. This time I really enjoyed it. I like that the sensory deprivation comes back and is the catalyst for Blake's confession and the way Avon equates the dream Blake he conjures up for himself while in sensory deprivation with both the real Blake and himself. Nice ending as well, as usual from Nova.

A Friend in Need and Is a Friend Indeed by Julia Stamford

So, more issues front and centre that I don't necessarily want to deal with in my B/A fic: Blake is fearful of his child-molesting charges and Avon was raped in prison, so they both have to get over that, but fortunately both of them are very patient and kind to the other. Which... I'm not going to lie, I quite like in amongst all the hostility and misunderstandings that usually populate this pairing, and it's not unrealistic or badly done, but - I wish the fic was a bit more about them, rather than these issues.

Rhetorical Questions by Predatrix

I like this fic a lot so it seems unfair to begin my review of it by saying 'more prison rape, more D/s' but honestly that's how I feel at this point. Although it is worth mention that Avon doms Blake, which is not as rare as it seems initially, but is still appreciated (that's the way I like it). There's also a bit where Avon slaps Blake around the face and they have a weakass fight, which is hilarious. That's not the main part of the fic, but I really like it and all the build up at the beginning. Then we get to the sex, which is too master/servant for me - in general, and for me having read this run of fics in a short space of time...

[More on DW][17]

Issue 7

Fire and Ice 7 was published in May 2002 and has 204 pages. All "handart" is by Whitby27. All "photo art" is by Pat Fenech.

cover issue #7, Whitby27

You can read the flyer here.

From the editorial: "Fandom suffered a loss last year with the passing of "Pat Jacquerie" on June 5, 2001. Pat was well known in B7 fandom and had quite a number of stories published in various zines over the years. Some of Pat's stories can be found at www.tarrantnostra.com. I included her story "In Way of Farewell" in "Fire and Ice [issue #4].""

  • Half a Loaf by Linda Norman (This story is set five years before Cygnus Alpha...) 1
  • Groundhog Lay by Predatrix (Avon is caught in a temporal vortex, forced to repeat the same day over and over again until he "gets it right".) 5
  • Playtime by Julia Stamford (The Liberator crew gets Avon a birthday present.) 29
  • Strict Protein Diet by Predatrix (Some mutoids are programmed just for sex.) 34
  • As Easy as Falling Off a Bike by Helen Patrick (Even rebels need relaxation) 56
  • Hot Tub by Helen Patrick (Even rebels need relaxation) 63
  • Conversion to the Faith by Helen Patrick 70
  • Sleeping Arrangements by Predatrix & Helen Patrick (Avon shows up in Blakes bedroom for more than conversation) 71
  • Three's a Crowd by Julia Stamford (Avon, Blake...and Zen???) 79
  • In the Night by Julia Stamford 86
  • Stuff and Nonsense, or L'Austen Space by Executrix (a Jane Austen pastiche) 90
  • Persuasion by Executrix (a Jane Austen pastiche) 100
  • Night Blake, Day Blake by Amethyst Lane (Avon and Blake have to prepare for a mission to a hedonistic planet) 106
  • Black Leather Rose by Julia Stamford (Blake's gift to Avon has long-lasting implications) 125
  • Pecking Order by Helen Patrick 137
  • The Other Side of Heaven by Willa Shakespeare (Even the afterlife is no match for a determined rebel) 139
  • Things We Said Today by Hafren (Can honesty build trust?) 150
  • Time and Fevers by Nova (Years after Gauda Prime, Blake embarks on a mission to buy arms, and discovers the identity of the company director - Kerr Avon.) 154
  • Outlaws and In-Laws by Nova 168
  • Rest Easy by Susan Sicafoosh 203

Non-explicit art sample:

Explicit art sample: Note: Marked as sexually explicit; minimized

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7

OK, here goes. Will try to not actually give away anything which would ruin the pleasure, also, if I don't go for something, to try and work out if that's because I didn't think it was written right or just that the author's take on the characters isn't mine. Everything IMO, no offence, naturally.

Appearance: classy, with a pretty front cover which makes A look awfully young. There are a few typos but nothing too major (except one thing which actually works so well I wondered if it was intentional).

The art inside is also fine, as art. Some of it did take me by surprise, because like an idiot it hadn't occurred to me that a zine with all-adult verbal content would also have adult art. Why I should have been taken aback by pictures of thingies I can't think, it isn't like I never saw one in RL. I feel daft about it and no doubt it sounds daft to anyone who isn't such a novice with paper zines, but in case there are more novices out there they might want to be prepared I did get used to it, once I persuaded myself it was all right to look.

