The Alternate Sentinel
|Title:||The Alternate Sentinel|
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Have you ever wondered what would happen if the story of Jim the Sentinel meeting Blair the Guide hadn't happened exactly as we saw it on the show? What if they'd both lived in Occupied France during WWII? Or were part of the Roman empire? Or if they flew lightspeed fighter ships during a galactic war? 
- Reincarnation by Rayden Star 1 (Author's Note: This is not a death story, per se. It does have a very happy ending, I promise.)
- Destiny by Angelise 4 (Author's Note: This AU story takes place in the 1880s during the British occupation of Northeast Africa. James Ellison is a Colonel in the Royal Calvary. Our beloved Blair for purposes of staying true to the region and time is a prince from one of the local desert tribes. His name is Raman which means "beloved". The soldier and prince have fallen in love with each other but alas, it seems destiny may be against them.)
- The First Time We Met by Bast 11
- ...For What You Wish... by Dene 27
- Robbie 2000 by Carmen 45
- Suffisaunce by Cara Chapel 64
- Common Ground: Witness to Evil by Gena Fisher 82 (based on the movie Witness)
- Tangled by Gena Fisher 111
- Thundering Wolf by Ramblin' Rose 136
- Covert Operations by Rogue 189
Reactions and Reviews
Features all AU Jim/Blair stories. This is probably the best zine I ever found in The Sentinel fandom. I've since lost any interest in that fandom but I kept that zine the longest because it had some of the most intriguing stories. There are too many average and very shaky stories for this to make it into the best in fandom category, but there are also some pretty good stories to be found. It's a large zine with a good layout and format and the technical side of things isn't half bad. I'd recommend this one if you're into The Sentinel fandom. 
I really enjoyed this 'zine full of AU's. It's fun to see our guys in different times and occupations. The cover, with its collage of promo and screen grabs, are all illustrative of Jim and Blair in different roles. Very clever!
Some of the stories included comments from the author's which I will include, clearly marked. Not all the authors made notes, but I'll put them in when available.
Reincarnation author's note: This is not a death story, per se. It does have a very happy ending, I promise. end author's note
I wouldn't call it a death story at all! This neato story consists of four paragraph-sized non-dialogue snippets showing our guys living in various periods througout history. The final portion of the story (with dialogue) brings our guys together in current TS time. This was very interestingly written. I enjoyed it very much. The matching art, a wonderful piece by Geli, was mistakenly placed in the next story, but be sure to check it out right after or before you read the story!
Destiny author's note: This AU story takes place in the 1880s during the British occupation of Northeast Africa. James Ellison is a Colonel in the Royal Calvary. Our beloved Blair for purposes of staying true to the region and time is a prince from one of the local desert tribes. His name is Raman which means "beloved". The soldier and prince have fallen in love with each other but alas, it seems destiny may be against them. end author's notes
This was a traditional love story; a very hot one! LOL! Kind of a Romeo and, er, Julius type thing. It was a sweet love story, and I did enjoy it but didn't quite understand how Blair could be both a virgin and Jame's lover. Still can't beat the sex! Nice story.
The First Time We Met may be spoilers on this review Okay, I read this one! An A/U (well, duh) in which Blair and Jim meet and instantly fall in love. Apparently in this universe, AIDS victims are locked away unless they are married. Blair reveals to Jim that he has AIDS and that because of this their love cannot be. Jim proves his love to Blair by offering to marry him, thus keeping him out of the "camps" and allowing them to be together. Sniff!
...For What You Wish definately spoilers on this review Well. Um. Ouch. Not slash. Very painful story. Blair has apparently become an invalid somehow. He has sent his caretaker away for the evening and Jim is still at work. An ice storm sweeps in and Blair is slowly freezing. In spite of great physical pain, he drags his body across the floor in an attempt to start a fire, only to find the matches have been moved. Argh! Think: Jack London's To Build A Fire. Double Sniff.
