Blakes Doubles

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Title: Blake's Doubles
Publisher: Ashton Press
Editor(s): Ann Wortham
Date(s): 1988-
Series?: yes
Medium: fanzine
Genre: gen
Fandom: Blake's 7
External Links: Ashton Press B7 page
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Blake's Doubles is a gen anthology series. Each issue contains two back-to-back novellas or novels with two separate covers.

flyer for issue #1

Four issues were published.

Issue 1 ("The Flotsam Chronicles" and "Out of the Night")

Blake's Doubles 1 was published in 1988 and has 97 pages. It contains "The Flotsam Chronicles" and "Out of the Night."

Issue 1: The Flotsam Chronicles

“The Flotsam Chronicles” is by Phyllis Milby and Valerie Dickinson.

It was illustrated by Theresa Buffaloe and the cover is by Leah Rosenthal.

cover of issue #1, "Flotsam" art by Leah Rosenthal
Gauda Prime was a fearsome planet as far as Vila was concerned, and when even the trees turned against him, he knew that it was long past time to leave. But where to go following the monumental disaster that had befallen the Scorpio's crew there on G.P.? The salvage ship Delta Horizon provides the perfect answer when he and Tarrant are forced to stow away and learn that the ship's captain is in desperate need of help. Never one to turn away from someone in need (especially when they were desperately in need of some help themselves!) Tarrant and Vila "persuade" the captain to take them on as partners. Of course, when could those two ever stay out of trouble for long? And what of the rest of Scorpio's crew..not to mention Sleer?

Issue 1:Out of the Night

“Out of the Night” is by Annita K. Smith. It was illustrated by Celeste Hotaling and the cover is by Laura Virgil.

Two sequels to this story, "Precious Vengeance" and "The Treasure Outside the Door", were published in Southern Seven #8.

cover of issue #1, "Out of the Night"
Only Avon and Vila seem to have survived Gauda Prime, and they soon learn that Servalan has “plans” for them. A desperate bid for freedom goes awry and, although they escape, Vila is mortally wounded. With only the option of returning to Gauda Prime left to him, Avon decides to stay with their failing ship as the air slowly runs out and Vila bleeds to death...but rescue comes from a most unexpected quarter. And, in the end, not all was as it seemed at Gauda Prime and other places, as well. Could it be, by some trick Fate, that Blake~and the others—survived Gauda Prime, after all?

Issue 2 ("The Log of the Hellhound Book Four" and "Half-Life")

flyer for issue #2
cover of issue #2, "The Log of the Hellhound" (book 4) by Suzan Lovett

Blake's Doubles 2 was published in 1989.

Issue 2: The Log of the Hellhound Book IV

“The Log of the Hellhound, Book IV” contains 73 pages. It is by Katrina Larkin & Suzanne Tilley.

The artwork is by Gayle F, Leah Rosenthal, Theresa Buffaloe, Katrina Larkin, Suzan Lovett, and Laura Virgil.

The story of the Hellhound continues as Blake’s crew find an abandoned Raldeeni ship, contend with plagues and Federation attacks, and continue to confront ghosts from their pasts.

Issue 2: Half-Life

“Half-Life” contains 46 pages. It is by Jamie Ritchey & Dee Beetem.

The art is by Theresa Buffaloe.

cover of issue #2, "Half-Life"
Orac made a prediction shortly before the Altas attempted to reclaim the Liberator--and that prediction came true when the Liberator’s sister ship was destroyed. But Orac’s meddling went deeper than anyone ever guessed and the consequences are much more far-reaching.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2

HELLHOUND continues to improve... Liked the way Vila is looking out for Blood (though after the way he's been showing Morten "the ropes" in social interaction, I rather pity him), teaching him the tricks of the trade. Steffany is growing in depth to the point where I offer an apology for shoving the "Mary Sue" label on her — perhaps a lot of readers have gotten so accustomed to the idea that they automatically assign the label at the first hint of it coming up. Especially liked Payne's partially coming to terms with what the Federation had done to him — rather chilling, knowing that someone took the trouble to physically molest those children, so as to make the illusion more real. Poor Dayna—after all she's been through, I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd tossed Morten out the airlock at the first sign of attempted romance. It's nice to see someone doing something with the character, giving her personality and depth; the character got progressively duller in Fourth Season.