The stories: some I knew from the mailing list or elsewhere, many I didn't, nor their authors.

Half a Loaf: Linda Norman: I go along with her seeing Avon with masochistic leanings, though I'm not sure he would actually be selfish enough to con Blake into playing BDSM games which he knows upset the man. For the life of me I can't see him agonising about having shot a Fed trooper in self-defence, even if the guy was fairly young and innocent. Our Kerr, give it a second thought? I quite like the purple prose, though the last sentence jumps up and down saying "I'm a cliche!" But one cannot quarrel too much with any story that has Avon bound to a wrought-iron gate and whipped, now can one? The gate is beautifully, and very erotically, described.

Groundhog Lay: Predatrix: Oh, this is a gem! Very difficult to describe without saying too much, but as the title indicates, Avon is trapped in a time loop, escape from which seems to involve shagging his way through the crew now there's a surprise. But it turns out to be more complicated than that because he also has to find out what he really, really wants. Meanwhile he has given Zen a personality transplant It sounds, and is, funny, but it's something more than that. Liberator isn't a funny place, and humour can sound untrue to the characters, but in Pred's stories they always stay themselves.

I don't know if it's just my copy, but the last page of this was bound twice and for one glorious moment I thought the plot had come true and I'd be re-reading this story for ever

Playtime: Julia Stamford: In which Avon gets his teddy bear; which the crew give him because it's Blake's birthday and they hope it'll amuse Avon enough to make him be nice to Blake all day. This is an unashamed PWP. There's some nice understatement in it, especially early on, where Avon's feelings are hinted at rather than stated.

Strict Protein Diet: Predatrix: This was originally going to be for "I,Mutoid" but missed the deadline. The mutoid is a "private unit" created to give sexual pleasure: Vila gives it to Avon as a present (and the only thing I really object to in this whole story is the notion that Vila can't spell "happy birthday"). Again what sounds funny has a serious side; the mutoid has feelings and this is a story about the moral issues of science and slavery rather than who's sleeping with whom. (But they are. Often.)

As Easy as Falling Off a Bike: Helen Patrick, Hot Tub: Helen Patrick: Well, they go together; the one is a sequel to the other. Premise is that Avon keeps flirting and then backing off (well, that's practically canon) because he's worried that Blake won't be able to respond. On the Gan analogy, he assumes someone convicted of the charges against Blake will have been conditioned so they can't repeat the offence good point, I thought. In the first story, the pretext for Getting Avon's Clothes Off is a visit to a planet where they have to ride a long way on obsolete bicycles. Blake isn't new to them but Avon is, and is in agony next day I can sympathise. In the second, Blake has got Zen to modify his bath somewhat and they're having this leisurely jacuzzi together. The tension comes from neither being completely sure whether Blake's conditioning can be broken.

Conversion to the Faith: Helen Patrick: One-page fragment for Valentine's. Fun for chocoholics and a nice bittersweet twist in the last sentence.

Sleeping Arrangements: Predatrix and Helen Patrick: Avon moves cabins to be next door to Blake, but exactly why doesn't become clear until three in the morning. Good dialogue for both of them. One thing though how exactly can Zen "create a duvet"? I can never see this; it's a machine, it hasn't got any arms.

Three's a Crowd: Julia Stamford: And the third is Zen. PWP, fun, in character for both.

In the Night: Julia Stamford: Blake having nightmares about being interrogated and Avon being unexpectedly but not unbelievably understanding of Blake's need to feel in control of someone. I liked this.

Stuff and Nonsense: Executrix: This is a star. Execuverse meets Jane Austen, and God, it's funny. Perfect parody but more; when Blake and Avon are being Elizabeth and Darcy (and they take it in turns) they come out with Austen dialogue that suddenly sounds exactly right for *them*. How does she do that?

Persuasion: Executrix: The sequel, but much darker and sadder. Well, this is B7 after all. Lovely writing.

Night Blake, Day Blake: Amethyst Lane: PGP: variant on the "Blake and Avon go to odd planet with strange rituals". But this one has them in spades; everyone has to be young and attractive, which means hair dye and diets, they also go in for tattoos and piercings and weird clobber. This felt like a PWP with a lot of plot attached, it's just all unnecessary. A long way through, Blake says "what a waste this trip has been" and you'd have to agree. Also Avon sounds a bit transatlantic sometimes which is a turn-off for some, if not for others.

