Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink

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Title: Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink
Publisher: Manacles Press
Date(s): 1992-1995
Medium: print
Fandom: The Professionals
Language: English
External Links:
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Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink is a series of slash anthologies edited and published by Megan Kent and Charlotte C. Hill in the 1990s. These zines contain no art and no poetry.

The phrase, often used for ironic sexual innuendo, comes from a Monty Python sketch known as Nudge Nudge.

Issue 1

cover of issue #1

Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink 1 was published in February 1992 and contains 139 pages.

From the zine: "This Fanzine contains over 80,500 words, in a format of 139 pages. It is possible to print, clearly, 80,000 words in any page format ranging from 95 pages to 240 pages. PAGE COUNT IS NOT AN ACCURATE MEASURE OF STORY OR ZINE LENGTH! And so concludes this lecture to support editors to begin relying on word count and saving trees...."

From the editorial:
Hiya, slashfans! The first, natural thing any normal editors (and us, as well) want to make known is their deep and abiding gratitude to their contributors! We sincerely appreciate the support and skill of all of our writers, with special thanks to Pam Rose (for being so damned good!). Jane (for surprising us! and for being a wonderful correspondent), and Stew for her continued commitment to support our publications. We love you all...'nuff said.

This zine was fun. We've enjoyed building it probably more than any other thus far, and we hope you'll enjoy reading it half as much. And now, if technical thingies and chances to save money bore you to tears, please, shift your eyes to the facing page and enjoy the zine. Thank you for playing!

A Word on Page Count.... With the incredible latitude of programs and computers, fonts, styles and formats that Very Small Presses use in fandom, we have come to the realization that 'page count' doesn't really mean anything. So...while we will still be polite and number our pages (maybe even correctly and in order), Manacles Press now and forevermore includes WORD COUNT on three, count them three, pages of its zines. We would love to solicit other editors to do the same, and we'd appreciate your response (we expect "I don't really care" to top the list. Sigh). Word count is a more accurate measure of what the reader is buying, and for MP, a way for us to start printing more ecologically, i.e. smaller, tighter formats on fewer pages that still provide as much or more story content as a larger format might. We are committed to offering you between 75,000 and 95,000 words of quality fiction in every zine.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

See reactions and reviews for Time Out: Past Tense.
See reactions and review for The Land-Bridge Saga.

Issue 2

cover of issue #2

Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink 2 was published in 1993.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

"Limbo": "Synopsis: Stricken with thoughts of his own mortality, Bodie tells Doyle how much he cares about him and is horrified when Doyle's reciprocal affection is expressed in terms of sexual love. Full of homophobic fears, Bodie passively accepts Doyle's sexual attentions when they have to share a bed, and then he copes with the consequences.

Well. First of all, Thomas, like some of the other authors in this zine, is stylistically a favourite of mine. I like the way she puts words together. I like the way she weaves feelings in to a pattern. This story amazed me in that she inverted just about everything I like to do with my own Pros stories. I like Bodie as the aggressor and the more experienced in male/male sex. I might have said, 'I like Bodie as the less homophobic character, but the truth is I prefer neither of them to be homophobic or even uncertain about their abstract acceptance of homosexuality, regardless of their level of experience or personal activity. In fact, I am happier by far when the question of orientation isn't even raised. And I prefer it when the characters, brought to face their mutual sexual interest (however unexpected) jump on each other like eager lemmings - or at least don't run screaming. This story falls into the 'run screaming' category... Moreover, I thought the set-up was cliche no. three in the Holden list of 'slash plots so trite they should be forbidden*. Along with 'the visit to the gay bar', the 'cold feet or other appendages needing warming', the 'trapped in small spaces', and the 'undercover as a gay couple' scenarios that make me cringe, we have the 'forced to share a bed' situation that turns up here. It's hard to make that one fresh. And to my delight, Thomas pulled it off. So it is to Thomas' credit that she made me believe in this Bodie, and made me enjoy the story, and had me rooting for both of them. I liked the way it was not told chronologically; the way there was a set-up of the problem and a resolution that was in character, optimistic, and heart-warrning without being the least bit sentimental Thomas is one of those masters at producing writing that is full of feeling without being sentimental I don't know how she does it, but I love it Not that I don't like sentiment, you understand. But I prefer this kind of hard-edged gut-wrench. So what we have is a triumph of style over content that had me reluctantly applauding the content Okay, so partners might have to share a bed, and Doyle might well take advantage, and Bodie, if he had all those mixed feelings of repression and lust and shame and affection ... Dammit, she took a situation that I find psychologically implausible and unappealing and made it convincing and moving and - not least - thoroughly sexy."

