Southern Comfort (multimedia zine)

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You may be looking for the Star Trek TOS zine, Southern Comfort.

Zine
Title: Southern Comfort, Southern Lights, Southern Lights Specials
Publisher: Ann Wortham
Editor(s):
Date(s): 1985-1999
Series?:
Medium: print
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Blake's 7, multimedia
Language: English
External Links: Ashton Press
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

Southern Comfort is one of Blakes 7 fandom's longest running, continuously published adult zines, featuring both adult het and slash material.

Earlier issues (up through 4.5) were titled Southern Lights, sometimes referred to as Southern Lights Specials. Issues numbered x.75 contain all slash/all Avon/Vila stories. [1]

General Reactions

"One of the first 'adult' zines in B7 was Southern Lights (later Southern Comfort). This zine was gen sometimes, and adult other times (if it was a whole number: i.e., 1, 2, 3; then it was gen; if it was 1.5, 3.75. etc. then it was adult).

Unlike most, these zines published adult, male slash and female slash stories all together. There never were too many female slash stories, but they fit into the zine like all the other stories (and yes, they were written mostly by women (as is most fanfic of any type)).

The early numbers, especially 3.75 (warning, mostly A/V) and 4.5 (all pairings, including J/C) were very good. The last few have been bad and getting worse. Avoid the most recent (7.5) entirely."[2]
"Why so? I must admit simple curiosity here, since I have the zine in question and there were several stories that I quite liked. There were some clunkers, yes, but all zines have clunkers. How about a review or two from folk Out There? (Maybe from differing points of view.) More entertaining than an off-the-cuff opinion, certainly.[3]

Issue 1

1987 flyer

Southern Lights 1 was originally published in 1985. 329 reduced print pages.

cover of issue #1
  • Paybacks Are Hell by Susan Hall (Miami Vice) (3 pages)
  • Out of My Dreams by Annita K. Smith (Scarecrow & Mrs. King) (4 pages)
  • Casualty by Liz S. (Fantasy)
  • Starting Over by Jeannie Webster (Indiana Jones, OSS series) (2 pages)
  • Things Change in Two Million Years, Rick by Jacqueline Taero (Simon & Simon)
  • Hero by L. A. Adolf (Simon & Simon) (12 pages?)
  • Impressions by Jacqueline Taero (Miami Vice)
  • Unconventional Procedure by L. A. Carr (T.J. Hooker/Star Trek) (8 pages)
  • Tempo Fugit by Liz S. (Dr. Who)
  • Marion's Bantu Wind Song by Marci Erwin (Indiana Jones)
  • Temple of Doom Maze by Marci Erwin (Indiana Jones) (2 pages)
  • Geas by Liz S. (Fantasy)
  • A Simon & Simon Art Portfolio by Laura Virgil (6 pages)
  • Darkborn by Carol Regine and Danaline Bryant (Star Wars) (3 pages)
  • The Mermaid by Diane Farnsworth (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea) (17 pages)
  • Sailor's Poetry or Images Painted in Moonlight by Linda Terrell (Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea)
  • Vengeance is Mind by Linda Nights (Simon and Simon) ("Rick Simon knows he and his brother live a dangerous life, but that knowledge doesn't make things any easier when A.J. is shot by their client's brother.") (14 pages)
  • Asteroids by Lynda Vandiver (Star Wars game)
  • Alone by Linda Nights (Rat Patrol)
  • Bedtime Story by Valerie Alidina and Laura Virgil (Star Trek) (8 pages)
  • Cockpit Conversation by Carolyn Golledge (Star Wars)
  • Adventurer for Hire by Laura Virgil and Cheree Cargill (Indiana Jones) (3 pages)
  • Painfully Obvious by Leah Rosenthal (Miami Vice)
  • Memories Set in Concrete by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (3 pages)
  • The Final Act by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (1 page)
  • Terminus Ex Sominum by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (2 pages)
  • Beautiful Replicant by Marci Erwin (Blade Runner)
  • Crossroads by Annita K. Smith (Scarecrow & Mrs. King) (4 pages)
  • Chance Encounter by Susan Hall (Simon & Simon) (3 pages)
  • The Office Affair by Cheree Cargill (WKRP in Cincinnati) (8 pages)
  • Ben Faces Vader by Lynda Vandiver (Star Wars game)
  • One Lonely Knight by Lorraine Bartlett (Knight Rider) (9 pages)
  • Tulips Bloom in the Sixth Quadrant by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7/Dr. Who)
  • Sweet Revenge by CarolMel Ambassador (Wizards and Warriors) (7 pages)
  • The Thousandth Man by Louann Qualls (Airwolf) (18 pages)
  • Falling Star by CarolMel Ambassador (Star Trek)
  • The Night of the Peon's Death by Lorraine Beatty (Wild Wild West) ("When Artemus Gordon goes undercover at a sugar cane plantation, James West has a frightening premonition -- that he may never see his partner alive again.") (28 pages)
  • The "Anything Goes" Art Portfolio Spotlighting: Leah Rosenthal, Jenni, Danaline, Suzy Sansom, Vicki Brinkmeir and Ann Larimer (Orlando Vice (cartoon), Remington Steele, Star Wars, Don Johnson, T.J Hooker, a Los Angeles map) (7 pages)
  • The Lessons of History Raid by Linda Knights (Rat Patrol) (Troy and Tully argue bitterly on the eve of an important mission.) (9 pages)
  • Hogtown Hustle by Susanne McGhin (Miami Vice) ("Crockett and Tubbs are in for a big surprise when a small town prostitution bust starts to turn into something much more complicated and dangerous.") (34 pages)
  • A Wink of God's Eye by Katrine Snyder (Star Wars) (41 pages)
  • Time In Its Flight by Christine Jeffords (Simon & Simon) (A Mother's Day dinner with Cecelia inspires Rick and A.J. to flashback on their boyhoods.) (42 pages)

Issue 1.5

cover of issue #1.5

Southern Lights 1.5 was published in 1985, is 49 pages long, and has only Man From U.N.C.L.E. content, four stories. All of the content is anonymous.

  • The Bad Day At Black Rock Affair Illya’s in a foul mood and Fate seems to determined to make it fouler. But the Russian’s timely rescue of a lovely damsel in distress could just change his luck) (12 pages)
  • The Interlude Affair (It was a routine stakeout assignment for Napoleon Solo and April Dancer until things start to ‘heat’ up a little bit) (6 pages)
  • The ‘This Vacation Is Not As Incredibly Boring As I Thought It Would Be Affair’ (It’s Christmas time and Illya is feeling homesick. He takes a vacation to get away from it all and things are pretty quiet—until Sarah Jane Smith skis over him) (20 pages)
  • The Russian Physicist Affair (Napoleon is intrigued by Larissa Petrov but not half as intrigued as he is about her relationship with Illya) (9 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1.5

[zine]: Lordy, lordy, lordy, what a lovely piece of naughty bits this zine is. Yes, SL 1.5 embodies all the wild day dreams we've envisioned about the sexual aspects of Man from UNCLE, and keeps it all... straight. All the stories in SL 1.5 are of a sexual nature, and they are genuine woo 'em and screw 'em tales -- something that had been missing from UNCLE fandom. Everything in the zine is anonymous, but that doesn't distract from the fun. These stories deal with very little plot, not hurt/comfort, and lots of action de lit. No mercy screws, no rapes, not gratuitous sex. These stories were written to be fun, there are no heavy plots and nothing to plague the little grey cells. Neat layout, lack of typos, good, easy-to-read all count in its favor. Aside from the one 'censored' illo of Illya, the zine is barren of artwork, but we all can create much more explicit pictures in our mids than any artist could put down with pen and ink. For the high level of fun, sex, and overall gratitude from this UNCLE reader, I rate SL 1.5 an 8. [4]

Issue 2

cover of issue #2
first page of "Conspiracy" -- sample text

Southern Lights 2 was published in August 1986 and is 276 pages long. It contains both gen and slash.

slightly larger version of cover of issue #2 which may reveal name of artist
  • Dragon Sleeping by Linda Terrell (Blake's 7) (9 pages)
  • The ‘Anything Goes’ Art Portfolio Spotlighting: Bizarro 7…Buckaroo Banzai…Professionals…Blake’s 7…Star Trek…* * Star Wars…Dr Who…Fantasy (21 pages)
  • Steaming Wangs (Sort Of A Western) (24 pages)
  • Fall Apart Where I’m Standing (Hitchhiker's Guide) (1 page)
  • To Savor The Bitter Wine by L.A. Carr (Simon & Simon) (37 pages)
  • First The Good News… (Star Trek) (1 page)
  • Battlefield Blues (Simon & Simon) (1 page)
  • Small Talk (Miami Vice) (2 pages)
  • Camarand Dreamin’ (Wizards & Warriors) (1 page)
  • Black Sheep by Katrina Snyder (Star Wars) (19 pages)
  • Raiders Of The Lost Carbonite by Carolyn Golledge (Indiana Jones/Star Trek) (52 pages)
  • Weirdest Women (Miami Vice) (1 page)
  • Hot Stuff (Miami Vice) (1 page)
  • Spies—A Portfolio (15 pages)
  • The Two Sides Of A Traitor Raid by Linda Knights (Rat Patrol) (18 pages) (Sealed orders force Troy to deceive his men, jeopardizing their working relationship.)

Issue 2.5

cover of issue #2.5, Leah Rosenthal, "Silver Alpha"

Southern Lights 2.5 was published in March 1986 and is 65 pages long. it contains a mix of slash and gen stories, including the “infamous” “Rogue,” by London Bates and a “Hellhound” story. It is an all-Blake's 7 issue.

Fiction:

  • Barbara T, "Aftereffects" (3)
  • London Bates, "Intermezzo in B" (7)
  • Lousiana Bailey & A. Toyten Bankes, "Paradise Loused Up" (aka Planet of the Slave Boys) (13)
  • Mara Calahan & Crystal Adams, "Sharing" (21)
  • Lotta Sleaze, "Have Another" (30)
  • Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "The Weight of a Feather" (Hellhound Universe) (32)
  • London Bates, "Reluctant Rebel" (39)
  • Barbara T, "Personal Management" (40)
  • London Bates, "Nearly Beloved/Rogue" (47) (See Nearly Beloved)

Art:

  • Leah Rosenthal cover "Silver Alpha"

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2.5

See reactions and reviews for Nearly Beloved/Rogue.
[zine]: This edition has a delectable cover drawing of Avon (silver shirt phase) by Leah Rosenthal; I am not particularly an Avon fan but I can appreciate ART. Otherwise the only illustrations are photos.

I presume from the editorial that other editions of Southern Lights, unlike this one, aren't necessarily all B7. Southern Lights Special 2.5 is adult, roughly half the content being straight and half slash. There are nine stories.

Being a Vila fan I loved [Barbara T's] two short stories "Aftereffects" (C/V) and "Personal Management" (V/B). Both are totally believable, and written with real insight.

This is definitely a zine for Vila fans, as there is yet another good C/V story -oh joy - "Sharing". This is not to say that no-one else gets a look-in. Of the longer stories there is one post-GP concerning Avon, Blake and Tarrant. Writers include London Bates, Louisiana Bailey and A. Toyten Bankes, Mara Calahan and Crystal Adams, Katrina Snyder and Susanne McGhin. [5]

Issue 3

Southern Lights 3 was published in May 1987, is 293 pages long and contains stories, poems and artwork based on Indiana Jones, Blakes 7, Simon & Simon, Airwolf, A-Team, Miami Vice, The Man From UNCLE, Black Sheep Squadron, The Year of Living Dangerously and more.

cover of issue #3
flyer for issue #3, click to read summaries, ad from Southern Seven #1
  • A Civilization Gone With the Wind by Jeannie Webster (Indiana Jones)
  • A Relative Matter by L.A. Carr (Simon and Simon)
  • No Strings Attached by Louann Qualls (Airwolf)
  • Melody in Variation by Linda Knights (Airwolf)
  • The Rock-a-Bye Baby Affair by Charlene Kirby (Man from Uncle)
  • Diamond Formation by Lorraine Beatty (A-Team)
  • The Consequences of an Unfortunate Excess Sobriety by Linda Knights (Black Sheep Squadron)
  • Triangle Blues by Christine Jeffords (Simon and Simon)
  • The Trouble with Informants by Susanne McGhin (Miami Vice)
  • For Today and Forever by Linda Knights (Miami Vice)
  • Art by Barbara Frances-Simon, Cathy Bryson, Mary Otten, Suzy Samson, Charlene Kirby, Leah Rosenthal, and Dani Lane, Wanda Lybarger, Barbara Frances-Simon
  • other poetry, filks and shorts from Jeannie Webster, Teresa Sarick, Barbara T, Michelle Worley


Issue 3.5

cover of issue #3.5
back cover of issue #3.5, uncredited by the publisher. Artist signature reads: Stanford.

Southern Lights 3.5 was published in April 1987, is 74 pages long. It is a mix of slash and gen stories, including a special “Hellhound” story.

