B7 Complex

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Zine
Title: B7 Complex
Publisher: Moonrise Press, Pursuit Press, see Vendredi Press
Editor(s): Deb Walsh
Date(s): 1981-1988
Series?:
Medium: print zine
Size:
Genre:
Fandom: Blake's 7
Language: English
External Links: gallery of covers here, Memories and fiction links here
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

B7 Complex is a gen Blake's 7 anthology. It was the first Blake's 7 zine published in North America.

In the mid-90s, Moonrise Press, operating under its new name Vendredi Press, republished select stories from the fanzine series under the title Avon's 8 Collected.

One Fan's Reaction

A fan in 1993 lists this series of zines on her top five favorite of all time and says:
This was everything that a single-fandom zine should be: a good introduction for people new to the series (right down to a detailed episode guide tailored to each issue's individual stories), a solid reference for people who already know it, cool stories, straightforward, economical layout. Zineds could do a lot worse than emulating B7 Complex. (It's also a reminder of things too often forgotten: that zines are for sharing ideas, not staking out territories; and that fan art doesn't have to be pretty-pretty to be spectacular.) [1]
A fan in 2016 said:
The first North American B7 zine, and a significant addition to the field from its inception. Issue #3 of this zine was so darned good-looking that it drew me into the fandom.[2]

Notes From the Publisher

Deb Walsh begins her tale of how B7 Complex, the first US Blake's 7 fanzine came about: "At the 1980 Worldcon in Boston, a small group of fans got together for a video show that featured very fuzzy, very intriguing tapes of a British science fiction show called Blake’s 7...." [3]

From there she described how her friend Mary Bloemker came away from the video parties determined to find the rest of the series. Within a few months, she had tracked down someone who had British camera copies which had been converted to NTSC. Shortly thereafter, Mary formed a group for trading the videotapes.

But, as Deb explains there was one small wrinkle: "Only one thing stood between MaryB and Blake’s 7 goodness – me. I had the only VCR in the group, so she had to hook me." [4]

It wasn't until the next convention, Lunacon, which was held the following spring, that Deb was bitten by the Blake's 7 bug: "A wiggly, staticky, barely watchable tape of “Countdown” later, and I was hooked, just as I was meant to be..... I started trading for episodes, we ramped up our Saturday evening video fests, and before long, we all were thinking stories." [5]

Still the idea for the fanzine didn't come until a few months later when, during the MediaWest*Con 1 dealers’ room breakdown, Deb and her friends started throwing out ideas for zine titles: "B7 Complex. Sounds like a vitamin. It stuck. Even if I did get the chemical model wrong on the cover art of the first issue." [6]

They quickly moved into zine production and the zine debuted at the end of the summer at Summer MediaFest, a remarkably quick turn-around from inception to production. Even the co-editing process went smoothly: "'One of the neatest aspects of that first issue of B7 Complex is that both Mary Fall (Wardell) and I started from exactly the same point – and ended at the same point – in our stories, and yet the stories are vastly different." [7]

There has been some discussion as to whether B7 Complex was the first Blake's 7 fanzine published in the US due to its inclusion of a Tomorrow People story by Mary Bloemker. Deb offers the following blunt response: "Big whoop. We had a mission, and that was to hook people on the show. We added a little sweetener to the zine to draw more readers in. It was still a B7 zine, and the first of its kind published in the US...." [8]

As to the zine's lifecycle, Deb offers the following explanation for why she ceased publication: "B7 Complex was published from 1981 – months before the fourth season debuted in the UK – through 1988. I closed after issue #16, because I was tired of pouring my energy, time, and money – lots of it – into a publication I loved doing, but that was bootlegged as soon as I could publish it...... I couldn’t afford to keep subsidizing someone else’s lifestyle, and so I withdrew from zine publishing for a few years. Pursuit Press closed its doors, only to reopen several years later as Vendredi Press, with The Manifest and Trap Open!." [9]

Issue 1

B7 Complex 1 was published in 1981 and contains 60 pages. It includes fiction by Fall and Walsh, art by Wlash and Bloemker. Production: 35% reduced, offset.

cover of issue #1, Deb Walsh: "I drew the cover on the plane ride home from diaWest*Con." [10]

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1

Blake's Seven is a British science fiction show that has run for four seasons. It is similar to Star Trek in that it has a strong fan following. Enough so as to bring it back for a fourth season after being cancelled. My, my, I wonder where I've heard of that happening before. Like Star Trek's spread to the Continent and beyond, Blake's Seven is slowly spreading to the United States. B7 COMPLEX has the distinction of being the first sign of the Blakp's Seven Invasion. It is the first all-Blake's Seven zine in the United States. B7 COMPLEX 1 is the creative output of three individuals: Mary Fall, Mary Bloemker, and Deborah Walsh. The zine may be small, but it is of the highest quality. The artwork is very good to excellent, and the writing is superb. The Blake's 7 Portfolio by Mary Bloemker is gorgeous. The two major pieces of fiction take place between "Death-Watch" and "Terminal." While different in style and content, both are excellent. The first major literary piece is "The Ground on Which We Die," by Mary A. Fall. This is one of the best pieces done by Mary to date. It is a tight piece with excellent characterizations. She has a strong grasp of the interplay between the characters. This grasp lends strength to the story. She takes the champion premise presented in the B7 episode "Death-Watch" and uses it to its fullest. Preceeding the story is a synopsis of the episode for those unfamiliar with it. "The Ground on Which We Die" is an excellent adventure story done totally within the universe established by the show. In fact, it shows a strong understanding of the show and its premise, which is sometimes missed by some professional writers. The next piece of literature is a vignette, also by Mary Fall. While it is short, it brings many emotions together and gives insight to the characters of Avon and Blake. If the piece were any longer, it would kill the effect. As it is, it illustrates its point quite well. The last piece of fiction is "Aftershock," by Deborah M. Walsh. Although "Aftershock" chronologically follows "Death-Watch," its storyline is not directly derived from it. The storyline is derived from a culmination of episodes and deals with emotions that have been building up over the third season. A failing of most television shows is to have a character experience a traumatic event, but in the following show(s) he/she displays no trace of the tragedy. "Aftershock" deals with the charcters' handling of their traumatic events. The main characters are Cally, Avon, and Tarrant. Their past tragedies were shown in the episodes "Childron of Auron," "Rumors of Death," and "Death-Watch," respectively. The support characters too go through reflections of past tragedies, but are not individually explored in depth, as are those of Cally and Avon. "Aftershock" takes you through the characters' dilemra and their effort to solve their problems. It is a good look into personal interactions and emotions. One question for the author - WHAT does Vila dream about? B7 COMPLEX is a must zine for the B7 fan. For those who have never heard of Blake's Seven, it might be a good introduction, but the zine assumes the reader has some previous knowledge of the series. While it contains synopses of episodes immediately related to the stories, it does not contain information about current or previous characters. If this is the first exposure to B7, this could cause some frustrations in why so-and-so/did such-and-such or who is Blake? Since the stories are all placed in the time period of the third season, who is Blake is a valid question. If you've never heard about B7 and your curiosity is killing you, you might want to get a copy of FELGERCARB 8/9 for its B7 Primer and then get B7 COMPLEX 1. If you've heard about B7, then you should get B7 COMPLEX 1.[11]