I must admit, however, that the old "long-lost relative" thing is getting a bit overused. Come on, the galaxy is an awful big plaoe; it's kind of stretching things when every time the HELIBOUND crew meets people, there's someone from their past waiting. But that's a minor complaint, and especially in the case of Avon's brother, usually well handled.

One question — it never was mentioned whether Snake-in-the-Grass was ever purged of the plague. If it wasn't, that would admittedly serve as a great way to prevent anyone from taking off with the ship. Or of welcoming Servalan on board with open arms.... "sit down, make yourself at home, have a cup of tea"?

Anyway, looking forward to more.

HALF-LIFE: Very interesting concept, and one that, should you accept the premise, can have a great dead of supporting evidence through the last three seasons. I never have liked the idea that a trained terrorist like Cally wound up being "nurturing mother/resident possessee" on the ship, and when you look particularly at the last season Avon and gets uncomfortably plausible.

The idea of "Rambo Vila" strikes me as rather hilarious, but if his personality were split in two, it makes perfect sense. One has to wonder if, when re-integrated, he regained all his hair... And a simpering Avon, with a list of things to do and always deferring to Blake and Vila really blows the imagination.

You could really go the whole ten yards with this idea. [1]

BLAKE'S DOUBLES was very, very enjoyable. This time I found both stories first rate, and please pass on the highest praise to Theresa Buffaloe. Her portraits of HELLHOUND Avon are magnificent. She has any number of slavering fans wishing for prints of each and every one of them. [2]

Thank you very much for BLAKES DOUBLES #2. I enjoyed it muchly. "Half-Life" was one of the sillier episodes of the old LOGAN'S RUN TV series, but I liked it. I like this B7 version even better. Just one thing — I always thought LOGAN'S RUN missed a great opportunity by not putting the bad guys through the splitting process, too. The same applies to this story. I'd like to know if Servalan and Travis have better halves. Or —ulp!— worse halves.

HELLHOUND is as enthralling as ever. I was especially impressed by the part where it is revealed that Vila is in love with Steffany. It's written so that, at first, it isn't clear whether it's Steffany or Blake whom Vila loves. It must have been done that way intentionally I I guess Steffany is supposed to be a sort of Blake in drag?

Lovely cover, too. I like "Avon's Buns" even better in black and white than in color. (Those neon colors, while completely apropos far HELLHOUND, are a tad hard on the eyes.)[3]

HALF-LIFE: I found it to be an interesting premise and enjoyed the whole story. My very appreciative thanks to the authors, Jamie Ritchey and Dee Beetem. Also my thanks to Laura Virgil for the beautiful cover and Theresa Buffaloe for the accompanying illos; keep up the high quality work ladies. (If I was any type of artist I could get jealous, but I'm not so I'll just sit and enjoy.)

LOG OF THE HELLHOUND: Katrina and Susanne, you’ve done it to me again! I declare myself totally and completely hooked! Once again they have drawn a portrait of an Avon that is to his way of thinking and to quota a line from a favorite song — "Running on Empty." (Ironically, the song's title is "I Still Believe in You Now" by the Desert Rose Band. I think it fits Avon and Steffany’s relationship very well.) I just have one complaint — are you two cliffhanger specialists? Every time you leave me hanging, wondering what in the H-E-double hockey sticks is going to happen next. And those "hints" on the flyers for SOUTHERN SEVEN #5 and #6 do not help the situation any. (I know you have to give "hints" as to what’s coming next, Annie; but I’m getting wired just wondering.) And the cover — MY GOD! Suzan Lovett did a marvelous job. It’s wonderful, simply wonderful. I sat and stared at it far a full 30 minutes just soaking it up. And the illos inside were enough to give me an intense case of the "droolies" (Staring at a picture and trying not to salivate all over it and get it wet). More of Laura's and Theresa's work and some of Leah's and [Gayle F's] as well. And of course Katrina's opening illos. (Sigh. Just one question — will we ever get to see the portrait? And you know which one I mean.)

