City of Byzantium
|Title:||City of Byzantium|
|Author(s):||Eros, editor is Denetia Arellanes|
|Fandom:||Man from UNCLE|
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City of Byzantium is a slash 80-page novel by Eros. It was edited by Denetia Arellanes, and the art is by KOZ. This is a first time novel with fantasy elements. It was a 1989 Fan Q nominee: Best Novella.
There is a prequel story to this zine in Turquoise Mine.
SummaryFrom a distributor:
Napoleon and Illya are ordered to become more than 'just friends.' Napoleon discovers that this is Waverly's last-ditch attempt to save Illya from himself. If this maneuver to get the Russian to open up and care about someone else, rather than be closed off to the world and a possible danger to everyone around him, doesn't work, then he is scheduled for a complete retesting — physical, mental and psychological. And if the results don't show a significant improvement over the last series of tests, Illya will be retired on medical grounds, with 'standard follow-up procedures' ordered. Routine, periodic checks are made on prematurely retired agents, and if those agents show signs of becoming troublesome, either to the relevant agency or to society at large, the agent quietly disappears. Spies don't suffer from delayed stress syndrome. Not for long.
From the Editorial
An editor's task is to take someone's work and blue pencil it into shape. On this project, however, there was little need for those services. As an author, Eros is one ofthe most talented and perfect in the field of "/" fiction. And, there is nothingI could tell Koz about illustrating that she doesn't already know. Her brilliant conceptulizations perfectly offset Eros' story. In a way, I feel like the middleman (woman?), coordinating words and art and packaging it for mass consumption. I hope that you, the reader, will enjoy this zine.
And, if you do reproduce this zine without consent, all kinds of terrible things will happen, including, but not necessarily limited to incidents of haunting, bad luck, speaking in tongues and unexpected audits from the IRS. Beware!
The Artist CommentsFrom the zine's afterward:
KOZ states she is an incorrigible romantic and, of all the slash fandoms, finds the U.N.C.L.E. universe the most appealing. "Here are two diametrically different individuals who look absolutely fantastic together. The affection and concern between them is apparent on the show and easily interpreted into a physical and romantic evolution ofthe relationship. "When I was first approached by Denetia to illustrate a slash novella, I was hesitant, as very few people perceive the relationship to my liking or to my standards. However, upon reading the piece, I was quickly captivated and became very eager to illustrate this fine story.
Reactions and Reviews
"Every "/" fandom has one particular zine that breaks it out of the steamy, backroom closet and into the light of respectability and legitimacy. For UNCLE, that zine is "City of Byzantium," a novella written by Eros and illustrated by Koz. The story itself is a sequel to "Turquoise Mine Affair" (published in Mobile Ghettos # 1), but it is not a prerequisite that you read "Turquoise" first. In fact, the two stories have very little in common except to have had the table set, as it were, by the first. The plot to "City" is a simple one. IIlya has incurred several injuries, one on the heels of the other, and has been given two weeks to recover. Unfortunately, Solo discovers that, if Kuryakin fails to 'cut the mustard' upon his return, he will be retired as an active field agent. Mr. Waverly feels these injuries have been subconsciously on purpose, that lIIya has a death wish. He finally wrangles, as only Mr. Waverly can, both Solo and Kuryakin into live-in situation, hoping thatis Illya falls in love with Solo, he will cease his earlier race with the Grim Reaper and settle down.Unfortunately, Waverly is right, IIlya is killing himself. IIlya, you see, is a witch and was born with a gift, but a gift that he has denied, hidden until his chakras or energy foci are so out of whack that, unless they are set right and prevented from lapsing back, lIIya will die. And it's all up to Napoleon. he must makes Illya not only face his own dark past, but embrace it and make it part of himself. "City of Byzantium" is a love story- the fact that it is between two men is inconsequential, for it is not a story about sex, but of caring, loving, unconditional commitment to one another. Eros weaves an enchanting tale, permitting the characteristics of both men to come through, IIlya's strength, Solo's fears, their eventual love for each other without compromising them. No limp- wristed, dewy-eyed Kuryakin moping because of Solo's egotistical, maniacal self-interest corrupts this story. No sex for the sake of sex either *sigh* The sex, when it does come, is with a purpose and reason, an action of joy and you can read it in the words and see it in your mind. Or course, this is all helped along by the magnificent illos turned out by Koz. Her ability to put emotions onto the faces, the eyes of her work, is something that sets her apart from the slam-bank style that plagues most N/I art. There eleven full-page illos, plus a color cover, all well done, even if Illya does look a bit too beguiling in a couple. If you are a straight UNCLE reader, looking for a good N/I story to start with or if you're a regular reader of slash, CoB is well worth looking into. Borrow it, buy it, but get a copy of it and enjoy yourself." 
This was the novella that drew me into slash fandom and UNCLE. It's well-written, romanticized without being stupid, and emotionally satisfying." 
"Ah yes, the bond. One of the glories/embarrassments of K/S. Every so often, other fandoms have a story or two that mimics the bond (they've come so close to death together, so often that they've become practically telepathic, and they feel each other get hurt at least...I've only once heard of a non-k/s one where they could tell if the other one was fucking around. That story is actually a great long Muncle story called, City of Bysantium. Great story: Illya is borderline suicidal, but functional (the uncle pysch types think he has been for a long time, he's just too good to quite die on assignment). Napolean has his face rubbed in it, decides he'd do anything to make his friend want to live again. Illya is a witch, a psychiclly talented wiccan type. Sounds awful, right? Saved by the writer's very spare style, I highly recommend it. In fact, I would highly recommend anything by Eros..."
More top-flight writing and characterization, and Koz's illustrations are some of her best work, beautifully printed on parchment paper.