I've been after this one for a while, as it's touted as the first American B7 zine (not the first zine - which I was confused about for a while, though at 1981 it is very early), and because issue 3 has this amazing screenprinted Jenna cover. I have issue 3, but alas - it's only a photocopy :(

My copy of issue 1 is the real deal, though. While there's nothing here that I really love, I've decided to hold onto this issue because of it's historical value and the ways in which it's not like other zines that will follow, because it's so early.

It begins with an episode guide that is specific to the stories featured - mostly Death Watch. This is cool! Lots of people wouldn't have seen the VHS's at this point. It includes calligraphy headers and footers, and has images integrated into titles for the beginning of each story - which is cool! It also has 'You are receiving this zine because...' check boxes - which Fanlore tells me is a totally normal thing for zines to have. Mine has the following ticked: You're at your best when you're unconscious, You calculate risks on your fingers, You are infinitely corruptible, You're beautiful when you're angry. There's also a fanart gallery in the middle, which some good fanart and some rather random quotes. I guess they are supposed to be from series 3, and there aren't many lines about Blake in series 3, which helps to explain the weirdest one (which is Bayban talking about Blake. I probably would have gone for - Blake and the Liberator? I've been hearing reports for the last couple of years. You were magnificent.)

The font is ridiculously small and hard to read, but I guess that kept it cheap.

Let me also remind you that when this zine was written there WAS no series 4 ... although there are promo pictures, clearly, as all the artwork is based on them.

Here's what I think about the fics, although it hardly seems to matter now. If it ever did.

The Ground on Which We Die by Mary A. Wardell -- a Post Death-Watch story, which is about people trying to assassinate Tarrant to take over as champion. It's too long, but it has a nice Avon-being-clever ending. Ultimately I liked it.

Entre'acte by Mary A. Fall -- A tiny (less than one-page) fic about Avon hallucinating Blake during series 3. I'm a sucker for this shit, so obviously I liked it.

You can read it for yourself here. Rather awesomely, actually, it looks like practically the whole zine is hosted here as PDFs, so you can experience the zine... experience for yourself.

Aftershocks by Deb Walsh -- An Avon/Cally story ... which is about Cally having bad dreams, and then Avon getting telepathy! To be fair... this is probably patient zero... of a trope I have no truck with, because it isn't my pairing. It's generally retty well-written I think, just really not for me. It has explicit sex in it - it's not that sort of gen.

And that's it!

Also included in the zine is a list of all OTHER Blake's 7 zines that exist, and fanclubs etc. As you can see - more than 0, but we don't need to go onto a second page yet. I've read... Alternative Seven (bad), Standard by Seven (but a re-print, in the early years), and some reprinted vv good Lillian Shepherd from 'Liberator'. I haven't even heard of 'Spacefall' before. Even Hermit seems to only have a record that it existed... (It also seems to be down. Thank goodness for the WayBack) [12]

Issue 2

front cover of issue #2

B7 Complex 2 was published in 1982, reprinted in 1984. It contains 99 pages.

  • You Are Recieving This Zine Because by the Editors
  • Scorpio Rising by D.M. Walsh
  • Dioscuri by Mary A. Fall
  • Good Clean Fun part one by Patricia Cash
  • Decision by Linda M. Lanzi
  • Art Portfolio
  • Reflection by Elizabeth Carleton
  • Good Clean Fun part two by Patricia Cash
  • The Last Stone by Mary A. Fall
  • Tomrorrow People Episode Guide-first season
  • Rift by Mary D. Bloemker
  • Oracle by the staff
  • calligraphy by D.M. Walsh
  • art by Robin Belyea, Mary D. Bloemker, Patricia Cash and D.M. Walsh

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

Note that this is actually the revised reprint edition of the zine. Apparently the original 1982 edition had slightly different contents, including an episode guide that didn't appear in the reprint. The stories are the same in both editions, though.

Overall, this was a decent, enjoyable zine. Long out of print, I assume, but definitely worth taking a look at if you can find a copy.

Fiction:

"Dioscuri" by Mary A. Fall: The _Liberator_ responds to a distress call from a Federation training facility whose complement of cadets has discovered that the Federation has something extremely unpleasant in store for them and has chosen to rebel. Of course, as always, it turns out to be a trap, but this time it's one that features both Travis and a disturbing face from Avon's past. An interesting story featuring a really great premise, good dialog, a strong showing from all the characters, and lots of Avon-angst. Unfortunately, the writing style, while grammatical and perfectly readable, is rather awkward and detracts quite a bit from the story's impact. (Note to aspiring writers: the word "said" is your friend. Really. Reading "Gan laughed, "Vila mourned," "Vila sighed," "Gan protested," etc., etc. used as dialog tags in the space of half a page is *really* distracting.)