Fiction:

  • Julie Kramer, "Out with a Bang, or, The Orbit We Never Saw" (Avon/Vila)
  • Jane Carnall, "Mental Health"
  • Northwest Smith, "A Question of Balance" (Blake/Avon, with previous A/G)
  • Ingrid Montrose, "Poker Night" (Avon/Vila)
  • Paula, "Journey's End" (Jabberwocky universe) [6] (Blake/Jenna)
  • London Bates, "Avon's Law" (Blake/Avon)
  • Henrietta Street, "Pillow Talk" (all)
  • Jane Carnall, "A Saying in Broth Spoils the Thyme" (Cally/Jenna?)
  • xBryn Lantry, "Fugitives" (Blake/Avon)
  • Aislinn, "Kindred Souls" (Avon/Cally)
  • Paula, "Affirmation" (Blake/Avon) - sequel to "Renascence"
  • Susan Hall, "Those Lips, Those Eyes" (Avon/?)
  • Branta Bernicula, "Night Moves" (Blake/OFC)
  • London Bates, "First Person Singular" (Avon/Vila/Blake?)
  • Katrina Snyder & Susanne McGhin, "I Was So Young..." (Hellhound Universe) - (Jenna/OMC, with implied B/J)
  • Uncredited, "Rain Must Fall" (Avon/OFC)
  • Ingrid Montrose, "If We Play Our Cards Right" (Avon/Vila)
flyer for issue 3.5 with story summaries, click to read

Nonfiction:

  • An anonymous letter from the Editor

Poetry:

  • Diana Romero, "Silver Alpha"

Art:

  • Leah Rosenthal (front cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3.5

[zine]: American adult zine with eleven slash stories, six straight, one poem and some cartoons. The stories vary from half a page to twelve pages in length.

"Journey's end" by Paula is an excellent Blake/Jenna story set in the Jabberwocky universe; I have come across this story in another zine but can't remember which. Jenna appears again in another well-written story, "I was so young" by Katrina Snyder and Susanne McGhin. Set immediately after Duel, it explores her feelings for Blake as she tells Cally about her first affair and the career that followed.

There are several Blake and Avon stories. "A Question of balance" by Northwest Smith takes place after the death of Gan. "Avon's law" by London Bates shows the antagonism and attraction between Avon and Blake very well. "Fugitives" by xBryn Lantry has the two of them camping out, the usual ambivalence of Ms.Lantry's prose and very good too.

"First person singular" by London Bates is difficult to follow. It's another male prostitute scenario involving Avon, Vila under another identity, and a mysterious character who may be Blake himself, a Blake clone, or someone completely different. Perhaps there's an earlier story which would clarify this one.

"Night Moves" by Branta Bernicula is an somewhat unoriginal straight encounter between Blake and a visiting female space commander. Another straight story is "Rain must fall" in which Avon shows his sensitive side with a young rebel. ( Will Avon ever find True Love and Happiness? Not if his fans have anything to do with it)

There are three Avon and Vila stories, all light-hearted. Julie Kramer's "Out with a Bang" is an amusing Orbit variation. "Poker night" and "If we play our cards right", both by Ingrid Montrose, cover pretty much the same ground. Other shorts are by Jane Carnall, Henrietta Street, Aislinn, and Susan Hall. [7]

Issue 3.75

cover of issue #3.75, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 3.75 was published in September 1987 and is 76 pages long. It is all slash; all Avon/Vila and has 13 stories.

Fiction:

  • Jane Carnall, "Civilized Terror"
  • Ingrid Montrose & B. J. Benson, "Opportunities"
  • Tenaya, "In the Cage"
  • Paula, "Ill-Gotten Gains"
  • London Bates, "Not in Death nor Sleep Repose"
  • Erica Leonard, "Mended Dream" (sequel to Broken Fantasy)
  • Barbara T, "Revenant"
  • Ellis Ward, "A Question of Trust"
  • Bobbi Withers, "Torn Between the Blessing and the Curse"
  • J. D. Reece, "Privacy"
  • Henrietta Street, "Payment in Kind"
  • Catocala, "How Much Love" (Last Stand universe)
  • Catocala, "Long Way from the Edge" (Last Stand universe)

Art:

  • Leah Rosenthal (front and back cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3.75

See reactions and reviews for Privacy.
[zine]: This zine is entirely A/V. The good news for A/V fans is that none of the stories are duds and most are excellent. Unusually in an exclusively A/V zine there are no Orbit stories - now that just ain't natural.

In "Civilised Terror" Avon takes up Vila's invitation. Vila gets hold of the wrong end of the stick and Avon is predictably less than thrilled by his response. The story revolves around their ambivalent feelings for one another and has a happy ending.

"Opportunities" is a lighthearted story in which Avon persuades Vila to break into a bank vault. Things get out of hand when they are unexpectedly interrupted, and Avon kisses Vila to stop him betraying their presence (well, what else could he do?). Events quickly come to a climax before they make their escape.

At the start of "In the Cage" Vila is grieving for Gan, and also worried at the loss of his protection; he feels threatened by the Liberator's Alpha contingent. Avon is concerned, bless him, and realises he misses Vila's company. Then he realises he is missing more than company, but how will Vila, with his history of victimisation, react to Avon's advances?

"Ill-gotten Gains" is great fun. Immediately after Gambit, Avon and Vila stash their winnings and then proceed to more pressing matters. Their relationship is amiable, teasing, and reflected in the quick cut and thrust of their dialogue. The ending however is quietly ominous.

Avon and Blake have been lovers in "Not in Death nor Sleep Repose", but now it is three days since Aftermath and Avon is missing him. There is a mysterious noise in the depths of the ship, Vila and Avon become lovers. It would give away the plot to say what they find when they investigate.

"Mended Dream" is a sequel to "Broken Fantasy" in Quicksilver Rising 4. In the original story Avon tried to make love to Vila, whom he thought would welcome the experience, but Vila saw it as attempted rape and rejected him. Now, after Anna's death, Vila tries to help his anguished colleague. Avon has got uncharacteristically drunk, Vila is uncharacteristically bold and gives him a few home truths - Avon really needs to get a grip, not necessarily on himself of course - about acknowledging needs, caring, tenderness, the usual in these scenarios. Ultimately they have another go, and in the end Avon admits to needing a nice, warm Delta- ahh!

"Revenant" is another goodie from a reliable writer, but sadly it's only two and a half pages long. This too is post-Anna's death. Avon is shattered by Anna's betrayal and turns to Vila whose advances have not previously interested him. He needs Vila to take a lead and Vila responds suitably.

The plot of "A Question of Trust" contrives to place Avon and Vila, who are not and have never been lovers, in a situation in which they have to have sex with each other or get killed. Avon has his own reasons for wanting to go through with it. Vila has been abused many times in the past and blames Avon for their situation. Contrived though the plot is, the scenes between the two men are pretty good, and this is an enjoyable story.

"Torn between the Blessing and the Curse" is post-Anna's death for the third time. Vila had looked after Avon following the original embezzlement, and tries to help him recover in the usual way. He kisses his friend to show him he's not dead yet, Avon is suspicious of his motives but responds to loving and those big brown eyes.

[See this fan's comments about Privacy.]

The last two stories are both set in the Last Stand universe, hurrah. Kerril is putting pressure on Vila to ask Avon to consummate the bond all three share in "How Much Love". Vila is apprehensive abut Avon's reaction and at first tries to sidestep the issue. There seems to be a communication problem here, so what else is new? However it all ends in group hugs. The adventure continues in the beguiling "Long Way from the Edge". The plot is very simple; Kerril sends Avon and Vila off on a soil safari, ostensibly to see why the land won't support agriculture, but we know better don't we? They sit and talk and eventually declare their love for one another, followed by a demonstration. Simple and beautifully written. [8]

Issue 4

cover of issue #4, Laura Virgil

Southern Lights 4 was published in May 1988 and is 283 pages long. It contains both gen and slash. Art by Barbara Frances-Simon and Laura Virgil.

  • Companions (BLAKE’S 7) (7 pages)
  • Steps (MIAMI VICE) (2 pages)
  • Camarand Fare (WIZARDS & WARRIORS/TAXI) (40 pages)
  • Range War (SILVERADO/BIG VALLEY) (12 pages)
  • Fit For The Gods (SIMON & SIMON) (18 pages)
  • Memories (MIAMI VICE) (11 pages)
  • Return (AIRWOLF) (18 pages)
  • On The Brink (BLAKE’S 7) (9 pages)
  • …And Baby Makes Three (SIMON & SIMON) (7 pages)
  • Conversations (SCARECROW & MRS. KING) (2 pages)
  • Monday, March 13, 198- (MIAMI VICE) (5 pages)
  • The “Anything Goes” Art Portfolio Spotlighting: Magnum P.I.Ladyhawke (3)…Blake’s 7 (4)…Dr Who (2)…Ghostbusters (11 pages)
  • Steele In Oz (SCARECROW & MRS. KING) (20 pages)
flyer for issue #4 with story summaries, click to read
  • December 12…Forever (AIRWOLF) (1 page)
  • Prisoners In Disguise (THE DEVLIN CONNECTION) (14 pages)
  • Face Value (BLAKE'S 7) (7 pages)
  • The Lure (AIRWOLF) (13 pages)
  • Gone With The Girl Scouts (SIMON & SIMON) (1 page)
  • It Happened When? (SIMON & SIMON) (32 pages)
  • The Gift (THE MASTER) (1 page)
  • Cowardice Under Fire (AIRWOLF) (12 pages)
  • The Final Fun-Tier (STAR TREK) (1 page)
  • Demongate (BLAKE’S 7) 11 pages)
  • Long, Long Time (MAGNUM P.I.) (6 pages)

Issue 4.5

cover of issue #4.5, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 4.5 was published in March 1988 and is 143 pages long. It is a mix of slash and gen adult stories.

Fiction:

  • D. D. Montgomery, "Were T'Other Dear Charmer Away" (Avon/Blake/Jenna)
  • Ellis Ward, "A Form of Comfort" (Avon/Blake)
  • Ingrid Montrose, "Bedtime Story" (Avon/Vila)
  • Sophia Mulvey, "The Path Not Taken" (set in the Deltah Base universe, many more stories can be found in various issues of the The Seven Live On) (Blake/OC, Avon/Blake)
  • Mary Gerstner & April Giordano, "More Than Friends" (Avon/Orac?)
  • Tenaya, "People Change" (Tarrant/Vila, Avon/Vila)
  • Madelyn Darring, "Cathouse Blues" (various)
  • Ellen Walters, "What Happened Next" (Avon/Servalan)
  • Thomas, "Chimera" (Avon/Blake)
  • D. D. Montgomery, "Creature Comforts" (Avon/Vila)
  • Libby Rator, "Powerplays" (Avon/Servalan)
  • Linda Terrell, "Random Access" (Avon/Blake)
  • Rosinanta, "Those Hips, Those Thighs" (Avon/Jenna)
  • Ellis Ward, "To Save a Friend" (Avon/Blake)
  • Branta Bernicula, "Fund Raiser" (Vila)
  • Madelyn Darring, "Don't Stand So Close to Me" (Dayna/Tarrant, Avon/Vila)
  • Anonymous, Untitled (Avon/Jenna)
  • Chris Kessler, "Discoveries" (Avon/Vila)
  • Barbara T, "Recovery Time" (Avon/Blake)
  • Jane Carnall, "Revenge for What?" (Avon/Vi;a, Jenna/OC, Soolin/OC)
  • J. D. Reece, "Limited-Time Offer" (Soolin/Vila)
  • Iama Nonymous, "The Ties That Bind" (Avon/Vila/Kerrill)
  • Shoshanna "Decisions" (Avon/Blake)
  • Scorpio, "Experiment" (Avon/Vila)
  • Catocala, "Truth in Lies" (Last Stand universe) (Avon/Vila/Kerrill - Last Stand universe)

Nonfiction:

  • "Traffic Lights Special 3.141592"

Art:

  • Leah Rosenthal (front cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4.5

Out of 25 stories, 14 are slash, but those 14 account for much more than half the zine. 4 are '?' - a new category developed by the editor for stories unclassifiable by slash and slish, and the remander are slish - including some quite good stories, though, if you're not offended by the material. [9]

As usual with Wortham" s "Special" zines, the standards are high, the artwork is scarce, and the poetry is nowhere. You pay for the stories, and they're good. It would be impossible to review them all in detail, so I'm going for the eight best serious stories and the four best humorous ones. Of the serious stories, "People Change" by Tenaya could be described as a fourth-season hurt/comfort, but is considerably more. Tarrant and Vila are off on a "glorified shopping trip" mission in the Scorpio. While Tarrant is downplanet he is shot by a stranger who reveals himself to be also Tarrant - a copy created by Servalan from the particle scan 3ade on Sardos. The neatness of the confrontation; the obnoxious-brat Tarrant of the third season pre-"Deathwatch", filled with the anger and frustration of Tarrant in "Moloch", as opposed to the older, more mature Tarrant of the 4th season; the difference of the way they treat Vila. The complexity is increased by Vila and Avon already being in a long-term relationship (since "Pressure Point", according to Tenaya). If this story has a single fault in characterisation it's that Avon is nicer than usual for 4th season; but it would have been very wearing being nasty the entire time. Maybe his boots didn't hurt just then.