Robbie 2000 Whew! I needed this after the last one! A fun story. Not what I thought at first, which was that Jim and/or Blair would be a robot of some sort, like RoboCop! Snerk! Seems in this futuristic tale, Jim is just as set on clinging to his ancient robotic guide as he was his precious '69 Ford. But when it breaks down parts aren't so easy to find. It takes a special person, a Searcher, to find the parts. Searchers often work right on the edge of the law, and Jim isn't fond of the idea of hiring the services of one....until he meets him! I really enjoyed the part where Blair tells Jim to stay in the car because the situation could be dangerous! LOL! Justice!! The parallels between Blair searching for parts for the Robbie 2000 and the dissertation in the real TS universe were pretty interesting. Very enjoyable story!
Suffisaunce The author includes a note, but it's an explanation of the title and I won't include it as I'm not sure it helps explain what the story is about. Great story! Starts out and ends in the current TS uni, but the bulk of the story is Blair's bedtime story to Jim of a previous life lived together. I particularly enjoyed this because of the care the author seemed to take with the research. Okay, I don't happen to know diddly squat about being an Augustan Monk in Ireland in the Dark ages, but the author was very descriptive and made me believe it was pretty authentic. Very nice first-time story, with two great endings!
Common Ground: Witness To Evil author's note Yes, this story is based on the wonderful Harrison Ford movie, Witness. end author's note
A young man comes to Cascade to begin college at Rainier U. But before he can get there he witnesses a brutal murder. While fleeing the scene he is nearly run over by Detective Jim Ellison. Det. Ellison takes the young man, Blair Sandburg, to the precinct for his statement. While there, they uncover some really dirty laundry. But just how far do the stains spread? Will Blair return to his former life or follow a new path. Will Det. Ellison discover why he seems to be able to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch better than others? Hee, don't want to spoil it. Great story! Jim owies, first-time.
Tangled Cool story! J/B first time. An injured Jim returns to Cascade from his time in Peru. In this story, he takes off for his island, one that's been in his family for decades, to get away from people and die in peace, as he is sure he is going crazy. He almost makes it away from the mainland, but gets caught up rescuing a young man. Guess who! Lovely story!
Thundering Wolf This is from Patt Rose-Darrow. Yes, the Sentinel Prose Queen herself. I was surprised that this story is much different than what we usually see from Patt. Much more serious. Blair, Jim and Megan are all FBI agents. Blair has been sent to a Washington state reservation to try and settle a lease agreement between the government and the Native Americans who own the land. But Blair has discovered the lease isn't as wonderful for the Native Americans as our government has represented. The FBI then sends Agents Ellison and Connor after Blair, telling them he has "gone native" and is a danger to all involved. Just as Blair learned, Jim and Megan soon discover that all is not as represented.
Patt inserted quotes throughout the story by Native Americans and some she wrote herself. I really thought this was a great addition. I enjoyed them very much, particularly her pieces which I found very touching and sad.
Patt commented below on the art, especially the piece on page 188. I have to second that. It fits the story beautifully.
Covert Operations Ohhhh.... loved it! I read this one at the airport in San Fran and over the Arizona desert! Excellent plot. Jim and his team head out on their ill-fated mission to Peru. Their 'chopper is shot down and most of the crew dies. Two men survive for a few days, but soon die. Leaving only Jim Ellison and his Chopec interpreter, Blair Sandburg, to carry on the mission! Very in character for an AU, I thought! First time, too! Yeehaw. Ahem.. sorry I get carried away sometimes....I want to mention the art, too. Some lovely stuff here. The cover is a collage of screen grabs and promo shots. These shots include the baby-faced 16 year old promo shot of GM and his post-Sentinel haircut! Yum! Eight pics in all. Then there're the beautiful sketches and paintings inside the 'zine. I've always been a big fan of Geli, and she did not disappoint! Nor was I the least bit disappointed with the wonderful full colour paintings by Suse. 