"The Sisters of No Mercy": "This was a sequel to a story by Jane Mailander which I haven't read called "Some Say the World Will End in Fire, Some in Ice'. In principle, I dislike sequels. Fussy, aren't I? But sequels almost invariably demand knowledge of the original story, which can be hard to find. Or they present numerous other annoyances which I will not list here since it isn't pertinent This was one of the exceptions. I felt no need to have read "Ice&etc/ to understand this. Synopsis: CI5 Agents Linda Keogh and Sally Woolridge, on an op, discuss their boss, the Controller of CI5, Iron Bodie - who has never smiled since his partner Doyle was killed. Woolridge's unrequited love for Keogh is only one of several interesting threads here. It helped that Jane Mailander used a few of my favourite plot devices: I like the idea of the hero who survives the worst possible scenario - in this case, for Bodie, Doyle's death. I love the idea of Bodie being Controller of CI5 and I love the older Bodie. I even like the idea of an older, repressed, angry Bodie who has nothing to live for but his work and no human feeling left I like the idea of older CI5 veterans remembering earlier days in the Squad. And though I don't usually like original characters, Keogh and Woolridge were interesting enough to carry the action of the story, while keeping the focus on Bodie and Doyle."

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love: "Synopsis: Bodie and Murphy are lovers. Furious when he learns of it, Doyle threatens to turn them in to Cowley unless they stop seeing each other. To Murphy's surprise, Bodie chooses commitment to his lover and braves the anger of both Cowley and Doyle, at the risk of his future career, though he will not say that he loves Murphy. First of all, I like Murphy a lot, and I particularly liked Murphy as he was here depicted - loving Bodie, committed, desperately keeping his demands low and his expectations lower to prolong the affair as long as possible. Second, I have no theoretical problem with stories that give Bodie a lover other than Doyle. It's just that the writer has to work very hard to make me believe that any relationship in Bodie's life could be as interesting and as worth reading about (or writing about) as that with Doyle. So as with many another story, I read this thinking that the Bodie-Doyle interaction was more interesting than anything that happened between Murphy and Bodie, even while I was reacting emotionally to the heightened sense of romance with Murphy. Each conversation with Doyle set off sparks. Each conversation with Doyle was intriguing and I wanted more: more of it, more explanation of what lay behind it I also wanted - needed - more information to be able to evaluate the conversations between Bodie and Doyle. The crux of the plot was Doyle's anger his bitter resentment of Murphy's influence on Bodie and of Bodie's love for Murphy. But why? Homophobia? Jealousy? Both? I thought it was implied that his motive was jealousy; which in turn implied that Doyle wanted Bodie, whether he admitted it or not; which in turn increased my suspicion that this could and should be a Bodie/Doyie story instead of a Bodie/Murphy story. I also did not understand Cowley's reaction. Okay, so it wasn't 'my' Cowley, the way I write... I see him as a non-homophobic, warm-hearted man with high ideals and higher standards, who has to do hard things to achieve important goals. Who feels great friendship for Bodie and would go to great lengths to enhance Bodies welfare, all things being equaL I think my interpretation of Cowley is backed by canon, but that's beside the point. I'm flexible.... What I liked most about this story was its depiction of Murphy. But it left me as much puzzled as satisfied."

"Games": "Synopsis: After an op, Bodie makes some homophobic remarks so to tease him, Doyle takes him to a gay bar. To his surprise, Bodie makes a pass at him, so they go back to Doyle's place and check out how far each is willing to go. I've already said that I don't like 'gay bar' stories, and I like even less stories in which Bodie expresses homophobic attitudes as a cover for his own orientation, which strikes me as both dishonest and unpleasant - not attributes 1 want to see in Bodie. But getting past this, this is the best story with this theme that I have read. It was warm, touching, and even funny. It managed to make a trite situation seem all right The characters as I see them wouldn't act like this, but if you accept that they would act like this - and, wrenching, I was able to suspend my disbelief well enough - then the dialogue is in character, witty, and not nearly as simple as it might appear."

"Guardian Angels: "Synopsis: Kate Ross wants to talk to Cowley about something. When she finally manages to get his attention, it appears he already knows the topic. This leads to a flashback about Cowley's experiences during World War II as a young soldier, captured by the Nazis, escaping with two British flyers going under the names of David Bentley and Mark Layton. As they travel together, Cowley learns that Bentley and Layton are lovers. His initial disgust gives way to sympathy and understanding as he comes to recognise their courage and the depth of their mutual love. So when pinned down to expressing a position on homosexuality to Kate Ross, he firmly speaks in favour of tolerance. I love Cowley, and of all this stories in this zine, this was the story that portrayed Cowley as I see him. The courage under pressure, the implied religious faith, the good heart and the sense of humour, the regrets for his own failures and flaws, the friendship with Ross, the horror of cruelty and injustice - all characteristics I see in Cowley, and love in him. Not a Bodie and Doyle story, except in tangential implication, but one of the best Cowley stories I have read. I was puzzled, though, by one scene. Young Cowley stumbles upon Layton and Bentley making love one night He watches. The scene is described in some considerable detail I liked this, of course. But it appears that young Cowley didn't like it. So why did he watch with such meticulous regard to detail? That doesn't imply disgust or disinterest. Was it just that Baravan wanted to include the sex scene? I'm happy with that, but I didn't feel Cowley's point of view was efFectively woven into it."