Black Leather Rose: Julia Stamford: Quite sweet little seduction scene followed by a coda which would be the promise of a happy ending if we didn't all know what was coming next Very B7 in that way.

Pecking Order: Helen Patrick: Post, "City" vignette. Since I like Avon, Cally and Vila a whole lot more than Tarrant and Dayna, I should really like this better, given that T and D come out of it looking a bit daft. But it didn't do too much for me I must be going soft

The Other Side of Heaven: Willa Shakespeare: Knew this from FC; loved it there too. PGP; Avon and Blake trying to find somewhere heaven, hell to be happy in. They're really them in this, and there are a lot of wonderful cameos for minor characters too.

Things We Said Today: Hafren: Can't comment on that, obviously, though I will say there's a very pretty illo after it two faces, which though they look like Blake and Avon are also reminiscent of Lennon and McCartney (the shadows help).

Time and Fevers: Nova: PGP, a long time after. There's something very touching about the fact that Avon and Blake aren't young any more, and that they still seem beautiful to each other. Very haunting. Query; would Blake have liked Auden's love poem so much if he'd known it was addressed to a 14-year-old?

Outlaws and In-laws: Nova: AU, based on the other theory of relativity relatives are OK if you keep them at a distance, preferably half a galaxy. It's about coming to terms with one's past. In the first half Blake introduces Avon to his parents, as his lover, only to find that his mum is homophobic, at least when it comes to her son and her missing grandchildren. He has to try to make her see that Avon is what he needs. Then Avon feels a need to reciprocate. The story gets far darker here, as the Family Avon is spectacularly dysfunctional and some quite upsetting things happen. Dark, strong, with a lot in it apart from the sex.

In fact I don't think you'd have to be a rabid RA/BSH to enjoy a lot of what's in here though it would certainly help! [18]

Another excellent edition of 'Fire & Ice'. There were a few stories that I disliked, but mostly it made me very happy indeed. Plenty of authors with more than one story, but that just meant I was beginning each story thinking 'hooray! Another story by [insert name of now very trusted author]! My cup runneth over.' It does surprise me to realise (thanks fanlore) that Julia Stamford and Helen Patrick are the same person but only because I don't really understand why it would be necessary to adopt a pseud when they write similar fic... (ah AO3 has just informed me it's a print/online thing). They 'both' write fic I really like anyway.

Issue 3 (the only other F&I I've read) had no art, which I found disappointing. This one does have art! I don't like it that much... but it's OK. And I like that it is there. Lots of it is explicit, but not all of it is. Some of the photo manips seem incredibly bizarre (why have we superimposed fireworks), but the simpler ones where it's basically just their faces do genuinely add something to the reading experience.

[Individual fic reviews on Dreamwidth, but cut for length][19]

Issue 8

cover of issue #8

Fire and Ice 8 was published in 2005 and contains 164 pages. It has art by Whitby27 and Snowgrouse.

  • Rings by Jade Day (8 pages)
  • Falling by Jenner
  • Incandescent by Snowgrouse
  • Forgiveness by Helen Patrick
  • Silver Tongued Orator by Julia Stamford and Predatrix (8 pages)
  • Nowt as Queer by Julia Stamford (10 pages)
  • Goes Without Saying by Predatrix (37 pages)
  • Family Men by Belatrix Carter (19 pages)
  • The Political Education of Kerr Avon by Nova (12 pages)
  • Nothing I'd rather Do by Willa Shakespeare (28 pages)
  • Tanked by Willa Shakespeare? Zenia?
  • Counterfeit by Willa Shakespeare? Zinia?

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

Fire and Ice 8 is a 2005 A/B zine published by Kathy Resch. It is available from both Resch and Judith Proctor's Hermit website. Resch keeps almost all her zines, including Blake's 7 zines, in continuous reprint so it should be available for buying no matter how much later you read this review.

There is art in this by both Whitby27 and Snowgrouse. I personally don't care for Avon who is [Whitby27's] favorite, so the two pieces of art that I like in the zine are the front cover by [Whitby27], a colored pencil gen Blake and Avon, and an interior B & W photo manipulation by Snowgrouse, a romantic embrace between Blake and Avon. Overall, there is nudity in the art but nothing full frontal. The slashiness in some pieces is subtle and nothing sexually explicit.

This zine is 164 pages long and mainly has stories by established people who have been in the fandom for some time now. I believe Snowgrouse is the newest writer. There are nine different writers involved with this production even though there are ten pen names.