"Good Clean Fun (part 1)" by Patricia Cash: Vila plays some practical jokes on Avon, and then has to endure the agony of waiting for Avon's wrath to descend upon him. Silly but fun, with some *very* amusing and memorable images.

"Split Infinitive" by Deborah M. Walsh: This is by far the longest story in the zine, but that's fine because, IMO, it's also the best. It's an "Ultraworld" AU in which Tarrant does mix up the tubes containing Avon and Cally's consciousnesses, leaving them stuck in each other's bodies. I've always liked this as a story concept, and this is a good treatment of it, albeit a somewhat dark one: both Avon and Cally suffer considerably from the experience, and the others aren't exactly having a happy time of it, either. The method they pursue to get themselves switched back again is very well thought out and believable, as is the answer to the question of who gets Cally's telepathy, making for a pretty satisfying story all the way around.

"Good Clean Fun (part 2)" by Patricia Cash: More silliness as Avon uses his considerable technical skills to extract his revenge on Vila.

"The Last Stone" by Mary A. Fall: Brief missing scene from "Terminal" as Avon goes down to look for Cally's body. Familiar territory, but not too badly done.

Poetry:

"Decision" by Linda M. Lanzi: A poem from Vila's POV as he contemplates leaving the rebel life for a nice, safe, boring planet. Excellent Vila-voice, and, unlike the majority of fan poetry (or even poetry in general, really) it works quite well for me, probably because there's no attempt to force it to rhyme.

"Reflection" by Elizabeth Carleton: Another poem, this one featuring Avon angsting over Anna. Not as good as the Vila one, IMO, but not bad, probably because it doesn't rhyme, either, but does display a pretty good feel for the rhythm of words.

Artwork:

Quite a bit of artwork in here, both illos for specific stories and a few stand-alone pieces. Artwork is by Robin Belyea, Mary D. Bloemker, Patricia Cash & Deborah M. Walsh. Some of it's not really to my taste, and some of it's quite good. There is an "art portfolio" section featuring portraits of several characters with relevant quotes from the show which is nicely done and attractively laid out.

Non-B7 content:

There is also a "Tomorrow People" story in here ("Rift" by Mary D. Bloemker), and the first part of a "Tomorrow People" episode guide, but not being a "Tomorrow People" fan, I can't really comment on those.[13]

Issue 3

front cover of issue #3, silkscreened
back cover of issue #3
a page from "Slippery When Wet," a story by Pat Cash in issue #3. A fan in 2016 wrote: "Sometimes, fanfic contains those precious moments of pure joy. This is one of those times. “Slippery When Wet” by Pat Cash, B7 Complex #3, 1982. And proof that Tarrant-hating is a tradition going all the way back in the day." [14]

B7 Complex 3 is a 1982 collection of 10 stories and is 100 pages long. It has silk screened covers and silkscreened interior art. The back cover is title, ""Earthchild."

The cover artist, Deb Walsh explains:
I always admired the work of Connie Faddis - brilliant artist, writer, and zine editor. Her Interphase zine was legendary, and featured absolutely gorgeous silk-screened art. I never achieved the level of Faddis, but this was a fun project to do. The basic artwork was printed on the card stock, and then I cut two silk screen stencils - one for the silver ink that forms the frame, the zine title, and Jenna's necklace, and the other for the blue of the wind behind her. The theme of the silk-screened art in the zine was the four elements. Jenna was wind, Cally was fire, Dayna was water, and Soolin was earth (and the back cover).[15]
Also from the publisher:
B7 Complex #3 was the most expensive of my zines to do, thanks in large part to the materials needed to silk screen color on the covers and some of the pages. The actual cost was near to $10.00 per oopy, but based on prevailing fannish trends, I sold it for $3.00. I took a bath on the zine, but I figured it wasn't my readers' responsibility to pay for my artistic experiment. [16]

Issue 4

front cover of issue #4
back cover of issue #4

B7 Complex 4 was published in 1982 and contains 77 pages long. It is 35% reduced, offset, and has silkscreened covers and interior art. The fiction is by Bloemker, Callagher, and Hall. The art is by Bloemker, Burnside, Carleton, Harvey, and Walsh.

From the publisher:
With #4, I colored the boys of the Liberator, and published my first issue with sending large numbers of the zine to England for sale. Unfortunately, when I gave permission for art to be used when one of the stories was published in the UK, I didn't realize that the author was planning to publish in the UK simultaneously with the publication of my zine. B7 Complex #4 did not sell well in the UK, and I never got much in the way of money from my agent. [17]

Fiction:

  • Sandy Hall, "A Crush on Avon" (mid S1; A-J) (12 pages)
  • Brenda Callagher, Mask of Janus (late S2; B-hc) (20 pages)
  • Brenda Callagher, Project Aeolis (early S4; Ta-hc) (30 pages)
  • Mary D. Bloemker, Point Of Departure (Avon's 8 universe) (5 pages)

Non Fiction:

  • The staff, "You are receiving this zine because..."
  • Deborah M. Walsh, "Scorpio Rising"
  • The staff, "Orac's key"

Poetry:

  • JoLynn Horvath, "Holiday Carols"
  • "Avon's Christmas Dream" (filk, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)
  • "Holiday for Travis" (f, Winter Wonderland)
  • "Bring a Torch" (f, Bring a Torch Jeannette Isabella)
  • "Renewal!" (f, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen")



Issue 5

front cover of issue #5
back cover of issue #5, Tomorrow People?