"Champers": "Synopsis: Bodie and Doyle are assigned (in dinner jackets) as security to a diplomatic party where a shooting incident occurs. Bodie, seriously in love with Doyle, has decided to seduce him, and makes his opportunity after the party. Who is Sophie Max and why haven't I heard of her before? Is this her only Eros story, or have I missed things? I loved this story with a passion. There may be nothing particularly different about the way Bodie and Doyle (and Cowley and Murphy) are characterised here, except that it is exactly the way I interpret their characters and exactly the way I try to write them. Sophie Max could have been writing this with my brain. (Aside from the fact that I wasn't a Pros fan in 1993.) She is my doppelganger, mon semblable mon frere (as Baudelaire would say) my distant other self. This is the relationship as I most like to see it and depict it, and the theme I most enjoy: Bodie, having patiently and silently loved his partner for a long time, makes his move and is rewarded with success. This combines a heavy dose of internal dialogue and personal feeling with a nice exciting shoot-em-up CI5 action-adventure case, which is the way I like to see a story structured. And then Sophie Max writes a sex scene that has just about all my favourite details, as if she was catering to my kinks and whims and doing it to order. Okay, not every single one of my kinks and whims turns up, but pretty close - many of my favourites. Even the little details and emotional nuances, not to mention the positions, the acts and the dialogue accompanying them. Whew. Wonderful. Cold shower rime. This story was so like something I might want to write that I couldn't believe it No objectivity here. Thank you, Sophie Max, whoever and wherever you are. This was like eettiruT a Christmas present in February."

"Measure for Measure": "Synopsis: A large drug case is going on. Doyle and Bodie are lovers, but their relationship is troubled - something to do with Bodie having been raped and tortured, though the main problem (or part of it) turns out to be that Doyle won't fuck him and he wants him to. (I think) Pretending that the relationship between them is superficial and casual, Doyle is messing up personally and professionally, even risking their lives because of his stress. Bodie says he is making an end to the affair, but he doesn't mean it, and uses the threat to further seduce Doyle. Doyle tells Bodie that Cowley wants him, and that he resents their relationship. Bodie then goes to Cowley and seduces him, without telling Doyle. Um ... am I getting this right so far? On the plus side, this story had a nice sense of twistiness. All the characters are into double- and t riple-think, and though most of the time I had no clear notion of why they were doing and feeling any of the things they were doing and feeling, it was reasonably entertaining (though perplexing) to see them doing and feeling it I particularly liked Bodie's glee on successfully seducing Cowley, and his fantasy of fucking both Cowley and Doyle every day, as he dresses in clothes calculated to most effectively manipulate Doyle. (Though I must admit that I wasn't sure why he really wanted to seduce this rather unattractive version of Cowley. Aside from the bbckmail-manipulation potential, that is; it was clear Bodie enjoyed the act for its own sake, but it wasn't clear why) We don't often see a Bodie as Macchiavellian or as promiscuous as this, and I liked it... Halfway through this rather long story I gave up trying to understand what was happening or why and just sat back and enjoyed the prose. And I really did enjoy the prose. Okay, so it was out of character, to my eyes. Cowley was the most extreme case - if not for the name, I wouldn't have believed this was the character I know and love, especially in the few paragraphs that were (disconcertingly) in his point of view. And the plot, besides not making sense to me, seemed to wander and meander and go around in a few circles and meet a few dead ends before actually getting anywhere, insofar as it did get anywhere. And I couldn't really say where that was. Except that the ride, though jerky, was fun. There were some great byways and sights along the way, like a delightful sex scene when Bodie pulls Doyle into a broom closet Some odd interplay about drug use, some odder references to their working relationship, some lovely glancing references to Murphy. I loved their mental challenges, trying to manipulate each other, lying for effect, seducing over and over in different ways and on different levels - not quite Les Liaisons Dangereuses but a little along those lines. Making love by making war, both intellectually and physically The fisherman's approach to romance: bait, hook, tackle, line, reeling in the victim." [1]

Issue 3

cover of issue #3

Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink 3 was published in September 1993 and contains 136 pages.

From an ad in On the Double #28: "Some light, and a lot of angst, a little Murphy, a little Cowley, and plenty of Bodie/Doyle. Available at ZebraCon, September '93."