"Chimera" is the longest story in the zine. It's just before "Star One" - the Liberator is heading out to the 12th sector. Blake is agonising over the 153 million deaths destroying Central Control will cause. Avon is watching him agonise with curiosity and perhaps concern. The entire story takes place in a matter of hours, as Avon and Blake circle around each other, snarling and snapping with chilly precision and passion. (The dialogue is utterly brilliant - Thomas knows her series.) Despite the fact that I don't believe the sex in this story would work (Blake has apparently never been with a man before (and is presently in a relationship with Jenna); Avon may have but is not admitting to anything but an aesthetic distaste for the whole business; they apparently have sex as a result of a series of challenges from which neither of them can back out) this story profoundly moved me; two parallel lines each trying to convince the other that their worldview is the right one, when one longs to believe in that of the other, whose world is crumbling under his feet. Dreams and reality; disillusionment and idealism; madness and sanity; love and hate and trust and lack of it.

It's damned difficult to write a genuinely original variant on What Happened After Malodaar - more praise to D.D. Montgomery that in "Creature Comforts" she managed it. A hostile Vila and an aggrieved Avon makes a pleasant change from a terrified whimpering thief and a cold-as-ice technician. An excellent story.

[Barbara T's] "Recovery Time" is a sequel to an as-yet-unwritten story. Hypothesise that Blake and Avon knew each other well before "The Way Back". The reason Blake didn't recognise Avon was because he'd been mindwiped. The reason Avon never mentioned he recognised Blake was because he's a bastard. Despite being an "I" story (something I usually object to in fan-fiction) the characterisation is understatedly good, and as a background a running commentary on the sheer unexpectedness of Liberator'a designed-for-humanoids facilities. Also intriguing is the exploration (pun intended) of Avon's complex reactions to anal intercourse. Much more interesting than just "It hurts!" or "I love it!" or even "It hurts and I love it!" "Revenge for What?" is a somewhat discursive story of How One Revolution Ended and Another Began, unusually for a 5th season story, focussing not on Avon (who doesn't appear till half way through) or Vila (who doesn't appear till later than that) or Blake (who's dead eleven years before it starts) but on Soolin, Jenna, Dee Tarrant (yup, his sister), and a wholly unexpected clone. There are a couple of unexplained inconsistencies, probably deriving from lack of authorial revision, but on the whole well-plotted and reasonably snappy dialogue. I've always liked Soolin, and it's nice to see her character more thoroughly explored than usual. The only truly odd thing is that it's not what I would classify as any kind of slash - or slish, slush, or slosh. "Decisions" explores the well-trodden territory just-post "Pressure Point", but [Shoshanna] appears to have discovered one or two more subtle paths. Re-reading it, it seems almost like a reversal of Thomas's "Chimera"; this time again Blake is the seducer, but Avon claims to have no experience (and reacts like it), and Blake has certainly done it before. Er, several times. Blake wants comfort; Avon believes he's trying to manipulate and trap him; very predictable, but very genuinely touching, misery and fear. A gut-wrencher, but with none of the feel that all these psychological tortures are being landed just because the writer happens to think it's a good idea. Finally, "Truth in Lies", a story in the Nookie at the Edge of the World series by Catocala. As expected, it's neatly written and full of detail about the complicated relationships between Vila and Avon, Vila and Kerril, Kerril and Avon, Avon and Blake, Vila and booze - and one thing I've always liked about Catocala's writing, people usually wind up being hugged.

As for the humorous stories; "Bedtime Story" is as funny as Ingrid Montrose ever is: a delightful adaptation of Sleeping Beauty and hurt/comfort sleaze.

I have never heard of Branta Bernicula before, but she is obviously a shrewd judge of character; "Fund Raiser" describes in pitiless detail exactly what Vila Restal would be prepared to do to raise money for the Cause....

"Don't Stand So Close To Me" while possibly a little clumsy in the earlier humour, has one heck of a double punchline. Always knew Tarrant was gay (it was probably one of his best subjects at the FSA) but I do wish she hadn't put it as Dayna finding homosexual men unacceptable...the real point surely is, they're unavailable. Very funny even if a tadge ignorant.

"Experiment" by Scorpio is probably the best funny story in the zine. It's neatly written, not a word wasted, perfect character-humour, and a terrific punchline. I can't describe it any further because if you've read it you'll remember it and if you haven't I don't want to spoil it for you!

There are other good stories - Ellis Ward pehaps a little below her usual high standards, but a couple of good reads; "'Were T'other Dear Charmer Away'", a delightful fable on the dangers of two-timing, even a couple of good straight stories such as "Those Hips, Those Thighs" by Rosinata - a play on a poem in an earlier issue describing Kerr Avon in terms of those lips, those eyes... and a really quite excellent story just post-"Assassin", Vila/Soolin. J.D.Reece has an appreciation of Soolin's character possibilities that I like - except I think she'd rather have Dayna, even if Vila would annoy Tarrant. [10]

Issue 4.75

cover of issue #4.75 by Scorpio

Southern Lights 4.75 was published in 1988 and is 189 pages long. It contains all slash; all Avon/Vila stories.

Fiction:

  • R. L. Parker, "Return"
  • Masha Romanova, "No Redemption" (Vila has finally come to a decision and it’s one that he knows Avon won’t like. But can he really follow through on leaving.)
  • Barbara T, "Lost Perfection" (The loss of Kerril is difficult for Vila to take lightly.)
  • Victoria Towers, "Quietus" (Little is left to Avon and Vila following Gauda Prime except a few moments of comfort.)
  • Lora Rene, "The Way It Might Have Been" (8 pages)
  • Sister Mary Veronica, "Auron Fantasy #1," "Auron Fantasy#2" "Auron Fantasy #3" (based on Cerebus)
  • R. L. Parker, "Light of Day" (6 pages)
  • Chris Kessler, "The Watcher" (The crew of the Scorpio are offered a chance to redeem themselves with the rebellion following Blake’s death on Gauda Prime.) (38 pages)
  • Jane Carnall, "A Lesson Well Learnt"
  • R. L. Parker, "Feeding the Fire" (Vila had waited a long time for a chance to show Avon how he felt.) (6 pages)
  • Sean Charles, "Nothing Left to Lose" (reprinted in Double Vision)
  • Maree Celeste, "Remembrance" (Following Gan’s death, Avon and Vila discover that they have more in common than they thought.) (6 pages)
  • Jane Carnall, "This Neurotic Little Worry" (Vila is always aware of the class differences between himself and Avon.) (5 pages)
  • Tenaya, "Flying Colors" (The events of ‘Orbit’ force Avon to take a new direction with the rebellion and with Vila.) (11 pages)
  • Scorpio and Syl Newell, "Not with a Bang, But a Whimper" (5 pages)
  • Paula, "Stress Factors" (Sequel to "The Bondstone," which established a psychic and sexual link between Avon, Vila, Cally, and Blake. When Avon attempts to break the bond, he and Tarrant are accidentally pushed into a sexual encounter that is unwelcome to both of them.) (46 pages)
  • Barbara T, "Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" (13 pages)
  • Ebony Silver, "Bloodlust" (8 pages)
  • Catocala, "Playing on the Edge" (11 pages)

Nonfiction:

  • Letters of Comment
  • "Traffic Lights Too!" (humor)

Art:

  • Scorpio (front cover), Adrian Morgan, Leah Rosenthal (back cover)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4.75

See reactions and reviews for Stress Factors.
See reactions and reviews for This Neurotic Little Worry.
[zine]: This is an edition for Avon and Vila fans as barely anyone else gets a look in, the exception being "Stress Factors" where Cally and Blake also get their share of fun and anguish. Most of the stories are well worth reading, even where they cover familiar territory, and there are a couple of real gems by [Barbara T] and Catocala.

Tiresomely there are also the seemingly inevitable ones portraying Vila as helpless, hopeless, and constantly awash with tears, an uncritical specimen for whom Avon can do no real wrong. I enjoy hurt/comfort a lot and have nothing against emotional outbursts where the text justifies it, but everlasting sobbing just destroys any emotional impact a story might have. More restraint would do wonders for effectiveness . And while I'm on the subject, must Vila meekly forgive Avon when what his beloved desperately needs is a punch on the mouth (IMHO anyway, and I don't care how much Anna hurt him).

To start with the two gems:

"Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer" [Barbara T]: This is an utterly delightful tale, my favourite in the zine, in which Vila and Avon find themselves at a loose end on a rainy planet and decide to go burgling for the hell of it. Vila demonstrates his professional skills and Avon is along for the ride. [Ms T's] writing is always perceptive, whether the story is serious or light hearted, and this example is typically witty and endearing.

"Playing on the Edge" Catocala: A short Last Stand story by one of my favourite writers. It starts with a threesome between Avon, Vila and Kerril and ends on a conversation between Avon and Kerril about their earlier lives. Mutual tenderness tempered with humour. A story whose excellent characterisation and intelligent dialogue leaves you with a nice warm glow.

"Return" RL Parker: Yet again Vila has been hurt by Avon - in this case, shot by accident - and needs reassurance, lots of it. Vila cries so much that West Yorkshire Water Authority would do well to employ him to fill reservoirs, and Avon does the (in)decent thing.

"No Redemption" Masha Romanova: Post Orbit story which predicates a fifteen year relationship between Avon and Vila. Vila senses Avon is on the edge of madness and Avon ultimately gets vulnerable.

"Lost Perfection" [Barbara T]: Classy, touching short story told by Vila in the first person. Avon drops in for a supportive chat after Vila has lost Kerril. Here Vila is unhappy without being abject, tearful without being pathetic, and Avon is Avonish. Hurt/comfort for grown ups.

"Quietus" Victoria Towers: Multiple kleenex job in less than two pages. Avon and Vila are about to be executed and comfort one another. Sweetly sentimental and why not? Some of us out here ARE sentimental on occasion.

"The Way it Might Have Been" Lora Rene: Inspired by a scene in "Trust, Like the Soul". Avon is trapped in Cally's body, and Vila gives him a hand in getting used to being a woman. Not as contrived as it sounds, as Avon remains recognisably Avon in character.

Auron Fantasy (poem): I don't usually comment on poetry but "Auron Fantasy" is pithy and breathtakingly effective in its use of language, all nine words of it. A giggle.

"Light of Day" R L Parker: After Malodaar Vila leaves Xenon base with a deathwish. Avon gets him back inside and realises his true feelings. Vila is predictably hapless but doesn't cry much until the next day. Avon is quite touched.

"The Watcher" Chris Kessler: Longer PGP in which the Xenon crew are "rescued" by a hostile rebel crew out to avenge Blake. They meet up with Jenna and are ultimately sent off on a mission. Vila's love for Avon has been unrequited and Vila is very wary of him, but times change. Avon then upsets him badly and for once Vila doesn't promptly forgive him. . This is quite an interesting saga and presents a more malign view of Avon than is usual in such stories, but the tone is uneven as if the writer couldn't decide between a harsh or happy ending.

"A Lesson Well Learnt" Jane Carnall: Light-hearted two-pager. A caring Blake is worried Avon might be abusing Vila.

"Feeding the Fire" R L Parker: After he and Cally are rescued from Changa, Vila is worried that Avon is stressed out. Avon initially rejects his advances but has second thoughts. This time he's the one to get uncharacteristically emotional.

"Nothing Left to Lose" Sean Charles: After Malodaar Vila goes after Avon with a gun and takes him by surprise. A neat two-pager.

"Remembrance" Maree Celeste: Very enjoyable story. Following Gan's death, Vila and Avon converse over a few glasses of soma and reveal more than they meant to. Sensitively written with sentiment implied rather than sloshed on in bucketfulls; emotions are certainly in play, but both men are allowed to act like adults, insofar as they ever do.

"This Neurotic Little Worry" Jane Carnall: Avon takes Vila for granted and Vila tells him where to get off. Reconciliation follows but has Avon really got the point?

"Flying Colours" Tenaya: This one begins on Xenon base, where Vila sees Avon is increasingly moody and dangerously unpredictable, then carries on after Malodaar as Avon tries to make amends. Many post-Orbit stories give wildly unconvincing reasons for Vila's forgiving Avon, but "Flying Colours" makes a better job of it than many, emphasising as it does both men's human confusion and fallibility.

"Not with a Bang, But a Whimper" Scorpio and Syl Newell: More light relief as Vila takes an aphrodisiac with unusual properties, becoming the crew's saviour as a result, and ultimately getting his reward.

[See this fan's comments about Stress Factors.]