The premise of this zine is pretty obvious, and if you go in knowing you hate Alternate Universe stories, then you'll probably hate this too. :) But I love AU's, so when I finally got this one, I dove right in. I'll mention the stories I remember the most:
The First Time We Met, by Bast - had a cool science fiction idea. I've always been a bit surprised at how few AUs go forward in time -- so I like this one even more.
...For What You Wish, by Dene - this one alarmed me at first, due to a zine-binding problem -- the story appeared to have a really abrupt ending (at a very bad place in the plot!), until I realized it had a title page bound into the middle of the story! Once I got past that, and kept reading, it made a lot more sense -- and made me much happier. This was a good story, but it had so many unanswered questions about the premise that it was distracting. To say more would spoil it, but I do think if an author is going to set up something 2 or 3 years in the future and change something big about the guys, it needs explaining. But the story was well-told.
Robbie 2000, by Carmen - this was great! Another sci fi twist, with Jim insisting on repairing his robotic guide, and fate tossing in a certain someone. Fun, plotted, and very good.
Suffisaunce, by Cara Chapel - okay, going the other way in history, this features Blair as a monk, and Jim as a buff peasant. Very well done.
Common Ground, by Gena Fisher - a wonderful 'Witness' take-off, with a GREAT illo by Geli at the end (all of Geli's interior art was exceptional). I loved the movie 'Witness', so this was easy for me to enjoy.
Covert Operations, by Rogue - all the fun of an army romance, a jungle adventure, destiny, and love -- all in one!I certainly enjoyed the zine, and while 279 pages makes it fairly expensive, if you like AU's, it's probably worth the money. Good production values (well, I would've put the story titles in the headers, and the page numbers out toward the outsides of the pages), that cool coil binding I'm getting addicted to. Kinda heavy to read in bed, but hey. :) Very nice cover, as I said, wonderful interior art. 
Reincarnation By Rayden Star - This is such a simple motto to live by. I loved this story, because she tells us, if you love someone, tell them. If you love someone, show them. If you love someone, love them. So, for this reason alone, I loved it. :)
Destiny By Angelise - For some reason I accidentally omitted this from my original review. A friend pointed out to me that I had forgotten one writer. God, I knew this day would come. My mind is gone. What can I say? Angelise I'm truly sorry. I'll make it up to you.
The artwork alone is to die for. There is a piece from Geli that spans the Roman Empire, to the old west and ends up with the current time. It's beautiful. Everyone should check it out. I think perhaps I was thrown off by the artwork at first because I thought for some odd reason that it would be for Angelise's story. Not so. [g] They were just checking to see if I was paying attention.
Destiny starts by telling us that it's in the 1880's. Now I have to say, that the AU's from that time era are not my favorite. But the subject is one of my favorites. We have a brave noble man, willing to give up his life because he can't be with the one he loves. He knows that there is no way out but to take his own life. I was so sad as I read it again. James is a very, very noble man and he indeed falls in love and has to give Blair or should I say, Raman up. The Englishman is allowed one last visit with Raman, (Blair) and it's so sad. I'm not going to tell you all about it, because then you wouldn't need to read it at all, but you do need to read it and know that the ending is not as terrible as it may seem. Keep the faith and read on.
It was a very fast story, only about six pages I think. Maybe a few more. But it went almost too fast. I wished that we could have gotten more into it. But that's me. We got all of the answers, I just wanted more of the story. I'm a fic hog, what can I say?
Again to Angelise, I apologize. I can't believe I did this. I did it on one other zine too and I was devastated. Nothing worse than being left out. So for this I'm truly sorry. Everyone that loves AU's will totally enjoy this one. It's very much Angelise and if you like her like I do, you'll not be disappointed. Thank you, Angelise for the great time.