B7 Complex 5 was published in 1983 and is 64 pages long. It is 23% reduced. The fiction is by Bursztynski, Hintze, and Paulson. The art is Burnside and Walsh and includes a Sapphire and Steel piece.

From the publisher:
At this point, you can see the recurring theme of my art only on the cover. That was less about having access to other artists - I knew everyone who was doing B7 at the time - and more about having an idea in my head of what I wanted the zine to look like. [18]


Issue 6/7

front cover of issue #6/7
back cover of issue #6/7

B7 Complex 6/7 is a collection of 12 stories and is 148 pages long. It was published in May 1984. It also has a Dr. Who and a Champions story.

In 1984, there was a proposal in Universal Translator #22 for a special supplement for issue #6/7. It was to be called "The Nightwatch Supplement.": "Submissions needed for this 'adults only' issue. Mature fiction only, please."

From the publisher:
This would end up being the last issue of B7 Complex for a couple of years. I still really like this issue - if this had been the last, I'd have been okay with that. [19]
  • Like Rats in a Trap by Brenda Callagher, art by Deb Walsh (5) (also in Airwaves #7 and Airwaves Blake's 7 Special)
  • Gateway by JoLynn Horvath, art by Mary Bloemker and Deb Walsh (23)
  • What is Needed by Crystal Ann Taylor (34)
  • More Luck than Logic by Cathy Lynn Goodwin and Yvonne S. Hintz, art by N.E. Kolar and Deb Walsh (35)
  • Free of You by Crystal Ann Taylor (52)
  • Art Portfolio (53)
  • Playrebel of the Month, art by T.J. Burnside (68)
  • Market Value by Sheila Paulson, art by Walsh (69)
  • Reunion at Terminal by Kathy Hintze, art by Walsh (79)
  • A Dream to Some, a Nightmare to Others by Kathy Hintze, art by Bloemker and Walsh (92)
  • The Devil's Return (Doctor Who) by Mary A. Fall, art by R. Belyea and Walsh (122) (called "Return to Devils End" on Deb Walsh's fiction archive page)
  • Outcome (The Champions) by Patricia Heyes, art by Walsh (143)
  • art by Robin Belyea, Mary Bloemker, T.J. Burnside, Nancy E. Kolar, Linda M. Lanzi, Sheila Paulson, Deb Walsh and Sheila Willis

Issue 8

front cover of issue #8. A fan in 2016 said: "Don’t look at me, I don’t know. Why is Travis pointing at himself with his gun hand? Why the little dragon? Where did Servalan’s eyes go? Why are they in a place filled with wicker and potted plants? All these questions and more will not be answered here. It’s possible there’s a story in there that does explain it, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I did read the one where Avon starts experiencing pregnancy symptoms, and from what else I’ve seen as I flipped through, this fanzine has all the crack I could ever want. Hence why it’s been given a spiffy new notebook cover by myself." [20]
back cover of issue #8

B7 Complex 8 It was published by Pursuit Press and contains 66 pages.

  • The Latser Chronicles: Chapter One by Laurie E. Cohen (The first chapter of a look at the early life of the galaxy’s most talented thief—Pre-First Series) (7 pages)
  • The Ultimate Resurrection Story (The first chapter of ‘Avon’s 8’, reprinted from B7 Complex #3. Avon and the crew of the Liberator get a second chance—Fourth/first series) by Mary D. Bloemker (6 pages)
  • Point Of Departure (Avon discovers a partner in his Dream—or is it a nightmare? Reprinted from B7 Complex #4—First Series) (8 pages)
  • Diverging Pathways (A new installment of Avon’s 8, following Avon and Cally’s attempts to direct the course of their own destinies—First Series) (14 pages)
  • Detour by Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham (A different approach to Blake’s 7 altogether—Second Series) (2 pages) (reprinted in The Bizarro Zine #3)
  • On Approval by Deb Walsh (Another adventure with Avon’s 8, through which support is found in an unexpected quarter—Second Series) (19 pages)
  • The Thought That Counts by Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham (Avon’s illness stems from a surprising but altogether natural source—Second Series) (6 pages)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8

[The Thought That Counts]: This was one of the very first stories Leah and I ever wrote together and is a sort of precursor to our later Bizarro stories. A first or second season story wherein the crew learns a little bit about Auron biology. [21]

Issue 9

front cover of issue #9
back cover of issue #9

B7 Complex 9 was published in August 1986 and contains 80 pages. Summaries below from title page.

From the publisher:
The covers of this issue played on the concept of Avon and Servalan as two sides of the same coin. I used ancient coins of Caesar and Cleopatra as the basis for both images. Most people missed the point, unfortunately, but as an artist, I enjoyed this. [22]
  • Ground Zero, written and illustrated by Deb Walsh (The crew of the Liberator follow clues to a Federation plot against the rebellion, and Travis finds himself facing both an old foe and an old friend - an Avon's 8 story alternate second series.) (3)
  • The Bizarro Zone by Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham, art by Rosenthal. (Malignant influences? Pesky Poltergeists? Ship out of control and computers letting you down? Who ya go gonna call? (A Bizarro Seven story, alternate second series) (35) (reprinted in The Bizarro Zine #2)
  • Bored without Blake: Travis, written and illustrated by Walsh (50)
  • Bored without Blake: Servalan, written and illustrated by Walsh (52)
  • Turning Point by Alex Delicado, art by Pieracinni and Walsh (Following the destruction of the Liberator events travel along a new path for the crew. The future holds old and new enemies and friends alike. (Alternate fourth series) (54)

Issue 10

front cover of issue #10

B7 Complex 10 was published in 1987 and contains 175 pages. The editorial is by Deb Walsh and Laurie Cohen. The art is by Walsh. There are cartoons by Celeste Hotaling and Leah Rosenthal.