"Bloodlust" Ebony Silvers: Avon is attacked by a vampire with inevitable results and tries to deal with it privately, frightened lest he attack the crew. Vila guesses what has happened and decides he has to act. This is one of the stories that has Avon as a caring human being, which you may or may not believe. Not a particularly original story but well-written. [11]

Issue 5

Southern Lights 5 was published in ?, reprinted at least once (1993) and contains 221 pages and stories, poems and artwork based on Blakes 7, Beauty & the Beast, A-Team, Miami Vice, Lethal Weapon, Robin of Sherwood, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Buckaroo Banzai, Quantum Leap, The Professionals, Tour of Duty, Star Wars, Simon & Simon and more.

The flyer lists a number of stories that did not appear in issue #5, but in #6 instead. It also has two that did not appear at all, including a Professionals story by Linda Terrell, to have been illustrated by Suzan Lovett called "Fear of Flying." Summary from the flyer for this story: "Bodie thinks he must be seeing things...or could it possibly be true that Doyle and Peter Pan bear an amazing resemblance to each other...?"

cover of issue #5, Leah Rosenthal
page one of a flyer for issue #5, note differences in it regarding to what actually was published
page two of a flyer for issue #5

Issue 5.5

cover of issue #5.5, Linden Boats

Southern Comfort 5.5 was published in May 1990 and is 256 pages long. It is an all Blake's 7 zine.

flyer

Fiction:

  • Anna Lee, "...Hoops of Steel" (Avon/Vila) (3 pages)
  • Hakucho, "Just Say No" (Avon/Vila) (8 pages)
  • Shoshanna "Slash and Burn"
  • Coral Court, "Scandal"
  • Noo Ki Arrus, "Eve of Terror" (Avon/Vila) (6 pages)
  • D. Valentine, "Avon's Calling"
  • Valerie Francois, "Expertise" (Vila/Avon) (3 pages)
  • J. D. Reece, "A Friendly Drink" (Cally/Jenna) (9 pages)
  • Paula, "Comfort" (Jabberwocky universe) [12] (Blake/Blake) (3 pages)
  • Linda Knights, "Invitations" [possibly "Initiations"] (Avon/Cally/Dayna) (5 pages)
  • Daley Kelly, "Reaffirmation" (Avon/Vila) (5 pages)
  • Sonia, "Choices" (Avon/Jenna) (18 pages)
  • Northwest Smith, "The End of the Last Episode of the Fifth Season"
  • London Bates, "Breakthrough"
  • N. T. Casillas, "Sealed with a Kiss" (Avon/Vila) (11 pages)
  • Northwest Smith, "Non-Messianic Thoughts" (Blake/Avon) (2 pages)
  • Valerie Francis, "Spare Parts" (Avon/Vila) (4 pages)
  • London Bates, "It Was a Dark and Stormy Nookie"
  • Victoria Towers, "Beyond Horizon" souther
  • Jane Carnall, "Afterword" (sequel to "Quietus" by Victoria Towers)
  • Anais, "The Rules Explained" (Vila/Blake) (5 pages)
  • Pandora LeCarre, "Retreat" (Vila gets a girl) (17 pages)
  • Kerrvert, "Everybody Gets It in the End"
  • Valerie Francis, "Bloodgifts" (Bloodlust universe) (Avon/Vila) (8 pages)
  • Riley Cannon, "A Walk in the Woods" (Blake/Jenna/Avon) (10 pages)
  • R.L. Parker, "Against All Odds" (Blake/Vila) (4 pages)
  • R.L. Parker, "Revelation" (Avon/Vila) (Avon has been rescued from the jaws of death but the greatest surprise awaits him when he realizes how much Vila cares for him) (8 pages)
  • Shoshanna "Repercussions" Repercussions (Blake/Avon) (Blake and Avon must deal with their changing relationships) (4 pages)
  • Shoshanna "The Darkness of the Separate Will" (Blake/Avon) (3 pages)
  • Naughtius Maximus, "Severely Beloved" (Blake/Avon) (7 pages)
  • Adrian Morgan & Brendan O'Cullane, "Pick up the Pieces" (Avon/Vila and Avon/Blake) (9 pages) (reprinted in Double Vision)
  • Dorian Gale, "By Love Ensnared" (Avon/Anna) (8 pages)
  • Coral Court, "Then and Now" (Jenna/Avalon) (6 pages)
  • C.A. McCoy, "Colliding Destinies" (24 pages)
  • Nova Salsh-Kalbe, "Interlude" (Avon/Soolin) (3 pages)
  • xBryn Lantry, "Faith and Doubt" (Blake/Avon) (10 pages)

Nonfiction:

  • Letters of Comment
  • The Mixed Marriage Guide Reference for Alpha-Delta
  • Couples
  • The Official Delta Sex Test (2 pages)
  • The Mixed Marriage Guide for Alpha-Delta Safe Sex

Poetry:

  • Judith Ellison, "Assumptions"
  • Judith Ellison, "Ultimate Pleasure"
  • Merlin, "Ship's Night"
  • Kerrvert, "Both Sides Now" (filk)
  • Brendan O'Cullane, "Litany" (reprinted in Double Vision)
  • Brendan O'Cullane, "Certain/Uncertain" (reprinted in Double Vision)
  • Judith Ellison, "Pathway"
  • Constance Applebee, "Endgame"
  • Judith Ellison, "A Mistake" (Blake/Avon) (2 pages)
  • Judith Ellison, "Bribery"
  • Judith Ellison, "Revenge"
  • Robin Hood, "Unfinished Symphony"
  • Leah Rosenthal, "Justification" (Jenna/Avalon) (6 pages)
  • Robin Hood, "Night Music"
  • Anais, "Dayna and the Unicorn"

Art: Linden Boats (front cover), Fish Bates (back cover), Leah Rosenthal, London Bates, CeleBates, Jail Bates, The Phantom Artist, Adrian Morgan, Jessikah, London Beets, Gayle F, Sarah S., Jessikah & C. Daniels

Issue 6

cover of issue #6, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 6 was published in 1993 and contains 132 pages. It has stories, poems and artwork based on Star Wars, Beauty & the Beast, Blakes 7, Robin of Sherwood, Blackadder, Miami Vice and more. The cover is by Leah Rosenthal.

  • Blake's 7 Get Smart with A Team Lost in Space by Felis Sylvestris ("What does it sound like? The ultimate B7 crossover, that's what!) (14 pages)
  • Crown of Thorns (Blake's 7) (1 page)
  • Madhouse Blues by Kaye Dunham (A mission to rescue a rebel prisoner holds a few surprises for Avon's crew...) (Blake's 7) (7 pages)
  • Esprit De Corps (Blake's 7/Robin of Sherwood) (19 pages)
  • Farewells at the Gate (Robin of Sherwood) (2 pages)
  • Beltaine Enchantment (Robin of Sherwood) (2 pages)
  • Sherwood's Magic (Robin of Sherwood) (2 pages)
  • Parental Concerns (Kill the Dead) (2 pages)
  • Hayride (Kill the Dead) (2 pages)
  • Thoughts on a Hill Over Tulotef (Kill the Dead) (2 pages)
  • The Wolves of Metracla (Star Wars) (12 pages)
  • The Beast Goes Solo (Star Wars/Beauty and the Beast) (10 pages)
  • Bright Lights, Big Kitty (Star Wars/Beauty and the Beast) (6)
  • Rain (Blackadder) (8 pages)
  • The Game -- By the Rules by Linda Knights (Miami Vice) ("A man from Castillo's past could be the end of Crockett...") (21 pages)
  • The Prized Possession Raid by CarolMel Ambassador (Rat Patrol) (The Rat Patrol is desperate to rescue a captured Troy, and Dietrich equally desperate to prevent them.) (8 pages)

Issue 6.5

cover of issue #6.5, Leah Rosenthal
Alternate(?) cover of issue #6.5, Leah Rosenthal
back cover issue #6.5, Melody Rondeau

Southern Comfort 6.5 was published in April 1991.

Fiction:

Nonfiction:

  • Letters of Comment

Poetry:

  • Linda Terrell, "Severely Weird and Really Bad Vogon Haiku"
  • Judith Ellison, "Adrift" (Avon/Blake) (1 page)
  • Judith Ellison, "Promise Kept" (A/Anna)
  • London Bates, "Dichotomy Unbound" (A/B)
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Discovery" (D/So)
  • Judith Ellison, "Unspoken" (A/B)
  • xBryn's Teddy Bear, "Libellous Liberator Limericks"
  • Melissa Mastoris, "A Delta's Love" (A/V)
  • Judith Ellison, "Discovery" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "Second Chance Loving" (A/B)
  • Judith Ellison, "Switch" (J/V)
  • Judith Ellison, "Perpetual Enchantment" (C/J)
  • Melissa Mastoris, "Hard to Get" (C/V)

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Randym, Adele Pates, Bundon Lates, Howarth & Daniels, London Boots, Melody Rondeau, Gayle F, Laura Virgil, Linden Boats, Sara S., CeleBates

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6.5

See reactions and reviews for On the Town.
See reactions and reviews for Victim of Love.
See reactions and reviews for No Promises, No Regrets.
See reactions and reviews for The Warden's Pet.
See reactions and reviews for Commitment.
See reactions and reviews for Morning After.
See reactions and reviews for Tarrant the Terrific.
See reactions and reviews for Castle in the Air.
See reactions and reviews for Tangled Webs.
See reactions and reviews for 9/10ths of the Law.
See reactions and reviews for Friendly Persuasion.
See reactions and reviews for Nightmusic.
See reactions and reviews for Fantasies.
See reactions and reviews for Spaceship Sherbert Blues.
See reactions and reviews for Situations.
See reactions and reviews for On Credit.
See reactions and reviews for The Howling.
See reactions and reviews for Command Performance.
See reactions and reviews for Gratuitous Eroticism.
See reactions and reviews for Aftermath Too.
See reactions and reviews for Dearest Enemy.
See reactions and reviews for A Room with a View.
See reactions and reviews for Worth the Cost at Any Price.
See reactions and reviews for Up in (Blue) Smoke.
See reactions and reviews for Continue to Continue.
See reactions and reviews for Bondsmate.
[Nightmusic]: The slash sequel to a gen story, "The Night Wind," in GAMBIT 2. Avon comforts Tarrant after Deeta's death. A really lovely story. [13]
[zine]:anyway - this zine is incredibly wide ranging. admittedly it has more blake/avon and avon/vila than any other pairings, but there's also tonnes of het (including two - two - soolin/vilas) and even... some femslash \o/ oh yes. i tell you what there isn't, though, and that's avon/vila/kerril, which is represented not only on the cover but in at least two interior illustrations (kerril isn't even in the zine at all). bemusing. i tell you what else there isn't (despite fanlore's claims to the contrary): avon/soolin. if i was an avon/soolin fan (which i am not, because soolin can see the crazy in him and he loves blake)(although i do think they like each other a lot. avon&soolin is my other super friendship ship after avon&vila) and had purchased this zine believing fanlore's claims that there were TWO avon/soolin fics within it... i'd be quite angry. because they were both avon/servalan. anyway, i fixed it for fanlore, so nobody will be confused again.

anyway, while my heart says 'none of these other pairings are real' (yes - i am that person), i quite like having this wide of a range of stuff. if i'm going to read pairings that aren't mine, i'd rather read as many as possible, rather than just avon/tarrant over and over again.

also - after a dodgy beginning in which i feared the worst, the zine massively improved and i really thought a lot of the fics within it were very good, including the blake/avon one that i'd been recommended specifically. so that was nice.

lots of really nice illustrations - and some funny illustrations. in fact, there is no art i don't like this time, although bizarrely there are two different but almost identical headshots of tarrant. if you're just flicking through the zine to look at the pictures before you start (which is what i do the first time through) then there's no way you won't see the similarity and think... that's weird. (ETA. actually there are three)....

Shoshanna "Stranger Things" (Avon/Jenna) (3 pages): second avon/jenna of the zine! this one has EXACTLY the same plot as the last one, only it takes up less space - and actually at the end of it they are still like 'that was awkward and changes nothing' (which i'm pleased by, since it was my objection to the last one). avon has hardly any dialogue.

Cathy Conrad, "Mind Games" (Cally/Carnell) (3 pages): i stopped reading this, because the 'carnell' didn't sound anything like carnell... it seems semi interesting plotwise, but i didn't care enough to purse it... Jane Carnall, "You're Kidding, Right?": this is just a string of 'reasons people were rejected in b7'. it ends with the line 'nobody got nookie that night. except tarrant, who had nookie with a wookie. he'll go fur'.

which i thought was funny. i quite like this one. but it is not exactly a 'fic' per say...

Sara Avery & Sylvia Dennison, "Double Jeopardy" (Vila/Avon) (23 pages): i think i skipped this one... if i didn't, i don't remember it, but i think i did, since it's 20+ pages of not-my-ship.

Victoria Towers, "The Quality of Mercy" (Vila/Soolin): our first vila/soolin of the zine - although they're basically the same. soolin comforts vila - not sexually, just with hugs. and the potential of sex later. this one has some nice lines about soolin not being as hard as she seems... Rose St. Clair, "Gratuitous Revenge" (Blake/Avon) (2 pages): did not read, as was just a continuation of the previous.

