Before & After
|Title:||Before & After|
|Publisher:||Merry Men Press|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
According to the publisher, "all endings are upbeat."
At the present time (since a couple of stories didn't make it in time) there will be another issue, generally planned at present for the end of the year. So if you've ever had a thought about writing or drawing or whatever (and who hasn't?) now's the time to get busy and send for guidelines or just send the work and take a chance.
LOC's. Letter Of Comments — be they yeah or nay, the authors need to hear. I do send them on so your efforts won't be falling into a black hole.
Several people to thank; Wendy Rathbone for her wonderful zine Resistance, and its inspiration, you know who for his sexy snarl, you know who for his curly locks, Kay Wells for the spectacular art (that cover went in 2 seconds at Cali Con), Chris Soto for the color Avon (still for sale by the way), Adrian for his sexy 'lil Avon, Cybel Harper for her incredible multi-talent, all the contributors (obviously) and most of all, the long suffering Janet for her typing in a fandom she knows nothing about.I won't insult you with a disclaimer since the whole thing is underground at best. So enjoy!
- Proces Verbal, fiction by Shoshanna (4)
- Only You, poem by Cybel Harper (8)
- Fatal Flaw, poem by Sean Bishop (9)
- Tiger, Tiger, poem by Lillian Dwan (11)
- Not Alone, fiction by Cybel Harper
- Dark Nobility, poem by Sean Bishop (19)
- Favors Returned, fiction by Lilith (20)
- The Search, fiction by Venus Callipyge (74)
- Home Fire, poem by Cybel Harper (75)
- Fanatics, fiction by Bryn Lantry (76)
- Sweet Flesh, poem by Judith Ellison (94)
- Brand of Logic, poem by Lillian Dwan (95)
- Trust Me, fiction by H.R. Radei (96)
- Dark Nightwatch, poem by Bryn Lantry (104)
- Apologia, poem by Cybel Harper (105)
- White Knight, poem by Robin Hood (107)
- Conditional Surrender, fiction by Sarah B. Leonard (108)
- Lifting the Veil, poem by Judith Ellison (131)
- Gentle Genius, fiction by Bryn Lantry (132)
- Foot Steps, fiction by Jan Serron (136)
- Smile for Me, poem by Cybel Harper (145)
- Sweet Survivor, fiction by Sue Cameron (146)
- First Half, poem by Sue Cameron (156)
- The Other Half of the War, poem by Bryn Lantry (157)
Reactions and Reviews
See reactions and reviews for Fanatics.
[zine]: Eh. It was just a one off, and the editor required happy endings for Blake and Avon. Someone needed to explain a Gauda Prime to that editor. What can I say, I bought if for the xBryn Lantry story, Fanatics. Would someone kind editor be nice, and collect all this woman's B7 fic in one zine? 
*B*efore and *A*fter
I've examined this zine as best I know how, and the quality of the art reprints, the text, binding and page numbers all indicate that it is an original. But the editorial was not signed, there is no address for inquiries (and no suspicious pages missing), and no date. So I don't know who did it or when.
It is a collection of stories, art and poems. I'll just mention a couple of the stories.
'Favors Returned', Lilith, is a long, 'hoky-poky' story (you remember, 'you put your left foot in, you put you left foot out, you do the hoky-poky and you turn yourself about'). The sexual encounters are intricately choreographed, so that if you wished, you and a partner could emulate all the positions. The 'plot' includes an aphrodisiac given to Avon that would make him love the first person he sees, which turns out to be Blake instead of Servalan (of course) and even after Orac's treatments he decides Blake's ok. This is told in flashback. The story opens with Avon trying tactile response therapy to break Blake out of a nightmare. Blake is inarticulate thru much of it. They are very nice to each other, and it has a happy ending. Awfully sweet.
Conditional Surrender, Sarah B. Leonard. Blake rapes Avon, and doesn't enjoy it. Avon is mostly inarticulate, and enjoys tying Blake down and torturing him. Little character developement, too much detail, not enough angst. Blake forgives Avon, and begins to 'tame' the speechless wild animal. Bleh.And one gem, by Bryn Lantry, 'Fanatics'. Lantry does something with language and characterization that really works for me. The dialog is there, the portrayal is believable, the participants are handled with dignity and made multi-dimensional. B & A are marooned on a deserted planet, some five weeks after Cygnus Alpha. They find desire and need, no little hurt, and no promises. I don't need happy endings, but I do want stories that make sense, and this one does, even with a more-or-less happy end - no, beginning. Worth the price of the zine? Maybe, maybe not. But certainly worthwhile on its own. 