From the publisher:
One of my favorite issues, the theme was Travis and Blake as Yin and Yang. Looking back at this particular issue, I feel that my abilities as an illustrator were at their peak. Some 10+ years later, I was flipping through this issue, and i was really impressed with the quality of art. I checked the signature and was quite surprised to find my own. [23]
  • Wanted by Jenny Sawyer (S2; The Not-Ready-for-Primetime Seven universe; C/Tr; humor)
  • Deborah M. Walsh, "Time is a Weapon" (S2; Avon's 8 universe)
  • Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham, "Throwing It All Away" (S2; Bizarro Seven universe; B-Tr; humor) (reprinted in The Bizarro Zine #3)
  • Laurie Cohen, "The Burden of Proof" (alt-S2; B-Tr)
  • You Are Recieving This Zine Because


Issue 11

B7 Complex 11 was published in May 1987 and contains 98 pages. It has a front cover of Avon by Leah Rosenthal. Artwork by Leah Rosenthal, Celeste Hotaling, and Deb Walsh.

cover of issue #11
From the publisher:
This was a major milestone, using another artist's work on the cover. I really like this piece - Leah was better known for her cartoon style at the time, so it was nice to showcase her more traditional approach. And clearly, she nailed it. [24]
  • No Safe Harbor by Jean Graham (S5; Mirage 1) (reprinted in Mirage)
  • Amy Whiteneck, "A Sense of Humor" (S1)
  • Jill Grundfest, "Dreaming Menace" (S1)
  • J. Holly Horsman, "Zen and the Art of Computer Maintenance" (S1)
  • Kim Wigmore, "Star One, Blake Zero" (S2; humor)
  • Deborah M. Walsh, "Bored without Blake" (S3; humor)
  • Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham, "Down and Out" (S5; B/Se; A-hc, continued in issue #16 with "Hawkwind," both "Down and Out" and "Hawkwind" were revised and published in 1998 as Down and Out)
  • Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham, "Mutual Policy" (S5; A-B; humor) (also in The Chronicles #34 and The Bizarro Zine #4)
  • Ann Reckner, "Elegy" (A/Anna) (poem)
  • Garrett Fitzgerald, "Incalculable" (poem)
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Behind This Eye" (filk, Behind Blue Eyes)

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 12

[Down and Out]: As you like Blake on GP, have you read "Down and Out" by Wortham & Rosenthal in B7 COMPLEX #11? It begins after GP, when Servalan takes a recovered Blake and Avon, whose injuries have him in an onboard cryo unit, in a pursuit ship to return to Earth in triumph - though by a very surreptitious route. The ship crashes on an undeveloped world. She has a broken arm and the crew is dead. She grimly realizes she must awaken Blake, who is strapped down, as she'll need help in surviving until, if ever, rescue arrives. [25]
[Down and Out]: "Down and Out" in B7 Complex #11 was one of those hidden classics that leaped right off the page. Avon paralyzed, Blake mean, tough and deadly with a gun with Servalan as his huntress mate . . ay carumba! Wortham and Rosenthal know how to put on the Blake [26]
[Down and Out]:I've read and enjoyed "Down and Out" by Wortham & Rosenthal (in B7 Complex 11). That strikes me as a sinister but believable Blake. There's a companion story ("Hawkwind," in B7 Complex 16) about the concurrent adventures of Jenna and Vila, and I've heard that the authors plan eventually to write a third story and publish all of them together. [27]

Issue 12

B7 Complex 12 was published in July 1987 and contains 152 pages.

cover of issue #12, Deb Walsh

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 12

'"A nightmare." Avon's voice was incredulous. Even now, he could hardly believe that it was not in fact true, that he had not spent four years of his life among mental defectives he detested and abhorred, waging a war he had no interest in whatsoever....' It takes real style to pull this one off -- but believe it or not, 'Fresh Start' manages it. *In* character. *With* humour. And in the follow-up story, contributed by the illustrator, we even get to find out the long-term effects on the Federation!

8/10 for the stories as a pair

'Sweet Savage Soma' I had encountered before, in the Bizarro 3 zine, though I imagine this was its first appearance in print. It's still one of the better Bizarro stories. Here, Jenna reveals an unexpected taste for cheap romantic fiction, for reasons that become obvious, and Vila turns out to know a little more about it than anyone realises....

8/10

'One Can Make a Difference' is a brave experiment that doesn't quite come off. Blake attempts to get three suspicious rebel factions to work together; while the author sets out to create a selection of memorable original characters to work alongside the regulars, and simultaneously explore the practicalities of fomenting revolution beyond simply blowing things up.

Only Andrea, the enthusiastic but somewhat romantic young revolutionary, really comes across as an individual, however. Her male counterparts are ultimately fairly indistinguishable, and the plot hinges after all on blowing something up. The other problem is a slight tendency towards long explanatory digressions in the writing. There's nothing wrong as such with following your characters' train of thought, but there is more than one place in this story where it comes across as mere space-filling, or the author taking over to spell out her plot by numbers, followed by an awkward transition back to the action.

Like its illustrations, 'One Can Make a Difference' is a gallant attempt at doing something original for once, which isn't quite backed up by the necessary technical skill.

6/10

'An Evening Out can be a Terrible Thing' takes a light-hearted look at the consequences of official hospitality. In other words, it's an excuse to get Avon very, very drunk and see what comes out -- which could be a cue for maudlin disaster, but fortunately is treated here with a rather lighter touch. '"The crashes stopped." "That was a battle, Avon...."'

8/10

Sadly the same cannot be said for 'Skip to my Loo'. This is a one-joke story that milks its infantile humour for rather more than it's worth -- and, moreover, the whole thing appears to hinge on an American cultural confusion between 'lavatory' and 'bathroom'. It's not entirely unfunny, but quickly outlives its welcome.