Deirdre Hughes, "The Road" (Vila/Soolin) (2 pages: the second soolin comforts vila thing. i have nothing more to say about this one than i did about the last one, sorry. [14]

Issue 7.5

cover of issue #7.5, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 7 was published in May 1993 and is 273 pages long.

Fiction:

Nonfiction:

  • Letters of Comment
  • "Pushin' the First Amendment #1" (humor)

Poetry:

  • Robin Hood, "Sword of Heaven"
  • Robin Hood, "Twin Thieves"
  • Robin Hood, "The Taste of Dust"
  • Robin Hood, "To Care for You"
  • Riley Cannon, "Brothers in Arms"

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front and back cover), ORmaC, Adrian Morgan, IBACH, [[Randym, Melody Rondeau, Linden Boats, Sarah, Howarth, Flatbush Bates

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7.5

See reactions and reviews for Mice and Men.
[zine]: "This is a substantial zine - God bless the typists - with lots of illustrations of varying quality. The stories are by Riley Cannon, Willa Shakespeare, Jacklin Scott, Daley Kelly, Kay, Shoshanna, Randym, Estelle Daniels, R L Parker, C A McCoy, Sonia, Nicely Nicely, Cassandra, and Mistral. Poems by Robin Hood.

This is a satisfying zine for Avon/Vila fans as it contains eight Avon/Vila stories of varying lengths ranging from the sentimental to the bleak in tone. My favourites were "Birthday Story" and "Reliquary" by Daley Kelly, both very well written and with believable characterisation closer to the series' originals in spirit than many writers achieve. I also liked R.L.Parkers two short stories and the longer "Opposites", set in prison before the London, all hurt/comfort scenarios. Of the remaining A-Vs, "Never Love a Stranger" needs a considerable suspension of disbelief.

For Cally/Vila fans there is "A Credit for your Thoughts", which I thought rather overdid Vila's timidity but was otherwise a warm, gentle tale and has the bonus of a lovely drawing of Vila by Adrian Morgan; there's another on page 183. Other stories include a Travis/Avon, two Jenna/Avon, and a long one "Paths of Destiny" about Tarrant and Vila's life on a prison mining colony, which is a continuation of a story in Southern Comfort 5.5. I always find it difficult to imagine Tarrant and Vila having any sort of loving relationship but this is a very well-plotted and convincing attempt, and it is unusually well-paced.

Blake features very little in this zine, though his clone puts in an appearance with Avon in "Compromising Positions", which also deals with Vila's earlier life. Of the remaining crew, Gan does not feature at all, and Dayna and Soolin only in passing. There's not much of Cally or Jenna either.

[See this comments about Mice and Men.] [15]
"...[this] zine was, as far as I was concerned, well worth avoiding. Rather the way one would a rabid, ravenous squirrel. [See this fan's comments about Mice and Men.] I agree completely with Sandy on this zine--and I'm very interested in seeing a different interpretation of it. I'd really like to hear which stories you liked and why you liked them."[16]
[zine]:"To whoever it was, yes, most of this zine isn't *that* terrible or embarrassing; it is mostly just one mediocre story after another. My strong feelings about this zine come from two things: this zine is tragically bad considering the quality of the earlier Southern Lights/Southern Comforts; 3.5, 3.75, and 4.5 are among the best B7 adult zines you can find; 5.5 and 6.5 were not as good, but each of them had a few good stories to make you forgive the many barely adequate ones. This zine...well, it has no stand out stories, and has one story so bad...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

I'll try not to let this review get too large, but remember the zine itself is 273 pages long...

The cover (on *bright* pink paper) is nice enough-a pen and ink by Leah, but not up to her best work. The back page is a very cute cartoon, also by Leah.

The stories: Stand-In--a not bad 2 page A/V, with Vila consoling Avon after Blake's disappearance.

Opposites--An A/V set before Blake appears in the holding tank for the London. It includes one of the *worst* pieces of fan art I ha ve ever seen. The story itself has a brave, thoughtful intrepid, gentle Vila that I couldn't believe for a second. Whatever Vila became, the Vila of the first few episodes would not be putting his life on the line repeatedly for a chance met stranger.

A Credit For Your Thoughts--Slight V/C. Cally complains to Vila that she can't get the man she wants, deliberately letting him think she means Avon. Not bad, not memorable.

Reliquary--Avon, mad from his last fight with Blake, decides to drug Vila so he 1) can't say no, and 2) will remember nothing. Dumb and contrived.

The Last Seska--Pella's last adherent plots to restart the Seskas and Hommiks using Vila, Tarrant and Avon's genetic material; Dayna and Soolin save them. Not bad.

Before the Madness Claimed them--Travis/A. Neither of them is too offensively out of character, but there is nothing interesting here; nothing new learned about either character or the B7 universe as a whole.

In The Company Of Strangers--A/J From Avon's POV, a very slight, short, PWP. A sequel of sorts; the author had written the same story from Jenna's POV for an earlier Southern Comfort.

What I Did For Love--Silly parody; Blake plays 'find the banana' with 'Romper Room rejects,' Avon pursues a Vila that insists, 'no slash, how many times have I told you,' and Zen installs a vibrator in the pilot's seat to make Jenna easier to get along with. It has some cute lines, "Avon's face was etched in a mask of dark pensive foreboding that hinted at the despair tearing at his soul. Deciding that a mood such as this was destined to be shared, Avon decided to head up to the flight deck and ruin ev eryone else's day while he was at it."

Misericorde--a PGP story; Vila has spent 3 years fruitlessly lusting after his shipmate and friend Tarrant (hey, it could happen), when Soolin (who has become a member of the Dark Priesthood) finds them, and hires them to take her to mercy-kill Avon. Seeing Soolin, facing the fact that she will never love him, Tarrant finally gives into Vila's wiles.

Tarrant to Soolin:...I don't expect you to love me. I don't even want you to."
Soolin considered this, her eyes growing bright with anger. "I see," she said at last. "That why you've chosen Vila. Because you will never be in any danger of loving him."
Tarrant didn't bother to deny it.
"How very convenient for you," Soolin said. "But what about Vila?"
"He knows."
"He always was a fool."

Neither Tarrant nor Vila are well in character, but Soolin was right on.

Never Love a Stranger--Immediately post-Blake. Vila rescues Avon from the tracking room, and thinks about his earlier life as a delta *female* *love* *slave* bought for Roj by his dad to keep Roj company. *N*O*T*!* The story, if you can believe it, get s worse, as Avon relives getting pregnant with Blake's child, getting thrown out of Blake's house, having the child taken away, testing up to become an Alpha, meeting Anna Grant in college, acceding to Grant's wishes--dressing like a man so no one will know that Anna is a lesbian...I really can't go on. Suffice it to say that I was horrified when I realized this story was meant to be serious...

War of Escalation--A PWP; Competition on the flight deck leads to a situation where neither feels they can back down, between A/J.

An Innocent Man--Soon after Orbit; Avon rapes Vila on page 1, they are making love by page 3. Despite this unlikelyness, and the Blake bashing, I almost liked this one...

Innocence and Wrath--A/V Awful from beginning to end--Avon is sweet and callous, sometimes both at once; Tarrant is raping poor defenseless Vila until finally, Avon coaxes the information gently out of him. All of the characterizations are bad, bad, bad. (Except, funnily enough, Soolin. Hmm, maybe a trend...)

Paths of Destiny--PGP and a sequel; Tarrant and Vila are prison mates--Vila tries to show Tarrant the ropes, but proud, bold Tarrant holds his head up high...so the rapist/boss of his prison-block will notice him and require his pound of flesh. Vila and Tarrant end up together, but, hey, you knew that was coming. Vila is actually fairly well drawn in this, as are the rest of the Scorpio crew which eventually show up to save T & V. Avon's sole coment upon realizing their relationship, "Sentiment breeds weakness."

Birthday Story--Avon and Vila bluff each other into going to bed together. Lame set-up, fairly well written.

Compromising Positions--Instead of going to Terminal, Avon follows up another secret coded message claiming to be from Blake. Avon meets a Blake determined to act as though they had been long-time lovers. While Avon is out-of-contact with this Blake, Vila organizes their rescue. Not bad--Avon dealing with a confusedly amourous Blake was quite well done; Vila being the know-it-all about the planet and leading the troops was overdrawn and overlong.

Family Traditions--parody of Last Stand at the Edge of the World characters. Dumb.

Celebrating Life--Tarrant, Avon and Vila turn their wake after Cally's death into a three-way 'celebration of life.' *Smirk.* Not a great story, not great sex, but Avon's dialogue is spot-on.

No Respite--Avon offers himself to make Vila forgive him for Orbit--and while Vila has Avon in his bed, Vila slips Avon a mind-control drug that will make Avon his forever. Now *there's* a plausible plot.

[See this fan's comments about Mice and Men.]

The zine also includes some poetry (I don't review poetry) and some very cute cartoons.

All in all, if this was the first adult or slash zine someone saw, and they said they hated slash or adult stories, I'd understand.

Maybe somebody should review a good slash zine next, just to let the newbies (is that a proper use) or zine virgins know that they do exist... " [17]
[in response to Sandy Hereld]'s review of the zine above]:"Oh, but this was *funny* to read! I realize this isn't the reaction you were aiming at, but it almost makes me want to run right out and read the zine....

Avon as a transvestite ex-Delta love slave???? Wow. I will yield to few in how attractive I find Avon, but that is as a man.

If he were really a lower-class female I think he'd be more likely chosen to be a field hand than a sex goddess."[18]
[zine]:"Oh, I agree it's not the best slash zine I've ever seen. But neither is it without redeeming characteristics. The main impression I get from SC 7.5 is that the editor is intent on clearing out her story files.

The second impression I get is that a fair number of the authors are *new* authors. There are a lot of neo B7 fans out there, and not all of them are polished yet. That takes time and experience. I try to bear in mind while reading a zine that this is amateur writing and publishing, folks. The quality is going to vary from author to author and zine to zine. A lot of the old guard B7 fans appear to have moved on, so the up-and-coming writers are going to have a lot of rough edges that with time will hopefully smooth out.

That it took so long to be published is also unfortunate---anything less than near perfection is going to be a let down after so much anticipation.

.....

Anyway, here is a quick review touching on aspects of Southern Comfort 7.5 that left an impression on me (a caveat--a couple of the authors are friends of mine, so that naturally also colors my opinions):

I quite liked the front cover, though I admit I'm totally clueless as to what Leah's getting at in the scene. The back cartoon is a hoot, and I still laugh when I look at it. (The back cover went to auction, I believe, at last MediaWest. First art I've ever seen that sported a spiral binding as an integral part of the piece.)

"Stand-In" was a satisfying A/V---well-written and fairly believable. For such a short story, it sticks in the memory.

"Opposites" was interesting. Not the best, and overly romantic for my tastes. But the author shows a lot of promise. The prison routine showed some thought had been given to it. And I liked Akim, big Gan wanna-be that he is.

I liked ``The Last Seska very much; in fact, it's one of my favorites in the zine. I always thought the Seska had been written off far too quickly, so I welcomed Luxia and her little scheme. I actually felt rather sorry for her. Some of the dialogue is wonderful, especially Vila's grilling a malleable Avon on where he's hidden the good hooch! It might have been interesting if Dayna and Soolin had actually accepted Luxia's offer to make them Seska as well.

The Fourth Series would have been quite different: ``Avon's Angels my foot---move over guys!!

``In the Company of Strangers. Excellent, as ``Stranger Things was before it. Totally believable Avon and Jenna. So gritty it hurts.

``Misericorde. Very depressing. Naturally, I loved it! Seriously, I can see a T/V relationship developing under these circumstances. And as pointed out by Sandy, Soolin (so often neglected) was well drawn.

``Never Love a Stranger. Well ... I have to admire the author's audacity! I do tend to take notice when an author approaches the tried-and-true from a different angle; this particular take didn't work for me, but I envy the boldness of the attempt.

``War of Escalation. This was fun, and I like Avon/Jenna. Their competitiveness and determination to make the other crack first was a nice touch.

``Paths of Destiny. I liked this one, but then I liked the prequel too.

``Family Traditions. Last Stand, taken *far* beyond the Edge of the World. It was kinda cute, I thought, though the end was a bit of a cop-out.