So once again thanks to all involved and keep up the good work.[4]

I enjoyed BLAKES DOUBLES, both aides. HELLHOUND continues to be captivating and intriguing.

I love all the coincidental meetings and reunions between the many characters. The "non-Blake” story in SS4 was actually my favorite in that zine. I'm glad you included the mysterious hints or I might not have road it and would have missed same complex pieces of the HELLHOUND puzzle.[5]

Thanks far your prompt service in sending BLAKES DOUBLES #2. It was a little confusing seeing the cover for HALF-LIFE when I opened it (I had expected to see the title, BLAKE'S DOUBLES) but I finally figured it out.

There was one aspect about HALF-LIFE that troubled ices How could Cally on Spaceworld join with her other self when the "other" Cally had been blasted to bits an Terminal? I would have assumed that reintegration couldn't occur when one of the two twins was dead—and that they just managed to save the Gauda Prime Blake's last bit of essence by reintegration. Still, I guess it did make it a little easier far the absorption— the Spaceworld Blake's personality prevailed.

It was also interesting, seeing how both Vilas ended up with Cally. Still, their integration didn't seem that challenging.

No, it was Avon's reintegration that posed the biggest obstacle—and was most significant. This one, more than any of the others reminded me of the ST episode, "The Enemy Within." The concerned, complaining Avon needed the ruthless leader Avon; and the "lone-wolf" Avon needed the tempering courage to trust people that his twin had. Quite an interesting contrast in the illos. The grayness of the Spaceworld Avon; the guarded wariness of the Gauda Prime Avon. The final illo, showing the elements taken from both Avons in garb, hairstyle and face, said it all. This time, two rebel leaders may prove to be better than one, in fighting the Federation.[6]

Issue 3 ("Metamorphosis" and "Afterworld")

flyer for issue #3

Blakes Double's 3 was published in 1989. It contains "Metamorphosis" and "Afterworld."

This zine contains a spectacular number of flyers: 18 pages of them (double-sided).

It also contains a page (double-sided) of letters of comment).

Issue 3: Metamorphosis

“Metamorphosis” by Sheila Paulson contains 53 pages.

cover of issue #3, "Metamorphosis" by Leah Rosenthal

The art is by Theresa Buffaloe and Leah Rosenthal.

Tarrant, Vila and Avon have learned to depend on each other, have begun to build a new life, although the scars of Gauda Prime still linger...but a chance meeting in an unexpected place could change their future forever.

Issue 3: Afterworld

“Afterworld” by Dorian Gale contains 46 pages.

The art is by Adrian Morgan.

cover of issue #3, "Afterworld" by Adrian Morgan
A rebel group plans to “liberate” the bodies of Blake’s fallen Seven before Commissioner Sleer can put them on public display as an example of Federation justice...which proves fortuitous to the “bodies” who aren’t dead yet and are very grateful to be liberated!

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3

Thank you very much for Blake's Doubles - 3. It is delicious. "Metamorphosis" is polished and professional, with exceptional characterization. At last, the story I've been waiting for! Sheila tends to write Tarrant as pathetically and unrequitedly devoted to Avon. This is most definitely not a complaint. I see the Tarrant-Avon relationship in much the same light. (The boy has such a talent for martyrdom.) But it is satisfying to see Tarrant's loyalty finally appreciated and returned.