4/10

'Bitter Wine', based around the fan-beloved concept of a secret telepathic link between Cally and Avon, could have been excruciatingly self-indulgent. But, mercifully, the author resists the temptation to wallow in hurt/comfort cliché and allows both characters to retain their dignity and independence. The result is a bleaker but more convincing story: he who drinks the bitter wine of revenge must drink alone.

7/10

'The Wizard must Die'

It is perhaps unfair to write off the 'mediaeval crossover' genre as a fan-based invention, since at least two broadcast episodes had the crew clashing with pre-industrial superstition. However, the concept of a deliberate theme-park planet doesn't really seem to fit into the bleak Federation universe, and while the detective-style plot is intricate enough, it comes across as a rushed afterthought to the 'let's dress up in mediaeval clothes' element. It also suffers from somewhat clumsy dialogue and description: 'Tarrant had been pacing the flight deck as he spoke, now he sat down next to the pretty brunette Auron, and looked at her concerned expression.'

A more experienced author might have carried this story off more successfully.

6/10

In 'Breaking Point', Vila teaches Tarrant a much-needed lesson... and if only it had stopped there, this story would have been twice as effective! Sadly, we are then treated to Vila's delusions of grandeur, in the form of an ill-written dream sequence, followed by Vila's revenge on the rest of the crew. I'm not quite sure if this is supposed to be humour, or if it's simply bad characterisation. Either way, it's a limp twist to a story that was perfectly good before it had one.

5/10

'The Bishop' is basically a nice little character piece in Vila's voice without a lot of plot implications, although the end is a touch darker. Short, but doesn't attempt to be over-ambitious.

8/10

The trouble with crossovers like 'Discoveries' is that, instead of doubling the potential readership to fans of both worlds, they end up restricting their appeal to the small number who are familiar with both. In this case, it's a Robin Hood crossover -- but a televised Robin Hood that clearly differs from any variant of the legend I know.

I'm not particularly happy with this version of Robin, nor, as I've mentioned, with mediaeval crossovers in general. The most potentially interesting part of the story is when Soolin falls in with the villain, Guy of Gisburne, and takes him aback by totally failing to behave as expected of a kidnapped maiden; judging by the advertisement for "Guy's Gang" that follows, I suspect this may be because the author has a /tendre/ for the individual in question! Otherwise, to someone who isn't familiar with the series, all the character-chewing angst is simply tedious; when we are told that Avon 'wanted to get back to a rational universe in which cause and effect worked scientifically', I'm afraid I found myself in absolute agreement with him.

5/10

In 'Many Happy Returns', the events of Gauda Prime are all a set-up -- for Avon's birthday. Admittedly, that backfires, as it were.... Very brief; mildly amusing.

6/10

But finally... oh dear, dear. 'Twice the Fool', sadly, sets off practically every fan-fiction danger signal I know. The author has resurrected Jenna, Cally, Blake and the /Liberator/ post-Gauda Prime, done an 'Avon-shot-the-clone', invoked Del Grant for a cathartic confrontation with Avon, brought in a telepathic entity to work with Cally, and had the entire crew forgiving each other (and Avon) at enormous emotional length. What's worse is that it's badly written to boot: '"It's all right, Vila," Blake comforted. "You're safe now. Cally is too. Avon...." He didn't know what to think about Avon.'

This is the sort of story that used to give fan-fiction a bad name. The author should have tried something more in scale with her talents. It's not outstandingly awful, but it doesn't come anywhere near to justifying its length, let alone its inclusion in this zine. Avoid.

3/10

Poetry:

'Orbit Zero', by Pat Nussmann, is the only poem worthy of note in this collection (although it's hard to judge lyrics when you don't know the tunes in question). The earlier 'Enmity' shoots itself in the foot at the very start by attempting to rhyme 'away' with 'quay', and suffers from strained rhymes thereafter; but 'Orbit Zero' demonstrates for once a really effective use of rhyme and repetition. Most fan poetry has more gush than bite. This one is notable in that it's simple and it works.

Overall:

This zine starts out well, but doesn't fulfil its promise. The cover art is unadventurous but good; the interior illustrations are far from outstanding. There is some attempt to venture beyond the standard head-shots, but without a photograph to model from, the resulting figures are often distorted or out of proportion.

There are a number of good short stories, but I found too many of the long ones disappointing. The finale, occupying a third of the entire zine length, has been allotted to the weakest story in the collection -- not much of a selling point! Lack of experience among the first-time contributors also shows.

Almost twenty years on, much of this zine is of largely historical interest.[28]

Issue 13

front cover of issue #13

B7 Complex 13 was published in January 1988 and contains 167 pages.

From the publisher:
For years, I was convinced that the backcover of this issue was the back of everyone's heads, but apparently that was just the original concept, not what I ultimately drew. This was a fun piece, and the first pencil drawing of mine to appear on a cover. [29]
  • front cover by Deb Walsh "Triptych I"
  • Editorial (2)

First Series:

  • The Wild Child's Guide to the Kiss of Death, written and art by Celeste Hotaling (3)
  • Legend, poem by Mary Robertson (10)

Second Series:

  • Meeting Point by Vickie McManus, art by Jean Kramer. (A change of venue for an historic meeting could have altered the course of destiny.) 11)
  • Moonlighting by Jeff Morris, art by Celeste Hotaling (When Blake wants to explore the ship, Jenna's... other activities come to light.) (14)
  • Soma This, Soma That by April Giordano and Mary Gerstner (When an Auron hits the bottle, the crew hits the deck.) (18)

Third Series:

  • Dance Hall Daze by Julie A. Novak (a Black and White Blake's 7 story) (When Servalan needs an escort for an important gala, her eyes turn towar the Liberator and a certain computer technician.) (22)
  • Pieta, poem by Jacqueline Taero (36)
  • Dark Mirror, poem by Pat Nussman (37)
  • Awakening, poem by Jacqueline Taero (38)
  • Lady Anna, filk by Kim Wigmore (38)
  • Cally's Lament, pome by Jacqueline (39)
  • Link by Cindy Henry, art by Jean Kramer (In the hours after their abandonment on Terminal, Cally reaches for decisions and comfort.) (40)