[See this fan's comments about Mice and Men.] [19]

Issue 8.5

Southern Lights 8.5 was published in November 1994 and is 268 pages long.

cover of issue #8.5, Leah Rosenthal

Fiction:

  • Catocala, "Into the Fire" (Avon/Blake) (7 pages)
  • Catocala, "Into the Dragon's Jaws" (Avon/Vila) (7 pages)
  • Catocala, "Out of the Embers" (Avon/Vila, with possible Blake/Avon - incorrectly labelled as A/B/V) (8 pages)
  • Jane Mailander, "The Right Place to Go" (Blake/Vila) (1/2 page)
  • Cami, "Sand Sculptures" (Tarrant/Soolin/Dayna/Servalan) (14 pages)
  • Catocala, "First of a Thousand and One" (Avon/Vila) (6 pages)
  • Irish, "Suffered Facts" (Avon/Blake) (4 pages)
  • V. Lasic, G. H. Erkin, & K. Osher-Dill, "Cucumbers Are Not the Only Fruit" (11 pages)
  • Lexa Reiss, "The Nothing That Is" (Tarrant/Travis, Tarrant/Kyera, Tarrant/OC (Jarn) (20 pages)
  • Catherine S., "The Agony of Victory" (Avon/Blake) (8 pages)
  • Leah S., "The Great Orac" (2 pages)
  • Irish, "Turn, Turn, Turn" (Avon/Blake, with unrequited Avon/Vila - incorrectly labelled as A/B/V) (2 pages)
  • Rhapsodie, "You Ought to Be in Pictures" (Tarrant/Dayna, Tarrant/Soolin, Tarrant/Servalan) (9 pages)
  • Paula, "Repercussions-- A Love Story" (Jabberwocky) (Avon/Blake) (13 pages) [20]
  • Mireille, "Betrayers" (Avon/Blake) (4 pages)
  • S.E. Thompson, "Moral Minority" (Avon/Cally) (3 pages)
  • K. Ann Yost, "Sweet Revenge" (Avon/Blake, with unrequited Blake/Jenna - incorrectly labelled A/B/J) (2 pages)
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Substitute" (Avon/Gan, with unrequited Blake/Avon) (6 pages)
  • Aurora, "Purr" (Avon/Blake) (2 pages)
  • Pat Nussman, "Farewell Performance" (Vila/Soolin) (9 pages)
  • Jane Mailander, "Kokopelli's Dance" (Avon/?, Jenna/?, Blake/?, Blake/Avon) (8 pages)
  • Riley Cannon, "Journey's End" (Avon/Blake) (15 pages)
  • Ellis Ward, "In Lieu of Regrets" (reprinted from Touched) (Avon/Vila) (4 pages)
  • W. K. D. Ways, "Sex and Sensibility: An (Im)Morality Tale" (Vila/everyone, Cally/Avon/Dayna/Tarrant) (8 pages)
  • J.R., "Beyond the Far Horizon" (Avon/Blake) (16 pages)
  • J.R., "Echoes of Love" (Avon/Blake, with Avon/Soolin) (33 pages)
  • J.R., "Coming Out of the Dark" (Avon/Blake) (36 pages)

Poetry:

  • Jude, "Tell Tale Eyes"
  • Jude, "A Man Alone"
  • Jane Mailander, "An Oblique Song" (filk, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun) (winner of a 1995 STIFfie Award)
  • Jude, "Hold and Heal"

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front cover, Undone Grate, London Grapes, Randym (back cover)

Reviews and Reactions to Issue 8.5

See reactions and reviews for The Nothing That Is.
See reactions and reviews for Into the Fire.
See reactions and reviews for Into the Dragon's Jaws.
See reactions and reviews for Turn, Turn, Turn.
See reactions and reviews for You Ought to Be in Pictures.
See reactions and reviews for Substitute.
See reactions and reviews for Farewell Performance.
See reactions and reviews for Journey's End.
See reactions and reviews for Sex and Sensibility: An (Im)Morality Tale.
See reactions and reviews for Beyond the Far Horizon.
See reactions and reviews for Echoes of Love.
[zine]:My second Southern Comfort (previously I have read 6.5 - and I have 5.5 waiting). I am beginning to think is a pretty good zine, and that I would pick up other editions if not too unreasonably priced. You get a lot of it for your money – and there’s usually nice artwork, and some pretty good printing etc etc. Plus, amongst various stories I don’t really like (or really don’t like, depending on whether they insult Blake a lot while they’re not good), there are some really brilliant ones.

So, let’s take a look... [See this reviewer's comments about other individual stories above.]

[snipped]

Jane Mailander, "The Right Place to Go" (Vila/Blake) Half a page of jokey fic. I took the pairing off this on Fanlore, but I think I'll put it back, since that is the joke.

Cami, "Sand Sculptures" (Tarrant/Soolin/Dayna/Servalan) (14 pages) Hmm... I guess I forgot to read this one. Will go back.

Catocala, "First of a Thousand and One" (Avon/Vila) (6 pages) Whoops, skipped this too. Seems OK.

Irish, "Suffered Facts" (Avon/Blake) (4 pages) I was really looking forward to this because I think Irish is rather brilliant, but this one does very little for me. The relationship progression is too easy (one minute they misunderstand each other, then they don't and there's discussion of sex). I don't dislike it, but I could live without it. (Fortunately I love the next Irish one, so that's OK).

V. Lasic, G. H. Erkin, & K. Osher-Dill, "Cucumbers Are Not the Only Fruit" (11 pages) Why on Earth is this fic 11 pages long? How funny is this idea? (N.B. The idea is that Dayna thinks that cucumbers are better than men. She tells Cally... etc etc). This is surely a one-page fic, maximum

[snipped] Catherine S., "The Agony of Victory" (Avon/Blake) (8 pages) I read this a while ago on the internet (I think) - and I loved it not, though I also do not hate it. Will probably re-read at some point.

Leah S., "The Great Orac" (2 pages) I'd been hoping for another masterpiece, like the child molesting one from F&I3, but this is just a silly joke fic about Orac and prediction. It's quite fun, though...

[snipped]

Paula, "Repercussions-- A Love Story" (Jabberwocky) (Avon/Blake) (13 pages) I haven't read any Jabberwocky so I skipped this, but I hope to read that universe at some point.

Mireille, "Betrayers" (Avon/Blake) (4 pages) Another chance to reiterate the events of GP. This is what I do not want my fanfic to do.

Then there are some absolutely BRILLIANT artworks, OMFG. We're not surprised that I (proud founder of unconventionalcourtship) like these, right? But I am just so pleased they exist! They're the prompts for the SoCo writing challenge, and it's lucky the deadline was about ten years ago, because otherwise I'd be trying to think of a plot for 'The Rebel Prince' RIGHT NOW. (Looks like only 'Sweet Savage Delta' actually exists - woe, indeed).

S.E. Thompson, "Moral Minority" (Avon/Cally) (3 pages) So... this is a weird comedy ficlet in which Cally accuses Avon of dressing provocatively and thus begging for it. Um... it's vaguely amusing, and not a little disturbing. Funnily enough the Vila-related coda sort of makes it work for me where it otherwise wouldn't.

K. Ann Yost, "Sweet Revenge" (Avon/Blake, with unrequited Blake/Jenna - incorrectly labelled A/B/J) (2 pages) Yer, so this one definitely isn't a threesome, it's just Jenna being really... er, yes, jealous. But then turned on... I could have lived without this....

[snipped]

Aurora, "Purr" (Avon/Blake) (2 pages) Right so... mostly I could live without this one (which seems to conclude that Blake has no interest in Avon?), but if we are going to describe Avon as a cat at least we've gone with this:

Kerr Avon did move with a catlike grace, most of the time. When he was in a serious hurry--for example, when dodging blasters-he moved like a stork on a hot tin roof. But he did have a cat's way of daring you to comment when he made a mistake, that look that said, "I meant to do that." That other look, too, that made it clear that his surroundings and his companions were utterly beneath him: That was certainly feline. And then there was the way he looked when he got wet...

Ha...

[snipped]

Jane Mailander, "Kokopelli's Dance" (Blake/Avon/Jenna <-- not true! Actually Avon/?, Jenna/?, Blake/?, Blake/Avon) (8 pages) This is a London fic with Blake, Avon and Jenna all in solitary confinement. Then some nice person in the walls suggests they discuss fantasies... and it's a bit creepy, really. Not for me, though not badly done. I did read all of it.

[snipped]

Ellis Ward, "In Lieu of Regrets" (reprinted from Touched) (Avon/Vila) (4 pages) Not sure how I feel about this post-Orbit fic. Avon comes to make a brittle apology but then they talk about a weird time in the past where Avon thought Vila was Anna... It's really awkward and nasty, and Vila does not cry (phew). Um... yer. I don't know. It's not really for me, whether it is good or no, but I think it's OK.

[snipped]

J.R., "Coming Out of the Dark" (Avon/Blake) (36 pages) Funnily enough I did not read this one.

I've read another zine, but it's gen and the time is now 1am. So... I'll write about it in a different post, I think, some other day. [21]

Issue 8.75

cover of issue #8.75 Phoenix

Southern Lights 8.75 was published in November 1994 and is 66 pages, all slash and all Avon/Vila stories.

Fiction:

  • Irish, "A Practical Solution"
  • Mireille, "Never Say Never"
  • J.R., "Saint of Circumstances"
  • J.R., "Easy to Love You"
  • Mireille, "Promises, Promises"
  • Ellis Ward, "Lest Madness Return" (reprinted from B7-- The Other Side)
  • Stew, "Portobello Blues" (reprinted from B7-- The Other Side)

Art: Phoenix (front cover), Adrian Morgan, Leah Rosenthal

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8.75

[zine]:I was thrilled when I saw this zine at Media. First of all, I loved the other all A/V issues they'd done in the past. Secondly, B7 seems to be at one of its fannish low-ebbs at the moment and what little that's out there is Avon/Blake. (*Please* no one mention Tarrant!) So, all in all in all, I was so happy you coulda spread me on toast when I saw it. At last, I'd be able to get my A/V fix! Unfortunately, it wasn't quite what I wanted.

There are no really stand out bad stories, but there are no real great ones either. The longest and most involved story in the zine is "Easy to Love You" (which is a sequel to "Saint of Circumstance" that is also printed in the zine) by [J.R.] It's a PGP story that stipulates that not only are A/V lovers, but that after Gauda Prime they become pirate/mercenaries along with Del Grant. They still help with the revolution, but on their terms. I have two major problems with this story. First of all, although I honestly believe that Avon could very well love Vila, he is a more "show don't tell" (actually, more to the point, "Figure it out. If you can't tell that I love you, I'm not going to spoon-feed you, idiot.") kinda guy. I'm bothered when I see stories that have him saying it several times, which this does. Secondly, about the middle of the second story, Avon becomes blinded (long explanation deleted here), but has no problem with it since it means that Vila will *have* to stay close to him now. I really have a hard time seeing Avon as that needy. No matter how much he would want someone to stay close, he wouldn't like *having* to depend on anyone. Part of Avon's charm (?) is the fact that he's self-reliant (or at least likes to think of himself that way) to his own detrement (sic). The whole thing bothers me in regards not only to Avon, but it would bother me no matter who this is. That kind of dependance (sic) is just not healthy. Okay, okay, this is B7 we're talking about here, people not known for their complete and total mental balance, but this is supposed to be a happy story.

The only other stories that stuck with me from the zine are both reprints from the zine B7-THE OTHER SIDE. One is a post-Orbit piece by Ellis Ward called "Lest Madness Return" (typically maudlin for this kind of story, though good) and the other is "Portobello Blues" by Stew. The latter is really the best story in the zine, and while it's also a bit depressing, it's not what I would call typical.... Overall, I'd recommend Southern Comfort 8.75 for only those who are really interested in A/V (there are much better stories in the 4.75 and 5.5 issues). It's cost is $7. [22]

Issue 9

Southern Lights 9

  • Cruelty Has a Human Heart by Jane Carnall (Blake's 7)
  • other unknown content

Issue 9.5

cover issue #9.5, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 9.5 was published in May 1996 and is 229 pages long. It contains fiction (mostly slash), nonfiction, and art. According to Sarah Thompson's review, "This zine is a MUST for A/T fans, and highly recommended for everyone else. There's something for everyone here, with no really bad stories, and a lot of good ones."[23]

Fiction:

  • Irish, "While I Live"
  • Catherine S., "Interlude"
  • Linnadel Cameron, "Beyond Trust"
  • Vanessa Mullen, "The Travis Affair"
  • Jane Mailander, "Captive Thoughts"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Time, Corruption, and Appetite"
  • Paula, "Nightsongs"
  • Irish, "Such a Fool"
  • K. Ann Yost, "Machinations"
  • Pat Jacquerie, "Duty"
  • Irish, "Take My Heart"
  • R. Tabitha Roarke, "A Moment's Surrender"
  • Audrey Weirdsley, "Sweet Savage Delta"
  • Taliesin, "Twilight"
  • Audrey Weirdsley, "Taking Notes"
  • T. S. Gruimmer, "Shared Nookie"
  • Taliesin, "The Devil You Do"

Nonfiction:

  • Buster Hymen & Oliver Klosov, "Episodes That Should Have Been Made... But Weren't" (humor)
  • Letters of Comment

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Whitby27, Randym, Maryann Jorgenson

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9.5

See reactions and reviews for Duty.
[Nightsongs]: The long-awaited sequel to "Nightmusic," and well worth waiting for. The relationship between Avon and Tarrant deepens as they work to save a dissident musician from the Federation. The plot and the very hot sex scenes are skillfully combined. Keep an eye out for more stories in this very appealing series. [24]
[zine]: Overall, an excellent zine, strongly recommended. The variety of pairings is especially noteworthy, mostly slash but with one straight story (and half of another) and several group scenes.

