The Totally Imaginary Cheeseboard
|Title:||The Totally Imaginary Cheeseboard|
|Publisher:||Allamagoosa Press/Fanfun Publications|
|Author(s):||Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman|
|Fandom:||Blake's 7 RPF/FPF|
|External Links:||Zine Info|
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The Totally Imaginary Cheeseboard is a gen 54-page novel written by Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman and illustrated by Gail Bennett. It's a FPF/RPF crossover, i.e. characters and actors swap places in this series. There is an extensive reference to this zine in Textual Poachers by Henry Jenkins.
Novels in this series:
An extract is here.
Reactions and Reviews
This, in my opinion at any rate, is one of the classic zines of Blake's 7 fanfic. The story is built around a teleport malfunction that causes Avon and Paul Darrow to change places so that Avon ends up in the middle of a Blake's 7 convention. We follow second-season Avon through his encounter with fandom, American culture, ice cream, shopping malls, Gareth Thomas, Jackie Pearce, Michael Keating and videos of the third and fourth seasons. The results range from the hilarious to the touching. My favourite scene is where they are measuring him for new clothes, and one highly nervous female fan is trying to figure out how to take Avon's inside leg measurement. The characters of the actors as well as Avon are well developed and feel right.
There is an extensive reference to this zine in Henry Jenkin's 'Textual Poachers. (an examination of fandom from an academic viewpoint and an interesting read in its own right)
I suspect one of the reasons that this zine works better than other that have been written on similar themes is that Avon doesn't promptly fall in love with one of the fans. Another reason is Gail's artwork which beautifully illustrates so many of the scenes.This is an A4 reprint zine done from quarto masters suplied by Jean Airey, slidebound with a card cover. As it is a reprint rather than a new edition, I don't have the text on disc, so I can't post any extracts from the text. 
Special appearances by Gareth Thomas, Michael Keating, Jacqueline Pearce, Sheelagh Wells, Paul Darrow, Heather, Crystal, Cherry, assorted con comittee members, Chicagoans and, oh yes...Kerr Avon! Picture if you will - A scene so strange that it could only come from the tormented mind of someone who has volunteered for one too many cons, attended one too many Liar's panels, dealt with one too many guests.... A scene that takes you beyond the normal committee nightmare of no-show guets, takes you beyond the limits of our earthly sciences, takes you to... THE TOTALLY IMAGINARY CHEESEBOARD. What would the committee do if Kerr Avon in all his glory, aided, by an errant magnetic storm changed places with Paul Darrow DURING A CON? How would Kerr Avon react to Blake's 3 - Gareth Thomas, Jacqueline Pearce, and Michael Keating, not to mention fans, cats, ducks, malls and 20th century electronics. "CHEESEBOARD" tackles these problems easily. Jean Airey and Laurie Haldeman, both veterans of many conventions, have combibned a "behind-the-scene" look at "SCORPIO 3 3/4" complete with real committee members, with a well put together story resulting in a delightful romp through fandom. Their Avon is perfect, and I'll trust their portrayals of the real B7 cast. The situations that arise all become possible as you dream you are drawn into the fantasy. I may be a bit prejudiced about "CHEESEBOARD". I know one of the "characters", have met a few of the actors, and seen enough at cons to feel, oh, so familiar with the setting. I don't know the authors except by reputation but their view of SCORPIO 3 3/4 rings as true as fiction can. Be warned, however. If you are new to fandom, and have not attended any conventions, especially B7 cons you may have some difficulty with the situations. If that's the case, just take everything on faith. There are a few "in" jokes, but happily they are all in fun - no sniping here, (o.k. - Avon does snipe occassionally. If you're a Blake or Vila fan you will be disapointed. Blake is present only as a voice on Avon's teleport bracelet. Vila not at all. Paul also is barely present and no explanation is given for why Blake couldn't wait to send him back (perhaps Zen synthesized cigarettes for him) . This zine gets a PSG rating - share it with your Mom if she likes Avon. There's no "slash", no adult situations (measuring Avon's inseam doesn't count). The artwork is by Gail Bennet, need I say more? Some readers will find one problem with this zine - small type. I know people who can't or won't deal with reduced type and editors should bear that in mind when planning a zine. 
Avon finds himself at Scorpio, a popular Blake's 7 fan convention, due to another teleport malfunction; the character is initially highly suspicious of the fans' activities, confused by his encounters with series stars, and deeply disturbed by his viewing of fourth season episodes representing events sti11 in his own future. He eventually warms to his role as celebrity and embraces his fans. The story ends with the hope that Avon, whose ruthless violence and tragic fate reflected his profound alienation and perpetual betrayal, may deal with these situations differently now that he knows he is so beloved and has seen what the future holds for him if he is unable to change his ways. [The authors] include portrayals of program performers, active fans, the actors' real-world spouses, and the hotel where Scorpio was held. Their story exploits the "double viewing" practices of fandom: Avon is represented as existing simultaneously as a character on a BBC program and as a real-world personality inhabiting Earth's future.