Fourth Series:

  • Grace of Silence, poem by Jacqueline Taero (44)
  • Death's Company by Jean L. Stevenson (In the rubble of the Terminal base, Avon bids farewell to a treasured companion.) (45)
  • Intruder by Mary Robertson (Thanks to another unexpected inhabitant of Xenon base, Avon has a little trouble settling in.) (47)
  • Ghosts by Jeanne DeVore, art by Sheila Paulson (On an abortive mission, Avon gets an opportunity to lay old ghosts to rest.) (50)
  • The Matchmaker by Celeste Hotaling (ORAC's instinct for survival leads to some intriguing possibilities.) (61)
  • Relatively Speaking by Sheila Paulson, art by Walsh, alternate universe, sequel to "Paternity Suite," published in Return of the Seven #2 (Events on Malodaar take a different turn when Egrorian informs Avon of a startling piece of information from his prize.) (63)
  • Split Fountain by Kim Wigmore, art by Susann Molnar, multiple crossover (An accident in time and an interfering Time Lord could rewrite the present.) (81)
  • Personal Statement by Deb Walsh (91)
  • Shadows by Mary Gerstner (Avons relies heavily on the support of an old friend to see him through the bad times.) (92)

Post-Gauda Prime:

  • Shattered Phoenix by Emma Abraham, art by Walsh (Episodes 1 and 2 of a Fifth Series: see Time Distort #2 for Episodes 3 and 4, "An End and a Beginning") (Nothing is as it seems for Commissioner Sleer on Gauda Prime.) (95)
  • If This Be Madness by Sue Wells, art by Paulson (Avon has laid plans against the day when he is Sleer's captive. That day has come.) (111)
  • Condor by Carole Bede, art by J. Arlene Gogan (Help escaping Gauda Prime comes from unexpected quarter, but the price of freedom may be too great for Soolin to pay.) (116)
  • Mirage by Jean Graham (In this sequel to "No Safe Harbor" in issue #11, and the second in a new Fifth Series. Avon's search for his missing compatriots brings him up against enemies new and old, with the help coming from an unexpected quarter.) (139) (reprinted in Mirage)
  • Remembrance by Sophia R. Mulvey, art by Susann Molnar (Several years after Gauda Prime, a mysterious agent is purchasing the freedom of the Scorpio's survivors.) (155)
  • Messages from our sponsors (168)
  • You are receiving this zine because (180)

Issue 14

front cover of issue #14 -- from the publisher: "Another lovely piece by N.E. Kolar, but Blake looks sad. He must realize that B7 Complex only has two more issues before it closes down." [30]
back cover of issue #14
A fan in 2016 said: "Yes, you are seeing this. Someone, back in the day, decided to smash two 1978 properties together. In this case, it was Blake’s 7 and Elfquest, and the someone in question was Holly Hutchison (whom you will remember from the License to Steal poster in Banzine! 1.) And thus the readers of B7 Complex #14 were treated to ElfSeven: A New Way. Yes, they are wolfriders. Zen was of the Sun Folk, and Servalan killed him and imprisoned his mind in the body of a wolf (now bonded to Blake.) The whole concept is ridiculous. And it is awesome, and I love it, and I want this to be a 12 volume epic sitting on my shelf next to my ElfQuest books. Thanks, Holly Hutchison! Every time I see your stuff, I’m made deliriously happy. Art and Story is by Holly Hutchison, “with the help of Kimberly Kindya and Vickie McManus.”" [31]

B7 Complex 14 was published in January 1988 and contains 120 pages. The front cover artist is Nancy E. Kolar. The back cover artist is SP.

First Series:

  • Companions for My Death by Rebecca Reeves, art by Walsh (Alone on Saurian Major, Cally struggles to rekindle the will to live) (3)
  • After the Amagon Attempt by Sue Wells (Life on the Liberator after the Amagons is complicated by a certain neckband... around Vila's neck) (9)
  • Fire Dance, poem by Mary Robertson (11)
  • I Enjoy Being a Thief, filk by Mary Robertson (11)
  • Blake's Lament, filk by Mary Robertson (12)

Second Series

  • Safer Subjects by Heather Saavedra (Dialogue on the edge of disaster) (14)
  • I Met a Boy Named Avon, filk by Tyndara Meffe and Joyce Riffle (16)
  • Travis's Lament, filk by Julie A. Nowak (17)
  • Elf Seven: A New Way (a new art-and-story saga blending Blake's 7 and Elfquest) by Holly Hutchinson, Kim Kindyas and Vickie McManus (18)
  • The Twelve Days of Christmas, filk by Kathy Coy and Cindy Henry (45)
  • It's a Wonderful Life? by Sophia R. Mulvey, art by Walsh (Vila's attempt to lift the spirits of the crew backfires, but the alternative could be worse.) (48)
  • Carol on the Liberator, filk by Mary Robertson (61)

Third Series:

  • Bartender by Pam London (Avon has made a threat to ORAC once too often and VIla takes him at his word.) (63)
  • Harbinger, poem by Liz S. (62)

Fourth Series

  • White Wedding by Meg Atkinson, art by Deb Walsh (An invitation to the wedding reveals the truth at last.) (72)

Fifth Series

  • Exiles by Jean Graham (Mirage 3) (reprinted in Mirage)

Issue 15

front cover of issue #15, Laural Virgil -- from the publisher: "It was such a thrill to have Laura's art on the cover of my zine - she remains one of my favorite artists and one of my favorite people in fandom." [32]

B7 Complex 15 was published in 1988 and is 164 pages long.