The First Time We Met By Bast - Now this one, is one of those rare stories that make you really think. How often do you think about living a life with AIDS? Not often I'm sure, but this one makes you not only think, but imagine and live it with the guys. I loved this story. This isn't a death story, which is all the more reason to love it. AIDS is not a death sentence all the time. I like to see things written a little more optimistic. Bast, did a wonderful job with this and didn't make it sappy or too sweet and cuddly. It was just right. To me, it's a must read. I've read it twice so far.
For What You Wish By Dene - This one is terribly depressing, but yet thought provoking and stays with you long after you put the zine down. In fact I'm still thinking about it.
Robbie 2000 By Carmen (Ceares) - This one totally blew me away. I wasn't expecting it to be like this at all. And I adore the storyline. I don't want to talk about it much, cuz that would ruin the story. Read it, its a good read. An easy read and a fun read. :)
Suffisaunce By Cara Chapel - This is one of the best spun tales I've read in ages. Opens with Blair telling a story to Jim, and it's a doozy. I loved it. I think I can say this much. Blair is a brother. LOL! Yup, it was great. You'll love it. The descriptions by the author of the era of this story was great. I felt as though I was there. I was sad to have it end.
Common Ground: Witness To Evil By Gena Fisher - Oh wow. Okay, this one is totally great. Gena, you rock, girl. She says at the beginning it is a takeoff of Witness, the movie with Harrison Ford. Hell if I could have seen Witness like this, I'd have watched it forty times. LOL! This was fabulous and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, even though I knew what was basically going to happen. :) Good job.
Tangled By Gena Fisher - This is a fabulous AU Story. She writes Jim and Blair so beautifully that I never want to stop reading it. :) She works all the bad characters into this one and I loved how she did it. Well, maybe not all of them. Okay, I exaggerated. So sue me. I've read this one three times now. I love it, I love it, I love it. (do you suppose I liked it?) This is a must read. :)
Covert Operations By Rogue - Chrissie, you are sooooo good. I had read some of this when she was writing it, but didn't get to see the finished version and I'm so glad I have it. It's one of those you'll read over and over again. I loved it. Very exciting and angsty, my two favorite things in the world. And let's not forget the romance and just all out hot sex. LOL! Yup, everyone will love this one. I have no doubt.
Now I'd like to take a moment to tell you about the art work in this zine. Beautiful.
Cover art is done by Barbra Nice Miller, Agent Spooky. She did a beautiful collage with a lot of my favorite pictures of Jim. There are a couple of Blair too, but mostly Jim and that made me all happy. You know me, Jim Babe. :) It's just one of the nicest one's I've ever seen. Loved it, you will too.
Page 5 Now this one was really different, because she has three different sets of our guys. Jim and Blair from the old west. Jim and Blair from Gladiator times and Jim and Blair from the Olympics. All of them great. You have to see it. :)
Page 6 This one is Blair, in the foreground, with a dreaded spotted jaguar in the background. It's great. I really like this one a lot.
Page 81 Woo Hoo. That's all I have to say. You'll have to buy it for a first hand look, but it's beautiful, sexy and just down right fan-fucking-tastic.
Page 111 Black and white art by Geli. What can I say? As always, Geli blows me away with her work. (Did I mention that she always makes me drool over the pictures too?) And Jim in this one is worthy of many nice dreams. I love it.
The last art in the zine is done by the one and only Suse. :) Now, I feel just a tad biased about this review because two of the pieces of art are from my story. LOL! But I don't care, I'll review it anyhow. It's not about my story, it's about the darn art. Page 141 Thundering Wolf The first of the story, shows a Native American Blair, surrounded by outdoors, totem pole and wolf. It's fantastic. If you really think about it, Blair would make a gorgeous Native American. I love the way Suse works with colors. It's just beautiful.Thundering Wolf Page 190 This is the second painting of the story and it is by far my favorite one to date. It's just beautiful. It continues to give me goose bumps as I stare at it, thinking about how much I loved it with the story. It's a painting that you'll never forget. I love Native American Art, and Suse did a fabulous job on this for sure.