[zine]:I like a wide variety of interpretation, I want the action and the characters to be logical and consistent with the universe (open to wonderful debates, I know!). I read a zine recently in which most of the stories were very annoying; later found out that it is by a Dreck fanzine publisher who had some regular Dreck writers write stories for B7, knowing nothing about it. It showed. Blake and Avon as 'inarticulate'?!" (Oh, [N] that was the zine where Blake rapes Avon and doesn't enjoy it, and then Avon tortures and sexually assaults a tied down Blake and does enjoy it. Kinda a rape Blake scene. The zine is Before and After.) 
Another zine that has almost no existing review. What we have is: Eh. It was just a one off, which is not very inspiring. Alas, B&A probably deserves that 'eh'. It's almost entirely not very good. The Bryn Lantry fic 'Gentle Genius' is now sort of available online with a different name, a different ending, and an author's note that claims the fic was heavily and wrongly edited by the publisher. This claim seems to be borne out, and is disappointing. The AO3 version doesn't make tonnes of sense, but the B&A version makes no sense. From what has been published in the zine as a whole it's clear a lot of these fics needed heavy editing (I'll quote some particularly revealing passages), but .... they don't seem to be any better for it, if it did happen! Amongst various non-characterisation, and purple prose, we even have simple errors like Vila spelled consistently with two Ls - Villa - throughout.
Interestingly this zine is published about the same time as the first 'Fire & Ice', the all B/A zine series. Was there something in the air at this point? Everyone thought 'I'm sick of all this A/V! Let's publish a one pairing zine?' It may be that this is in fact the first all B/A zine - it looks a few years older than F&I, and nobody is quite sure about the exact date it came out. Nova lists it as c1991, as does Fanlore, but Lantry's AO3 listings of 'Fanatics' and 'Gentle Genius' suggests c1989 instead. I would be inclined to go with the earlier date personally, just because of the print and fic quality.
That 'eh' review suggests the editor asked on for happy endings - but there are few here I think are a bit sad (why can nobody stick to a theme??)
Shoshonna, 'Proces Verbal’: Quite a nice external view of the relationship, told through Vila's dictaphone recordings. It's light, but I enjoyed it.
Cybel Harper, ‘Not Alone.’: This first person Blake fic is a bit ... easy. Things happen quite quickly without much motivation it seems, but... having said that very mean stuff about the fic, I quite like this one. It's very readable, and Blake and Avon try to discomfort each other by showing too much thigh etc, which is cute.
It's accompanied by one of the most explicit pieces of artwork I have seen in this fandom - in that it shows Avon very vulnerably from behind, with Blake holding him down. There's less penis in this than in other pieces of artwork, but you rarely get to see anus.
Lilith, ‘Favors Returned.’: This is unfortunately one of the worst in the zine. There's definitely an interesting story in here - as we learn in the beginning that our heroes are in an established relationship because (off screen) Servalan drugged Avon to fall in love with whoever came through the door - it was Blake, not her, and even once it wore off Avon wanted to stay with Blake. I want to read that story! (It may be involved in some flashbacks later - I stopped reading after a while). Instead what we get is a very long meandering fic where Blake has nightmares, Avon comforts him, they have some bitey (and yet negotiated) sex, then they have shower sex where Blake calls Avon master, then more stuff happens, and more stuff, and more stuff. Avon calls him 'Roj' throughout - which is a symbol of how uncharacterised it is in general. Meanwhile the narrative calls Avon 'the computer ace', repeatedly (Blake is generally 'the big man' or 'the rebel leader').
Then there's some nice art of the two of them in Pressure Point, across a double page spread. Actually the art in this is pretty good in general. There's a nice Leah Rosenthal Avon+Blake+Tiger that's going on my jaguars pinboard.