From the zine: "This Fanzine contains 79,200+ words, in a format of 136 pages. PAGE COUNT IS NOT AN ACCURATE MEASURE OF STORY OR ZINE LENGTH! And so concludes this lecture to support editorsto begin relying on word count and savingtrees...."

From the editorial:
Well, this was fun! We are even quite proud of ourselves for getting this zine to the printer's several (okay, three.. .okay, two) days before our flight was due to depart lovely Los Angeles. Thank you to all our authors for different reasons: Jane Mailander, for rewriting above and beyond the call of duty, Jane Carnall for proofreading French where we were incapable, Alex MacKenzie for calling us and checking in before she left for ZebraCon, Courtney Gray for asking, "Do you want my story?" (do we want it?!?!), Lezlie Shell for responding gracefully to death threats, and Maggie Hall for saying, "yeah, sure, whatever" to our numerous and heated comments. Thanks, folks. We really appreciate it! Also, special thanks to our friends from the LA crowd who we press-ganged into proofreading this when they thought they were just going to a party. We worked on it after they read it though, and of course, all errors are 100% our responsibility.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

See reactions and reviews for The Blue Figurine.
See reactions and reviews for Facets II: Stolen Moments.
See reactions and reviews for Settlement.
[zine]: I'm also finished with Nudge, Nudge, Wink Wink III, (No snickering...) and liking it a lot more.

Blood of the Lamb--[Lezlie Shell] What can you say about a story with this line? "He slapped the doubled leather belt across his palm, shuddering with dread at the thought of reddening his beloved's perfect buttocks." Wonderfully silly!

Coming To Terms--[Alexandra] is even better now than the version she circulated on-line. The integration of aired moments and their growing relationship is great. I loved Bodie's reaction when Doyle comes clean. If I could have changed this at all, it would just have been to flesh out the individual pieces a little more.

Some Days are Better Than Others...La Perfide Albion--[Jane Carnell] and Coming to Terms, a story written by a Doyle lover where Cowley looks like an insensitive pig, is perfectly followed by a story written by a Cowley lover who makes Doyle look like an insensitive... Two parter shows the Doyle Cowley relationship from both sides.

Settlement --[Jane Mailander] continues the Landbridge series. (Murphy/Doyle) This one is a little too repetitive and obvious compared to the deft touch of the first couple of stories in the series, but I did like it.

Facets II--[Maggie Hall] is the rewriting of a story that she first wrote for Frank and Vinnie, exploring how the same situation would have to change because of the differences between Frank and Vinnies relationship and Bodie and Doyle's. Good story whether you've read the other or not.

The Blue Figurine--[Courtney Gray] was sad and intense and wonderful. I expected it to be a 'It's a wonderful life' rewrite, and it surprised me more than once. What would Ray's life be like if he had never been partnered with Bodie? And what would he do to get him back...

What more you ask? Well, consistant editing, nice layout, a decent prize ($15 in person for 79,000 words) All in all, a very nice Pros zine. [2]

Issue 4

cover of issue #4

Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink 4 was published in October 1995 and is 135 pages long.

From the editors: "This Fanzine contains 79,400 words, in a format o f 135 pages. PAGE COUNT IS NOT AN ACCURATE MEASURE OF STORY OR ZINE LENGTH! And so concludes this lecture to support editors to begin relying on word count and saving trees...."

According to the editors, this zine was a "return to Pros fandom roots" and these stories feature "the 'real' Bodie and Doyle, in the 'real' CI5 universe doing 'real' tv tough-guy things. (We hesitate to call anything a "plot"—but we're getting there.)"

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

See reactions and reviews for The Two Trees.
See reactions and reviews for Be My Valentine.
[zine]: Couldn't get into the first story ("The Two Trees"), got bored waiting for the Lads to get in the same scene together. Loved "Be My Valentine" and "Stealing Home" (Okay, I know the authors are my Seattle pals, but still, I can say in a quite unbiased fashion that these are *good* stories. Honest. Trust me.) Didn't like the last story ("Hide and Seek"), though at least I read it. It's not bad, it just seemed written for the situation, and not for the characters. Best story in the zine is Maggie Hall's long piece, "You Get What You Need" - she's trying something with more plot here (and a good one!) and makes it work beautifully. I could tell that a lot of thought went into this story, into the plot, the characters, into everything. Very enjoyable to read. This was by far the best zine I got at Zcon, and despite the first story, I can definitely recommend it. [3]


  1. ↑ from DIAL #7
  2. ↑ In 1993, Sandy Herrold posted a brief review as part of her Zcon convention report. It is reposted here with permission.
  3. ↑ In 1995, Alexfandra posted a brief review of the zine as part of her ZCon convention report sent to the Virgule mailing list. It is reposted here with her permission.
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