Gale's story is also great. There are some very humorous moments, such as Tarrant's embarrassment at having a pretty female doctor, and Vila's calculating the odds at only 5 to 2, since he had two guns. The alien computer is a promising new character. Is Gale planning a sequel? Hope so! I'd like to see Riker explored a bit. And Tia hasn't gotten Avon yet...

Leah's cover is totally awesome. Adrian's and Theresa's illos are stylish and unique. All in all, a beautiful, top shelf zine.[7]

Blake's Doubles 3 was confusing because the stories were so similar--not in plot, but in both being post-GPs with the focus being on Avon, Vila, and Tarrant. Discussing it with other fans was difficult because we never knew ifwe were talking about the same story from the first.[8]

Blakes Doubles 3 showed up! Two great stories and all those wonderful zine ads. I can't figure out which I like better but I think I'm leaning toward "Afterworld." The characters seem more fleshed out somehow, especially Yang. Even though he was only in it for a short bit, I really liked him. I hope that's not the end of that story (universe?). When I finished it, my mind said, "More!" Do they find the Mirish? Is the teleport working? Does the Blake-clone find Avon? Does Vila get the girl? (It seemed to be going that way.) And most important, do they rename the ship?!

"Metamorphosis" was Sheila's usual best. (How does she do it? I can't even write a coherent letter sometimes. But that's okay, I'm a reader, not a writer.) Her touch with the "give and take" dialogue was excellent. A little note of "We're not quite up to the way we were, but we're trying." Some really good character development, especially with Tarrant. It showed they've learned some lessons and profited by them.

One fault I find with these stories (and a lot ofothers) is the way Vila is ignored. Except for Last Stand he's woefully underplayed. He's constantly used for a catalyst, and then forgotten. Vila is hurt, so Tarrant and Avon come to an understanding. Vila talks to Blake, hey presto!, Blake and Avon are reconciled. But what about Vi/a? His fellow crew are not the only ones who take him for granted. [You might be happy to /mow, Mary, that Leah and I are RIGHT now working on a Last Stand story which will deal heavily with Vi/a's past and the further adventures of the rebellious Last Stand folks... Ed.]

Please keep writing, and please keep publishing. you do seem to attract the best.[9]

Issue 4 ("The Log of the Hellhound Book Seven" and "The Dreamers")

Blakes Double's 4 was printed in 1990.

It contains "The Log of the Hellhound Book Seven" and "The Dreamers."

Issue 4: The Log of the Hellhound Book Seven

“The Log of the Hellhound, Book VII” is by Katrina Larkin & Suzanne Tilley.

cover of issue #4, "The Log of the Hellhound Book Seven"

The art is by Leah Rosenthal, Mariann Howarth, Adrian Morgan, KJA, KK, and Katrina Larkin. It contains “Wonderland,” Rule Britannia,” Shadows More,” “The Wolfmasters of Hearne,” and “The Drowning Man.”

Issue 4: The Dreamers

cover of issue #4, "The Dreamers" - Daphne Ann Hamilton

The Dreamers is by Sheila Paulson. It contains 49 pages.

The art is by KK, SH, and Daphne Ann Hamilton.

This is a sequel to “Game of Humanity” which originally appeared in the zine Probability Square.

Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4

I don't think that Sheila Paulson's "The Dreamers' is up to the standard of her earlier Game of Humanity.[10]


  1. ^ from a letter of comment in "Blakes Doubles" #3
  2. ^ from a letter of comment in "Blakes Doubles" #3
  3. ^ from a letter of comment in "Blakes Doubles" #3
  4. ^ from a letter of comment in "Blakes Doubles" #3
  5. ^ from a letter of comment in "Blakes Doubles" #3
  6. ^ from a letter of comment in "Blakes Doubles" #3
  7. ^ from an LoC in Southern Seven #8
  8. ^ from an LoC in Southern Seven #8
  9. ^ from an LoC in "Southern Seven" #8
  10. ^ from Rallying Call #11