The layout is attractive and easy to read, but also compact. There's a lot of reading matter for the money (229 tightly packed pages), mostly by experienced and skillful fan writers. Personally, I would have liked more illos, but that's a matter of taste; what there is is very nice. The cover, by Leah Rosenthal, shows bust portraits of Servalan, Avon, and Tarrant, none of whom appear to be wearing anything; I liked it so much that I bought the original art in the MediaWest art show...

  • While I Live, by Irish. The first of three (unrelated, but similar in tone) grim but ultimately upbeat PGPs by this author, spread throughout the zine. This one is a PGP A/B, told in first person from Blake's viewpoint-- difficult, but IMO she pulls it off. Avon, however, is not this Blake's Avon, who has been executed, but rather an Avon from a parallel universe in which he was the only survivor. A nifty science-fictional idea that I've seen done only once before, in an old A/V story by Jane Carnell. [contains explicit sex]
  • Interlude, by Catherine. Blake/Deva! This author is good at unusual pairings; she also did the Blake/Sinofar in Straight Blake's 2. Her style improves with each story, and this one, IMO, is her best so far (though my personal favorite is still "Rescue" in Dark Fantasies 3, because brothel stories push my buttons). There was one technical glitch that bothered me: a single paragraph in Blake's POV, when the rest of the story was in Deva's. I wish that had been edited. I also wondered whether the buddy pair who appear briefly at the beginning of the story might be Bodie and Doyle in disguise! [contains explicit sex]
  • Beyond Trust, by Linnadel Cameron. The story that breaks the Curl Rule. Yes, it's Blake/Tarrant! A long, satisfying read for fans of unusual pairings and extreme h/c. PGP, Tarrant is severely injured, blind and deaf, and is nursed by fellow convalescent Blake. They gradually become close, but Tarrant believes that he is still a captive of the Federation. When the rest of the Scorpio crew attempt to rescue Tarrant, complications ensue. I especially liked Tarrant's talk with Avon about Blake, and the funny, upbeat (and sexy!) ending. (Also recommended if you like this story: a gen story by the same author, "In the Shadow of the Night" in Serrated Seven, which also features Tarrant angst and the Blake-Tarrant relationship.) [contains explicit sex]
  • The Travis Affair, by Vanessa Mullen. Already familiar to the lucky members of the Space City mailing list. Another very unusual pairing: Travis I/ Travis II. Their violent encounter is interspersed with a red-hot Avon/Servalan interlude on Sarran. A fascinating story, somewhat difficult to follow but worth the effort. [contains explicit sex]
  • Captive Thoughts, by Jane Mailander. A short, hot PWP; an A/V bondage scene that turns out not to be what it seems. [contains explicit sex]
  • Corruption, Time, and Appetite, by Willa Shakespeare. As the title suggests, this is an erotic alternate version of "Rescue." Avon is brutally raped by Dorian. His crew kill Dorian, rescue Avon, and use the mysterious properties of the basement to heal Avon's near-fatal injuries. In the process they become sexually bonded to each other, and a cheerful orgy ensues. I enjoyed the inventiveness of the story but felt that the two halves didn't match very well in tone. I think I might have preferred two separate stories, one grim and one light. [contains explicit sex]
  • Nightsongs, by Paula. A lovely, long, luscious A/T, the sequel to "Nightmusic" in Southern Comfort 6.5, which in turn was inspired by a gen story, "The Night Wind" in Gambit 2. The relationship between Avon and Tarrant deepens as they discover their mutual affinity for the work of a famous dissident musician and make plans to save her from the Federation. A near-encounter with Blake himself complicates the plot and suggests that there will be a sequel. I especially like the fact that the sex scenes are not only hot, but also essential to our understanding of the unfolding relationship; and that the relationship does not exist in a vacuum, as is so often the case in sex stories, but is part of their lives and their ongoing struggle. I look forward to more stories in this very appealing series. [contains explicit sex]
  • Such a Fool, by Irish. An A/V version of the author's set of dark PGPs, in all of which Avon is made to pay heavily for shooting Blake. Here he is raped by Blake, which so horrifies Vila that, with the help of the rest of the Scorpio crew, he rescues Avon. The A-V interaction is well done, but it bothered me a bit that Blake's behaviour was not more clearly explained.
  • Machinations, by K. Ann Yost. This story is also a short, twisty, no-explicit-sex tale with a rather unflattering portrayal of Blake. Here, Blake's attempt to divert Avon's attentions from Vila backfires.
  • For the Moment, by Irish. Here it's Avon who is the manipulator, as he feigns innocence in order to get exactly what he really wants from Blake. [contains explicit sex]
  • Duty, by Pat Jacquerie. The centerpiece of the zine, and my own favorite by far. My MediaWest roommates laughed at me because I kept rereading this one even though I'd already done so many times already. This is Pat's slash debut, an A/T novella. Stranded on a distant planet with unusual customs, Avon and Tarrant must perform certain social duties in order to get the help they need. There is lots of hot explicit sex (with some yummy illos by Randym of two of the best bits, the shower scene and the dream), a plot with some surprising twists as well, and a tearjerking bittersweet ending. (But don't worry, there will be a sequel!) [contains explicit sex]
  • Take My Heart, by Irish. A PGP A/B with an unusual twist: Blake needs a new heart if he is to survive, and Avon, who damaged the old one, suggests himself as a donor. Another solution is found, however, and eventually there's a happy ending. This is a Jealous Jenna story, which I tend not to like as a rule, but it's well done. On the plus side, I like the handling of the other secondary characters, who are often neglected in A/B stories. This author is especially good with group dynamics.
  • A Moment of Surrender, by R. Tabitha Roarke. The only completely straight story in the zine, a short, nicely done Avon/Jenna PWP, set just after "Horizon." [contains explicit sex]
  • Sweet Savage Delta, by Audrey Weirdsley. Hot and funny. A wacky A/V fantasy with a twist. [contains explicit sex]
  • Twilight, by Taliesin. An A/V that begins with an optimistic reinterpretation of Avon's behaviour in "Orbit." Nice sex scenes. [contains explicit sex]
  • Taking Notes, by Audrey Weirdsley. Another funny story in the same universe as "Sweet Savage Delta," in which Vila initiates wide-eyed innocent Avon into the delights of the flesh. [contains explicit sex]
  • Episodes That Should Have Been Made... But Weren't, by Buster Hymen and Oliver Klosov. What it sounds like. Two pages of ludicrous plot summaries. I especially liked "One-hand Job," the Next Gen crossover with Travis/Data.
  • Shared Nookie, by T.S. Grimmer. An erotic parody of "Shared Danger," a story in Serrated Seven. An aphrodisiac has interesting effects on Tarrant, Cally, and Vila, with echoes of various classic fairy tales. [I suspect that Tanith Lee inspired the author's pseud!] [contains explicit sex]
  • The Devil You Do, by Taliesin. Avon and Blake are stranded on a planet, and Avon is injured. You know what happens. Nicely written, but an overdone plot, IMO. There's a twist at the end, however, that makes it a threeway with Vila. [contains explicit sex]
Conclusion: This zine is a MUST for A/T fans, and highly recommended for everyone else. There's something for everyone here, with no really bad stories, and a lot of good ones. [25]

Issue 10.5

cover of issues #10.5, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 10.5 was published in 1999, is 131 pages long, and includes 22 stories. It has a color cover by Leah Rosenthal. It won a STIFfie and a Fan Q award in 2000.[26]

Fiction:

  • Riley Cannon, "Under the Influence"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Beggars Can't Be Choosers" (sequel to "An Embarrassment of Riches" in Diverse Doings #2)
  • Paula, "Night Discord"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "It's Snow Wonder"
  • Vanessa Mullen, "Circle"
  • Andrea, "Transmission"
  • Jenner, "Memories"
  • Lexa Reiss, "Exit Interview"
  • Susan Cutter, "Nor the Race to the Swift"
  • Susan Cutter, "But That's the Way to Bet"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Don't Get Me Wrong"
  • Catocala, "Fool's Interlude" (universe of "Fool's Paradise," gen story in Raising Hell #4; reprinted from Rebel Desires 1)
  • T.Z. Trouper, "Night Class"
  • Ada L., "That Word Beginning with 'C'"
  • Pat Jacquerie, Lexa Reiss, and Erika Bloom, "Outcast of Auron"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "The House of Judgement"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "The Ultimate Unauthorized Hellhound" (reprinted from Avon Calling #2)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Delta Math"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Forget-me-not" poem
  • Willa Shakespeare, "My Alpha"

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Whitby27

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 10.5

[Circle]:Jenna loves Blake, Blake loves Avon, Avon is quite keen to sleep with Jenna - and not perhaps uninterested in Blake, if he can get passed the fear. Jenna often gets a raw deal in B/A fics, so it's particularly nice to see her relationships with both men depicted so warmly (Jenna doesn't exactly like Avon, but she can sort of see what Blake sees in him). The B/A stuff is hot (Jenna watches them undress each other), awkward and touching. [27]
[zine]:Southern Comfort 10.5 is an especially good zine for Tarrant fans and Avon fans. I thought all the stories were excellent.

It's a tie between "Night Discord," "Exit Interview," and "Outcast of Auron" as to which is my favorite in this zine. "Night Discord," by Paula, had plenty of good sex, excellent character interaction and a satisfying plot as Tarrant and Avon try to work out their relationship after Blake and Jenna return.

"Exit Interview," by Lexa Reiss, is a short, beautifully written story that deals with Tarrant's decision to desert from Space Command, as he stops for a last visit with an old friend. This story is bleak without being depressing and captures the feel of the B7 universe very well. I especially liked the way the story highlighted how difficult it will be for Tarrant to find people he can trust and who will trust him in his new life.

I enjoyed "Outcast of Auron" very much, even though the only characters who got any sex were Avon, Cally and Cally's evil twin. (drat!) Although the story focuses on Avon and Cally, all of the characters are very well-written and have significant roles in the story. One thing I did find very unusual about this story was that it was a beat-up-and-rape where the rapist was a female (other than Servalan) and it was an entirely het story. The only other three stories I've read that had anything similar that I can think of right now are "Blood and Shadows" (where Tarrant is raped and tortured by Servalan) which is mostly slash, "Xoanon" in Straight Blakes 3, where Servalan uses the last survivor of the Scorpio crew as a sex toy, and "Asphodel" where Servalan captures and rapes Jenna. "Outcast of Auron" is a must-read for BUARA fans. Sharat is convincingly nasty and powerful, and she is quite creative in working over Avon.

I thought "Under the Influence," by Riley Cannon, was very sweet without being soppy, as it depicted the developing relationship between Tarrant and Avon, in three scenes set after Sarcophagus, Death-Watch and two years PGP.

Willa Shakespeare has several short humor pieces in this zine; all of them are great, but I like "Beggars Can't Be Choosers" the best. It's actually a sequel to "An Embarrassment of Riches" in Diverse doings 2. Cally's cabin is right next to Avon's and his and Tarrant's nocturnal activities are having a distubing effect on the Auron. Dayna is also unhappy with the situation. Both women prefer men, so they decide to try to seduce Vila. Unfortunately, as with so much in the B7 universe, things do not go exactly as planned. I'm hoping for a sequel to this story.

"Memories," by Jenner, is a beautifully written, tragic A/B.

"Circle," by Vanessa Mullen, is another good A/B, with a particularly well-done characterization of Jenna. All too often, she is reduced to a jealous bitch in A/B stories, but that isn't the case here.

Vila gets his share of nookie with Avon in three good A/V stories. I liked the science fiction setup on the planet in "That Word Beginning with 'C'," by Ada L. It has a truly nasty natural phenomenon, particularly for a guy like Vila. There were also two reprints by Catocala. I'm glad these stories are being reprinted, since many older zines can be hard to find.

Vila also gets a chance to do Tarrant in "Night Class," by T.Z. Trouper. Misunderstandings lead to interesting results.

Susan Cutter has three short, funny stories in this issue. I liked them all, but "Zipper" appealed to me the most. Jenna gets herself into a tight fix and has to get Vila to help her escape.

Val's illos for "Outcast of Auron" were very hot, as was Leah's cover. I was very impressed with the quality of this zine overall. There wasn't a story that I didn't like, even the ones that are not about my favorite pairings. The print was clear and easy to read, and the layout was very nice. [28]
[zine]:OK, here's the first of the new batch of smutty goodies that I've read all the way through. It is excellent, very highly recommended, and my quick glance through #11.5 indicates that that one is equally good. Southern Comfort is one of my favorite erotic zines for its wide variety of pairings, both slash and het, and the nice mix of long and short, serious and funny stories. There's something to fit every mood.