This review for the most part follows the order in which I read the stories, not their order in the zine.

Fire and Ice 8 contains my last published story, "Rings" by Jade Day. It is a little over eight pages long. I wrote it about seven years ago so it only contains mild BDSM-not the wild stuff of some of my later stories under various names. My story is basically a first or second season "shore leave" story, spiced up with some pain and piercing but nothing extreme.

My favorite story of the entire zine is one of the three shortest stories in the zine-being about two pages long. I just love "Falling" by Jenner. I really can't describe the story without giving away the plot but it concerns a first time encounter and its aftermath. The story is very original and poignant. It has great impact which doesn't seem to lessen on rereading the story.

I might as well mention the other two page stories now. One is "Incandescent" by Snowgrouse. It is from Avon's point of view and uses second person. I really don't care for second person as a rule. It's a PWP which is highly emotional and poetical. Snowgrouse's photomanipulation goes with his story and fits perfectly.

The other short story is "Forgiveness" by Helen Patrick which is a post PGP story where Avon has terminal cancer. Since my husband currently is waging a horrific battle with cancer and his mother has lived on morphine for months now as she is very slowly dying from cancer, I found this story extremely hard to read. But that is NOT the fault of the story which is well written.

"Silver Tongued Orator" by Julia Stamford and Predatrix is an eight page story which starts the zine out. It's an over the top humorous piece. I am ambivalent about it. Predatrix is known for her wild humor so anyone familiar with her work will not be surprised. And I believe Stamford has also written humorous pieces before as well, but I can't currently think of the titles of any of them now. Blake is under the influence of a drug which loosens his tongue, and he embarrasses Avon.

"Nowt as Queer" is ten pages by Julia Stamford. This story didn't work for me, and I can't really explain why. The story starts off with Blake berating Avon for having sex with Vila because Blake believes Avon is taking advantage of him. There is a lot of talk about how Avon is really straight despite his sexual activities which is something that does happen. Straight men can willingly engage in and enjoy male sodomy and still be straight, so I did not have trouble with that concept in the story.

"Goes Without Saying" by Predatrix is thirty-seven pages long and the longest story in the zine. This uses the basic plot of Blake being a virgin and Avon having to instruct him about sex. It's hard to believe any mature man would be as stupid as Blake is made out to be sexually since Blake is not a moron in other areas. The story meanders on, Avon leaves the ship, and they end up sending each other emails for part of the story. It's all rather strange.

"Family Men" by Belatrix Carter is a nineteen page story. It's an a/u set long after Gauda Prime and loosely based on the movie Family Man. I've not seen the movie so I can say definitely you can follow the story without having seen the movie. It's a very domestic story involving two young children-Blake's two young children. I'm not much for these type of stories but once in a while they are nice-just for variety.

"The Political Education of Kerr Avon" by Nova is a twelve page story. There is a lot of conversation about serious matters for people who dislike PWP type stories. The story covers several years and past Gauda Prime. I found one part disturbingly shocking, but I won't spoil the plot. Nova has the ability to make things seem very real. I enjoyed the story although it was slow going reading it in places.

Willa Shakespeare's "Nothing I'd rather Do" is a twenty-eight page rendering of Shakepeare's comedy Much Ado About Nothing. I have no clue if it makes more sense if you are familiar with the play or not, but I am guessing that it does. I've forgotten the play since it's been decades since I read it. This story ends the zine. So I guess Resch wanted to start the zine off with wild humor, "Silver Tongued Orator," and end with something mimicking an old English classic, thus bookending the zine with stories which are not the usual type of B/A story. If nothing else, it is an interesting exercise which has been rarely done in print zines-mixing Shakespeare with B7. One story which also does this which I dearly love is a gen story by Margaret Scroggs in Horizon 17 called "Duel or the Folly of Madness."

The final three stories I read are written by Willa Shakespeare and Zenia-or vice versa. "Counterfeit Lives" is eight pages long. This PGP story has the clone as a sex slave for Avon. I really liked the story, but I must admit to being a sucker for Blake as sex slave stories.

"Winning Hand" is twelve pages long and is an a/u story before the episode "The Way Back." Here Blake is a pretend sex slave for Avon and there is some BDSM, so, of course, I liked this story as well.