Venus Callipyge, ‘The Search.’: I like this one, though it is flawed. Avon and Vila want to steal a map from Blake's room - he returns! So Avon has the cunning idea of distracting Blake with sex to allow Vila to escape (which he doesn't! He just stays under the bed). Not clear what either of them feel at the end (or what Avon feels about Blake generally), and therefore what it all meant. But it's fun and silly. Blake is incorrectly described as having a hairy chest, although a later (worse) fic corrects this.
Bryn Lantry, ‘Fanatics.’: I really like Fanatics. Very nicely written, very interesting and plausible characterisation of Avon, and very kind and also interesting characterisation of a Blake who is strong and can appear unruffled, but isn't. It plays out nicely. Set interestingly early in canon too - you don't get many fics that pair them up before The Web! This fic does not deserve to be in this zine.
H. R. Radei, ‘Trust Me.’: More Avon can't admit he is interested stuff (if this zine is from 1989, I guess it's helping set a trend, rather than following one, though). Blake kissed him, and Avon liked it! Oh the shame. Like 'Not Alone' this is also, first person Blake POV, which is fairly unusual, so extra unusual that it's done twice. Has a pretty bad first line/first two lines (which just to confuse the matter is in third person): A weakness assaults the leader waiting, a sensation one would think he would have grown conditioned to but hasn't. He'd fought for so long against the brutality of the surrounding cold reality that the open, hurt gaze, so unusually sweet, so unguarded, almost innocent, easily brushed aside any pretence of disinterest.... The other waited. It does improve after that.
Sarah B. Leonard, ‘Conditional Surrender.’: Framed by Blake's encounter with Zil and her words about fearing to be alone/the joining being dangerous (which is not a bad framing device, given that Trial is all about Blake and his psychological state) we work out concerns that again will become familiar to readers of this pairing later. Blake kisses Avon, who sort of goes with it, but then Blake ends up raping him. Avon insists Blake submit to him to make up for this, but engineers a situation where Blake can escape in the hope that Blake will rape him again. The submission stuff is semi interesting (if you like that sort of thing) but with the Zil stuff it's all too much different and confusing thematic stuff.
Bryn Lantry, ‘Gentle Genius.’: As discussed, the zine version is significantly different to the version online. Re-reading them both together, I came to like the overall impression of the fic better. I don't think either version works really, but perhaps if the two were combined you'd get Blake's interior monologue from 'Gentle Genius' which helps explain his change of mind (from pushing Avon away, to instigating a second encounter) and his response to Avon melodramatically and self-hatingly describing his actions as rape: "I call it seduction, myself, and you might have come to see me afterwards", which again helps make sense of what happened - for Blake it was a bit awkward, but them Avon really loused it up by giving him the silent treatment afterwards and making it weird-er. Then from 'Evil Genius' you have a much longer (better) down-on-a-planet re-seduction from Blake, whereas in 'Gentle Genius' I have little idea what's happening, and then it's over. Neither really work alone (a metaphor perhaps for our heroes), and alas - 'Gentle Genius' seems only to be available in this zine, which I can't in good conscience suggest you track down.
Jan Serron, ‘Footsteps.’: This fic uses Jenna being raped in front of Blake, and how guilty Blake feels about this, to bring him together with Avon. It's difficult to get past that premise. Also - some fantastically purple sex: Avon's gasp allowed the slick intruder entrance to the soft cavern and Blake plundered the hidden treasures found. Tasting and prospecting the mine of wealth, he catalogued each prize with his body's reaction. And react it did, into full arousal. Again, Avon calls him 'Roj'. Meanwhile the narrative goes mainly with the 'bigger man', and at Avon is described as 'the thinner man', which is fair but rather harsh! Isn't this supposed to be a sexy fic?Sue Cameron, 'Sweet Survivor.': Another one I didn't read - it starts with two first person sections from each of our heroes. Avon's includes the phrase "[Blake] smiles with that gentle, humorous softening of his face that melts my insides and makes me need to sit down so I don't wet my pants." o_0 While Blake's includes the phrase "[Avon would] cut me down to scant inches with that nasty tongue of his. That sharp tongue that I'd like to swallow whole..." I think I can see what both of these phrases are going for (come just looking at him/have that tongue inside me), but really. From 'wet my pants' you can see that this zine also needs a Britpicker, like Blake needs free men to be able to think and speak.