Avon's Allergies

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Avon's Allergies is a Blake's 7 fanfic trope.

It began in a story by Pat Thomas, Ann O'Neill, and Christine Knowles that was written in 1978, and first published in "Spacefall" #4 in 1980.

The story was later rewritten by Ann O'Neill and published in a 1985 issue of Standard by Seven.

In 1986, the story was bootlegged and sold as a novel "written by Keith Black." See Between Black and White.

A similar trope in The Sentinel fandom is Blair's Compromised Lungs.

Some Fan Comments


In 1985, the author of Mascarada, Susan R. Matthews, acknowledges Ann O'Neill and "Between the Black and White" in her own story "The Portage," saying that the original "plot device" of having Avon's allergic reaction to interrogation drugs was in O'Neill's story. Her mention of this may have been partly influenced by her desire to distance herself from a 1985 bootleg zine that had been published that incorporated the fic.

The preface to the story "The Portage" in "Mascarada":


The first person to suggest that Kerr Avon had a sensitized allergy to standard drugs used for purposes of interrogation was Ann O'Neill, in her excellent story, "Between Black and White" (Standard by Seven, Number 9). The idea made such good sense to me at the time that, to my embarrassment, I find I had unconsciously assumed it was part of the "background" established for Kerr Avon in the course of the aired episode. I understand that the idea was original with Ann O'Neill, who has graciously consented to lend the plot device to me for the limited purposes of this story and its eventual conclusion. I feel the richer for it, and wish to thank Ann O'Neill, as well as acknowledge the source of the idea.


In 1989, the author of "Intergalactic Velvet," a story in The Bizarro Zine, wrote:

One of the earliest Bizarro tales written, it's also a favorite with readers. It was here that we got our first glimpse into the weird and tormented family life of Kerr Avon, mostly through his weird and tormenting elder brother. The name "Terrick", like Avon's allergies, was not a Bizarro invention. It was a sort of tradition [1] in B7 fan literature that had gained general acceptance through common use (rather than any evidence in the actual series). In fact, the bit about the allergies had become something of a cliche even back before the 'second wave' of B7 fanlit. [2]


How about Avon's infamous allergies? Where the heck did they come from? Well, I'll tell you -- one old British story was so angsty that all the fans love the idea for some reason. [3]

An interesting bit of trivia: The first fannish reference to Avon's drug allergies occurred in the story "Between Black and White," which was, I think, in one of the "Liberator" zines out of England, and came out in the verrrrry early days of the fandom. The authors used it as a device to "get" Avon, and apparently, pulled the idea out of a hat, for there is no canonical reference to it. However, it must have been such a widely read story, especially in the dearly days of the fandom (I know it was among the first B7 stories I read when I got into the fandom in 1987), that somewhat, the idea stuck. It's a useful device, for all there's not a speck of fact in it. [4]


Speaking of B7 fannish traditions, such as Avon's allergies, one amusing (kind of) factor is how apt they are in the realm of romantic fantasy, and how inapt to realism. Avon, for instance, needs crippling allergies the same way a Victorian heroine needed consumption or at least a pale and interesting look, but Vila is the one who actually looks as if he'd been distressed by eating or breathing problems. [5]


  1. ^ While this bit of fanon was used in the story, in the same zine, the authors give a warning: "Some readers may wonder why Annie and I are stern about protecting the use of Bizarro in fanlit, even from those who are so appreciative. Unhappily, there is good reason. Rather than go into a lecture, I'll cite an example for you of what can happen. A friend of ours who also writes B7 literature composed and wrote a terrific B7 story with a smashing original idea to it. This friend submitted the story for publication, but there was a long delay before the zine went to press. In the meantime, another fan who had been temporarily rooming with our friend read this story, and she loved it too...so much so, in fact, that her admiration compelled her to write a sequel, without the consent of the Author. I suppose she regarded it as a tribute or something. Also without the consent of the original Author, this admirer submitted the sequel for publication in another zine. It was published long before the original story finally saw print! Needless to say, this is only one way in which the best of intentions can lead to the worst. The highest reward that any writer should expect is that people come to trust their work enough to keep giving them a try."
  2. ^ from The Bizarro Zine
  3. ^ from The Neutral Arbiter #3
  4. ^ from The Neutral Arbiter #3
  5. ^ from Strange Bedfellows (APA) #7 (November 1994)