"Tanked" is an a/u PGP story which I assume is labeled a/u because the Avon in the story is so out of character from what we see in the series. Although to be truthful, in a PGP an author or authors really aren't limited that much by what we see in the series. Interestingly enough, here is another story in the zine where Blake is the father to two children. But that isn't really the point of the story, the way it was in "Family Men." This is an extremely original story, and it certainly kept me entertained.

Taking my story "Rings" out of the running, today here is how I would rank the remaining twelve stories from being my favorite to my least favorite. In time my rankings might change. Some stories will probably wear better than others.

  • Falling
  • Tanked
  • Counterfeit Lives
  • Winning Hand
  • The Political Education of Kerr Avon
  • Incandescent
  • Forgiveness
  • Family Men
  • Nothing I'd Rather Do
  • Goes Without Saying
  • Silver Tongued Orator
  • Nowt as Queer

On a final note, I read Fire and Ice 8 cover to cover the day it arrived, staying up until 1 AM, something that is rare for me to do these days-find a zine that is so truly engrossing that it makes me want to read it all in one day. I think this is a great zine for someone who likes A/B or B/A-whichever way you "spell" it.

Except for two stories in Fire and Ice 7, I have read every Fire and Ice cover to cover and enjoyed them greatly. I still have them all saved and reread them from time to time. And considering the hundreds of B7 zines I have resold, given away, or gutted, that is a great compliment. All eight are available from Resch or Proctor. And Fire and Ice 9 is soon to come in 2005. Yah! I'm looking forward to that one a lot. Also from Resch or Proctor there is the general B7 slash zine No Holds Barred 26 which I highly recommend for those people who like pairings other than A/B. There is a nice amount of Blake in that zine so I enjoy that one almost as much as I like Fire and Ice in general. [20]

Issue 9

cover of issue #9, Snowgrouse

Fire and Ice 9 was published in May 2005 and contains 200 pages. It has art by Snowgrouse, Pat Fenech, Spacefall and Whitby27.

  • Leaving Room 101 by Nova (2)
  • Too Many ... by Predatrix and Julia Stamford (11)
  • On Trial, Basis by Belatrix Carter (35)
  • Just Another Cliché by Zenia and Willa Shakespeare (42)
  • Lowered Inhibitions by Snowgrouse, art by Snowgrouse (47)
  • Party Line by Helen Patrick and Predatrix (50)
  • Dressing Right by Willa Shakespeare and Zenia (65)
  • Bored to Tears by Willa Shakespeare (74)
  • Town Mouse/Country Mouse by Nova (88)
  • Kerrano by Willa Shakespeare (95)
  • Love is a Battlefield by Julia Stamford (149)
  • If Only by Charlotte Kelley (166)
  • The Butterfly Effect by Snowgrouse (172)
  • Not Dead Yet by Helen Patrick (173)
  • Understood by Hafren (178)
  • Prime Suspect by Nova (182)
  • Looking for Gold by Hafren (190)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9

I'll be vague in this review. I really hate it when reviews spoil all the suspense and tell you too much about the stories. I'm going to list the stories in the order that I liked them, but that doesn't mean all that much since I liked all the stories to some degree. The zine is 197 pages long with sixteen stories, all B7 newish writers, except for Willa Shakespeare who has been writing B7 the longest. And by newish, I mean writers who have only been writing B7 for the last ten or so years. The art-both drawings and photo manips-is by Snowgrouse, Pat Fenech, Spacefall and Whitby27. Val has been doing art the longest of the four. The cover is sexy so it has to be covered if like me you are not comfortable sharing your slash interests with your family.

My favorite story is "If Only" by Charlotte Kelley, and it is 6 pages long. This a/u story is a highly dramatic story after Star One. It is sad. I frankly like Fire and Ice because it does not always guarantee happy endings. Zines that do that tend to be boring after a while. There's no suspense to reading anything. This story is unique. I first read it over three years ago in a private copy from the writer, and I immediately thought it superior.

"Leaving Room 101" by Nova is 9 pages long. I dislike the title, but I like the story. Actually I disliked the titles of all three of Nova's stories. Nova writes really good stories in general. She's dependable for quality. This is angsty. Avon has betrayed them under duress.

"Town Mouse/ Country Mouse" by Nova is a 6 page a/u story. I'm not quite sure if part of the story is missing on page 90 or not. It's a strange story about what opposites Blake and Avon are. It has a very nice ending line.

The last Nova story is "Prime Suspect," and it's a 6 page really weird PGP story. There is some nice interplay between Blake and Avon in this story. I can't remember now if they even kiss in this story. But that's okay. I don't need explicit sex or even any sex to like an A/B story.