The centerpiece of this issue, IMO, is "Night Discord," the new story in Paula's much-admired A/Ta series. The conflict that the title refers to is the arrival of Blake and Jenna to rejoin the Liberator. How will the developing relationship between Avon and Tarrant be affected by the presence of Blake? The combined crew then meet with a character named Dorian, and adventures ensue. This one has everything: plot, character interaction, hot sex, satisfying length-- it's over 30 pp., a novella by the STIFFie standards. A must for all A/Ta fans!

There are two more excellent A/Ta stories, too. Riley Cannon's "Under the Influence" traces the development of the relationship in a series of three touching vignettes: post-Sarcophagus, post- Deathwatch, and PGP. Andrea's "Transmission" has Tarrant showing Avon just what Servalan did to him on Virn-- while the lady herself eavesdrops via a device planted on Tarrant. The author does a good job of sexualizing the complex friendship/rivalry of Avon and Tarrant, with very hot results.

Admirers of "The Nothing That Is" by Lexa Reiss, which appeared in SC #8.5 and which I personally consider one of the finest B7 stories ever written, gen or slash, will be thrilled to see that there is a sequel here. Like the first story, it deals with Tarrant's life pre-series and features one of the most memorable of all fan-created characters, Tarrant's FSA roommate Jarn, a puppeteer in training. Now on the verge of deserting from Space Command, Tarrant yearns for one last experience with someone he can really trust and visits his old friend.

Vila gets his turn with Tarrant in T. Z. Trouper's "Night Class," teaching the somewhat inexperienced younger man the finer points of m/m sex. This sweet, well-written story reminded me strongly of the prize-winning story by Mireille, "All Work and No Play" in Liberator Fantasies. I could even imagine this story as the prequel to that one, showing how the established Ta/V relationship we see in "All Work" got started in the first place.

In Willa Shakespeare's humorous "Beggars Can't Be Choosers," Cally and Dayna feel frustrated by the fact that Avon and Tarrant are involved with each other. Since both of them prefer men to women, they discard the idea of trying it with each other and instead decide on a collective seduction of Vila. But alas, a series of accidents foil their plan.

The same author recycles two classic dirty jokes in B7 form, in "It's Snow Wonder" and "Delta Math," and builds short stories around a play-on-words punchline (not quite a feghoot, but almost) in "Don't Get Me Wrong" and "Forget-me-not." A slightly- - but only slightly-- more serious story is "The Ultimate Unauthorized Hellhound," in which not only the entire series but also the Hellhound sequel turns out to have been a fever dream on Avon's part. The real truth about his relationship with Blake is more than a little strange. The prolific Willa has also contributed a funny parody poem and a straight-- so to speak-- rendition of a quotation from Oscar Wilde describing a rather Avon-like character.

Jenner's "Memories" is a classic, tragically romantic A/B. It begins as a flashback on Avon's part during a later affair with Tarrant, but then continues relentlessly on to GP. I found the handling of timing slightly confusing, but the writing style and the eloquent evocation of the tragedy of the A/B relationship are wonderful.

Emotional intensity between Avon, Blake, and Jenna is the core of Vanessa Mullen's "Circle." Jenna wants Blake, who's gay; Blake wants Avon, who's straight and has his eye on Jenna. The three resolve their mutual problems in a temporarily satisfying way, but the suggestion of future tragedy hovers in the background.

The A/B relationship gets lighter treatment in Susan Cutter's pair of amusing short stories, "Nor the Race to the Swift" and "But That's the Way to Bet." Blake gives his laryngitis to Avon, who takes appropriate revenge. Her "Zipper" is a tasty little het number in which Vila must use his skills to extract Jenna from a bit of antique-style lingerie she has rashly tried on and now can't get off.

The A/V relationship is represented by Ada L.'s little gem, "That Word Beginning with 'C'." I love it for its SF-ishness and its canonical plausibility. Fourth-season Avon and Vila, searching for a scientist they hope to recruit, find themselves trapped by a frightening natural phenomenon. When Vila's panicked reaction threatens both their lives, Avon must find a way to distract him and calm him down quickly. The A/V quota is rounded out by two reprinted stories by Catocala, one serious and one funny.

The second-longest story in the zine, "Outcast of Auron," is an entirely het story, but one with a difference: it's very dark in tone, more like a Dark Fantasies-type slash story. It is, in fact, classic BUARA, except that the Avon-abuser is female, Cally's evil twin in the most literal sense. This one has lovely lurid illustrations by Whitby27, that IMO make it inadvisable to read the zine in public-- but then, the color A/B/V cover by Leah already does that anyway!

The zine has the clear, attractive layout and high printing quality that we've all come to expect from Ashton Press. And not a bad story in it! Whatever your preferences in smut run to, you almost certainly want this zine. (Well, unless you insist on either Travis or Gan, in which case you want #11.5, which has good stories with both of them.) [29]

Issue 11.5

cover of issue #11.5, Avon and Anna Grant, Leah Rosenthal

Southern Lights 11.5 was published in May 1999 and is 129 pages long. It has a color cover by Leah Rosenthal.

Fiction:

  • Willa Shakespeare, "The Turning of the Worm" (9 pages)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "The Worm Continues to Turn" (6 pages)
  • Catocala, "Taken In" (revised and reprinted from The Other Side #3 and Straight Blake's #2) (6 pages)
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Xenogamy" (Star Trek: Voyager crossover) (20 pages)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Fun with Dick and Jenna" (3 pages)
  • Tessa Nolan and Cami O'Tool, "Embarkation" (4 pages)
  • Tessa Nolan and Cami O'Tool, "Flight Path" (7 pages)
  • Misha, "If There Were Dreams to Sell, What Would You Buy?" (40 pages)
  • Julia Stamford, "With This Ring" (14 pages)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Pet Project" (4 pages)
  • Nova, "Delinquent" (7 pages)

Nonfiction:

  • Predatrix, "The Ultimate Slash Cliche Drinking Game" (6 pages)
  • Willa Shakespeare, "Application to Pilot the Liberator"
  • Willa Shakespeare, "This Is a Mad Blakelib"

Art: Leah Rosenthal (front cover), Whitby27, Sarah S.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 11.5

[zine]:Here's the companion zine to SC #10.5, and amazingly, it's just as good. I really appreciate the skill of the editor in juggling a wide assortment of stories so that each zine would have a good mix. Once again, every single item is well worth reaading.

The standout in this issue is Alicia Ann Fox's "Xenogamy," one of the hottest het stories ever written. A rough draft appeared on SC and was perhaps the most popular story ever serialized here. This is the final, polished version, and it's even hotter now. I'd recommend that slash fans who think they don't like het give this one a try. There's lots of other good stuff besides the sex, as a deeply suspicious Avon, rescued by the Voyager crew after he escapes from torture by his Federation, learns his way around the Trek universe. And the hot tub scene is-- well, you'll just have to read it and see for yourself.

The other long story, this one novella-length, is Misha's surreal dream story, which rather reminds me of New Wave SF-- as if J. G. Ballard or some such author were writing B7 fan erotica! This one is very complicated but repays careful reading. It opens with Cally, captured on Centero, being raped and tortured by Travis --who has, however, made her believe she is having sex with her beloved sister--in the hope of getting her to talk. But Cally is already suffering severe mental illness as a result of her experience on Saurian Major, and is broadcasting strange and disturbing dreams to everyone within reach. The Federation must get rid of her but dare not kill her ("The death-scream of an Auron is incredibly powerful"), so they send her back to neutral Auron in the care of Senator Tyce Sarkoff of Lindor and none other than Olag Gan, now also a Lindorean diplomat after he decided not to join Blake back on Cygnus Alpha. Gan, of course, has problems of his own due to the limiter, but with the assistance of Tyce, Docholli, and later Zelda, he and Cally are able to help each other. Dream sequences are interwoven with real events in a complex plot that also involves evil Federation experiments and Lindorean mythology. I predict that this will be a "love it or hate it" story. Some will find it too confusing and too far from the aired series, while others will find it fascinating. I guess it's obvious which category I'm in!

A/B fans will be delighted to find two excellent A/B stories in this issue. "With This Ring" by Julia Stamford explores the erotic ramifications of genital piercing and Liberator healing pads, as well as the emotional ramifications of the relationship between Blake and Avon. The illustration by Whitby27 is very beautiful and very explicit, stunning in every sense. My jaw dropped when I saw it. And the story itself is both hot and unusual.

Nova is a new author to watch out for; her A/B story in the multimedia zine Dark Roses is also noteworthy. Here, "Delinquent" provides an unusual but plausible background for Avon and explains why both he and Vila hate psychiatrists. Avon's cynicism is revealed as thwarted early idealism-- and Blake realizes that Avon is in fact the very person he has idolized for much of his life. And then things really begin to sizzle!

Federation mind-meddling also figures in the plot of "The Turning of the Worm." This story grew out of discussions in the Tarrant apa, in which Tarrant fans complained about all the old stories in which mean bully Tarrant rapes the poor widdle Delta until Avon makes him stop, and said they'd like to see a story in which Vila rapes Tarrant instead. Well, here it is at last! Poor Tarrant is blackmailed into serving as the helpless sex slave of Vila's evil alternate personality, which was generated by all the shrinking of Vila's head. Avon resolves the problem by making love to Vila himself, and they all settle into a happy threesome, joined by Cally and Dayna in the sequel.

Young Tarrant has encounters with m/m sex both tender and brutal in "Embarkation" (originally called "Initiation"?) and "Flight Path." The first story opens with the bizarre image suggested by Penny, of Tarrant in one of Servalan's gowns. It's an initiation prank at the FSA. Tarrant is rescued by Major Travis, who turns out to have his own agenda.

In the second story, Tarrant seeks out Travis once again. Travis is now changed physically, after what Blake did to him, and he appears to be changed emotionally as well. Or was he really that way all along? Tarrant learns a lesson, though not, as he thinks to himself at the end, the one that Travis intended. It's an interestingly eroticized twist on the question of why Tarrant decided to leave Space Command when he had been so sucessful there.

More het content is provided by the reprinted A/J story "Taken In." I haven't actually compared it with the original version, but this version is distinctly hotter than I remember, so I think it has been skilfully spiced up. Very nice.

I suppose "Pet Project" would have to be called het too, or at least partly so, since Cally's moon disc and Avon's Sopron manage to reproduce! This event coincides with Tarrant's unsuccessful attempt to seduce Avon. The same story is also presented in the form of a Mad-lib game-- a list of words to be supplied at random by the game player, which are then plugged into blank spaces in a story, with hilarious results.

"Fun with Dick and Jenna" presents the entire aired canon in the form of a Dick and Jane reader, but very definitely for adults. A sample, which explains the title: "See Jenna see Blake in the showers. Blake is not small. See Jenna smile. Jenna says, 'Hello, Dick.' "Blake says, 'My name is not Dick. I am Roj Blake.' "Jenna smiles."

Other humorous items are the "Application to Pilot the Liberator," which could almost have gone in a genzine except for the question about the Prince Albert (a foreshadowing of the "Ring" story later in the zine!); and Predatrix's B7 version of a slash drinking game, in which the player must take a sip for every cliche encountered. (The "Dick and Jenna" passage quoted above coresponds to item 2.3, "Are you pointing that thing at me?," worth a half sip.)

A stellar lineup of authors, and none of them disappoint. Again, highly recommended. [30]

References

  1. Southern Comfort (aka Southern Lights Special) at Ashtonpress.net, accessed 3 December 2009
  2. Subject: Sex and B7 by Sandy Hereld on Lysator on Feb 15, 1994.
  3. Subject: Sex and B7 by Lorna B. on Lysator on Feb 15, 1994.
  4. from Datazine #39
  5. by Anon at Judith Proctor's Blake' 7 site
  6. "adult and slash Jabberwocky stories by 'Paula'
  7. by Anon at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 page
  8. from CB at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  9. This comment about "offense" is explained in the editorial for The Unique Touch #2
  10. a review by Jane Carnall in The Unique Touch #4.5
  11. from CB at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  12. "adult and slash Jabberwocky stories by 'Paula'
  13. Favourite Avon/Tarrant Stories
  14. these are the [shorter comments by Aralias; for longer ones, see individual fic pages; reference link.
  15. review by Anonymous at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  16. MFae Glasgow on Lysator on Feb 15, 1994.
  17. Review posted by Sandy Hereld to Lysator on March 6, 1994, quoted in its entirety with permission.
  18. Comment posted by Susan S. to Lysator on March 8, 1994.
  19. Review posted by Lorna B. to Lysator dated March 8, 1994.
  20. "adult and slash Jabberwocky stories by 'Paula'
  21. Aralias reviewed this zine in 2013 on Dreamwidth; reference link
  22. In July 1995, Michelle Christian posted this review of the zine to the Virgule-L mailing list. It is reposted here with permission.
  23. Slash Zine review-- Southern Comfort 9.5 at Hermit.org, accessed 3 December 2009
  24. Favourite Avon/Tarrant Stories
  25. from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  26. Southern Comfort 10.5 at Hermit.org, accessed 3 December 2009
  27. from Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories, August 5, 2013
  28. from TM at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  29. from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
  30. from Sarah Thompson at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
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