  • I Dig British Television by Evelyn Adrian and Linda Evans (filk) (2)

Pre-First Series:

  • Starfall by Lisa Millraney (3)

First Series:

  • Galactic Monotony by Cindy Henry (8)
  • No Hurry, poem by Alyns Lawchilde, art by Lynne Witten (10)
  • The Fine Art of Persuasion by Jeff Morris (11)
  • Devious Devices by Kathy Coy (12)
  • Practically an Epilogue by Kathy Coy (19)

Second Series:

  • Keeping a Straight Face by Celeste Hotaling (23)
  • More Luck than Skill by April Giordano (27)
  • One Star Lost by Sue Wells, art by Wilma Douglas (28)

Third Series:

  • B7 Delta by Pam London (sequel to "Bartender" in issue #14) (35)
  • Reflections: The Mirror's Image by Linda Knights (37)
  • Elegy, poem by Alyns Lawchilde (42)
  • Lord of the Dance by Tyndara Meffe and Joyce Riffle, art by Deb Walsh (from the "Red Queen" universe, an authorized sequel to Strategies, a Federation Press Corps) (43)

Fourth Series:

  • The Wild Child's Guide to the Fourth Series, written and illustrated by Celeste Hotaling (56)
  • A Most Curious Conversation by L.A. Carr, a crossover with Max Headroom (62)
  • Forgiveness by Jeanne DeVore (64)
  • In Search Of by Mary Gerstner and April Giordano, art by Gerstner (66)
  • Hope for a New Tomorrow by Sophia Mulvey, art by Deb Walsh (73)

Post-Gauda Prime:

Issue 16

front cover of issue #16, Laura Virgil
back cover of issue #16

B7 Complex 16 was published in July 1988 and is 166 pages long.

The zine's editorial:
This zine is dedicated with thanks and affection to my friends, contributors and supportive readers, without who it would have been unbearable drudgery. The issues of B7 Complex that will never be published are dedicated to the bootleggers (those who sell for profit, and those who copy because they're too cheap to pay the price of the zine legitimately), the whiners ("I sent you money for my zines two weeks ago and I haven't got them yet! I'm going to report you!"), and the assholes ("I sent you a story five weeks ago, and I don't care if you advertise 6 to 8 weeks, where's my reply?" -- this following closing ceremonies of a con on which I was a co-chairperson...) and "What do you mean, you want to change a comma in my perfect story" -- "perfect" stories are usually total crap in Blake's 7 fandom, for making B7 fandom an unpleasant place to be after 7 long years of hard work and a lot of hard-earned pleasure. It's been real.
From the publisher's website, circa 2010:
By this time, I'd been embroiled in a fight with a pair of fans from the West Coast who were bootlegging zines and selling them in quantities as "used" at conventions up and down the West Coast. I remember one fellow zined telling me that the easiest way to demonstrate that this was a lie was the condition of the binding on the zines - if the zine was stapled and the staples showed no sign of corrosion (from salt in the air), there was no way the zine was used. These people were ripping editors off at an alarming rate, but what was even more alarming was that fans didn't care. They just wanted the zine now. Unfortunately, if everyone was buying bootlegged zines from these ripoff artists, that meant they weren't buying them from the people who'd published them. In my case, that meant I didn't make back what I put into the zines, and a big chunk of the printer bill came out of my salary - I had to work overtime to pay for the zine. So, I shut the press down. I didn't mind losing money on a zine when everyone played fair, but when someone else made money based on my hard work, and I had to work overtime to make up the difference? The simplest way to avoid being bootlegged is to not publish at all, and so I closed down Pursuit Press. [33]
  • Spectres by Jean Graham (S5; Mirage 5) (reprinted in Mirage)
  • Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham, "Hernia" (S2; Bizarro 7 universe; Robin of Sherwood crossover; humor) (reprinted in The Bizarro Zine #4)
  • Vickie McManus/Alicia Ann Fox (oracne), "Afterthoughts" (alt-S3)
  • Alicia Ann Fox, "Link" (alt-S3; A-B)
  • Sheila Paulson, "Thanatos" (S5; reprinted from Orbit #9)
  • Laura Virgil, "Crossfire" (S5)
  • Irene Stubbs, "Star of Morning" (S5)
  • Leah Rosenthal and Ann Wortham, "Hawkwind" (S5; "simul-quel" to Down and Out in B7 Complex #11; J/ocm, J/V, both "Down and Out" and "Hawkwind" were revised and published in 1998 as Down and Out)
  • Thomas N. Beck, "Blessed Be the Memory" (S5)
  • Elizabeth Jarvis, "Fatal Hesitation" (S5)
  • Deborah M. Walsh, "No Exit" (S5)

Poetry:

  • Elizabeth Jarvis, "Malodaar Regrets"
  • Elizabeth Jarvis, "When That Light Fails"
  • Elizabeth Jarvis, "Inheritor"
  • Elizabeth Jarvis, "Synopsis of Death"

Art: Laura Virgil, Leah Rosenthal, Wilma Douglas, Deborah M. Walsh

References

  1. from Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #4
  2. comment by kslangley at What was your first fandom?, August 28, 2016
  3. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  4. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  5. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  6. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  7. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  8. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  9. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  10. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  11. from Universal Translator #15
  12. zines: Probability Square, and B7 Complex 1, aralias, March 26, 2017
  13. review by Betty Ragan
  14. bruinhilda.tumblr, May 7, 2016
  15. Deb Walsh's Zine Cover Gallery
  16. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  17. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  18. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  19. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  20. bruinhilda.tumblr, April 3, 2016
  21. Ashton Press, 1998
  22. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  23. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  24. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  25. from Rallying Call #15 (1995)
  26. from Rallying Call #16 (1996)
  27. from Rallying Call #16 (1996)
  28. review by Harriet Baxley
  29. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  30. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  31. bruinhilda.tumblr, June 11, 2016
  32. About B7 Complex, Archived version.
  33. About B7 Complex, Archived version.