"On a Trial Basis" by Belatrix Carter is 7 pages. It's a first time A/B, and Avon is Blake's first male lover. It's basically a PWP but still interesting.

"Not Dead Yet" by Helen Patrick is a strange PGP A/B story where the sex between the two men isn't exactly normal. But by abnormal, I mean it's because one of them is unable to function properly any more. This is not a kinky story.

"Just Another Cliché" by Zenia and Willa Shakespeare is a five page story that is like some other stories. However, after 27 years of B7 fandom, a lot of stories could have the same name. The story is decent, but the title left a lot to be desired. This is the basic story of Avon as a sex slave that Blake is trying to rescue.

"Bored to Tears" by Willa Shakespeare is a totally predictable 12 page story which is basically sex. Avon is a holographic sex slave of Blake's. However, Willa is a good writer who can make even predictable stories be interesting.

"Understood" by Hafren is a 5 page PGP where Avon is never the same after GP. It has an interesting concept, and the story is rather melancholy.

"Looking for Gold" is a 4 page Hafren PGP sex in a cave story with some slightly different details.

"Lowered Inhibitions" is a 3 page story by Snowgrouse. This is the usual wild exhibitionist sex in a bar/club that M. Fae Glasgow used to write so well. This story is tame by comparison, but still definitely high on the erotic scale. Like a few other stories in this zine and Fire and Ice 8, this story has been online for some time-almost two years. But I still think it's good to have some net stories in zines. Someday I will probably lose the url for this story (when this computer crashes), but I will still have the zine saved because I save the Fire and Ice series zines.

"Party Line" is a 15 page story by Helen Patrick and Predatrix. This is a first time story that starts with Blake and Avon overhearing Cally and Jenna talk about a sexual fantasy they have concerning Blake and Avon. It's hard to remember that both Blake and Avon are in their mid-thirties. They act far too young/immature in this story.

"Love Is a Battlefield" is a 16 page PGP story by Julia Stamford. The story is interesting with original twists and turns. But because it focuses almost totally on Avon and his mental and emotional problems, I'm not that enthralled by it. I would not label this story erotic.

"Too Many ..." by Predatrix and Julia Stamford is a 24 page story that would have been better, in my opinion, if only half as long. There are many pages concerned about food that I could have done without. It was slow going reading this. Like "Party Line," it's a first time story, and both Blake and Avon act like men in their twenties.

"Dressing Right" by Willa Shakespeare and Zenia is 9 pages and gets the subtitle of "An Alternate Universe Story" which I suppose is meant as a warning that bizarre happenings are coming. I'm not turned on by the thought of Avon dressed like a woman. This story is not my cup of tea, but it's still okay.

"Kerrano" by Willa Shakespeare is the longest story in the zine at over 50 pages. You are told right away that this is an a/u story based on Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, a story which I dearly love. However, I'm not that crazy about the B7 version of the story. This might have been much better shorter. Avon is the main character in this, and I am not an Avon fan. As for A/B, they don't even kiss until about page 48 of the story, although Avon has sex with other people during the story.

As I said before, I recommend both Fire and Ice 8 and 9. I think I liked Fire and Ice 8 slightly better than 9. [21]

References

  1. Aralias reviewed this zine in 2013 on Dreamwidth
  2. 2.0 2.1 Predatrix. Fire and Ice 2 - Review. (Accessed 03 February 2013); reference link.
  3. review by Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  4. Aralias reviewed this zine in 2013 on Dreamwidth; reference link
  5. Subject: Zine review: Fire and Ice 2 (slash) by Sue C. dated July 29, 1993.
  6. In 2007, Judith Proctor reviewed the zine here; reference link
  7. In 2013, aralias reviewed the zine on Dreamwidth; reference link.
  8. from Sally Morton here/reference link
  9. from Morrigan here/reference link
  10. aralias reviewed this zine in November 2013 on Dreamwidth
  11. comment by Joyce Bowen here
  12. from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  13. from Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  14. aralias reviewed this zine in November 2013 on Dreamwidth
  15. a review in sonnet-form by Predatrix at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  16. a review by Belatrix Carter at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  17. http://aralias.dreamwidth.org/1963950.html#cutid1 aralias reviewed this zine in November 2013 on Dreamwidth]
  18. a review by Hafren at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  19. aralias reviewed this zine in July 2013 on Dreamwidth; reference link
  20. a 2005 review by Joyce Bowen at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  21. a 2005 review by Joyce Bowen at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
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