|External Links:||online here|
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.
Reactions and Reviews
(A/B) A B7 story set in our present universe, with Blake as a doctor researching a cure for AIDS and Avon heading a security firm called Scorpio, assigned to protect Blake when someone starts trying to kill him. Irish knows her B7 characters back to front and it's a pleasure to see what she does with Dayna, Soolin, Tarrant and Vila as members of the security team, while Servalan makes a satisfying appearance as Sioban, an IRA terrorist with a nasty line in revenge on Avon. However, the main focus of the story is the relationship between Avon and Blake, instantly attracted to each other but held back by their separate histories and the differences in their backgrounds, with the AU setting providing some off-beat insights into both characters and adding a touch of genuine suspense that makes it harder to guess where the story is headed. A less imaginative writer would probably have cast Avon as the researcher and Blake as the man of action but Irish's version is way more compelling. One of my personal favourites, if you haven't worked that out already.
Why this must be read: Less of a leap between years now - the chart I linked to a few days ago shows that B7 zines were at their peak 1988-91, but B/A (my favourite pairing and the pairing that ultimately dominates the fandom) peaked (at least in zines) around 1993-95 with 72 stories published in 1993 as opposed to 21 in 1988.
This fic was originally published in 1995 as part of the zine Love and Sacrifice, which a review by one of my favourite B/A authors, Nova, describes as containing four stories that "all take some unexpected and interesting approaches to the canon". This fic is what would become known as a mundane AU - but written before they were cool. There are only about 10 other mundane/historical AUs in the fandom - that I know of. Without even having a long-established genre to subvert, 'Compassion' makes some very interesting choices regarding the new lives taken by the characters - as Nova's review observes: 'a less imaginative writer would probably have cast Avon as the researcher and Blake as the man of action', instead we have a fic where Blake is a scientist passionately searching for the cure to AIDS while Avon (who was, in the show as aired, dragged unwilling into Blake's quest for freedom and used to protect him without really meaning to) is the head of Scorpio, a company hired explicitly to protect Blake. The rest of the crew make a good showing and all get interesting and fun moments with Blake (it works well to have him as an outsider, given your usual PGP fic set up, but also here gives B and A a chance to have a different meeting), but it's Avon who goes above and beyond the call of duty - and it's Avon who tells Blake he's an idiot and then works very hard to make sure Blake can give the speech he needs to give.It's excellently and cleverly characterised - I love how hard they both fight for what they believe in and how their attraction to and trust in each other softens that fight. Great dialogue, as well, which I hope will make you accept the somewhat purple (but compelling!) 1990s prose. Nova ends her review by saying - "One of my personal favourites, if you haven't worked that out already." And so I end by saying - "ditto".
Mundane!AUs are one of Katy's particular vices and there are very few in this fandom. Thank goodness that 'Compassion' not only exists, but is excellent. Avon is the head of 'Scorpio', a security company hired to protect Blake, while he works on a new drug that might help cure AIDS. Different jobs, same passion from Blake and exasperation with him from Avon, who now gets to claim that looking after Blake is literally his job and then still goes over and above the call of duty. The rest of the Scopio crew are also well represented.
- from Nova at Judith Proctor's Blake's 7 site
- from Crack Van by Aralias, posted December 14, 2013
- Katy and Molly's 77+ Favourite A/B and A-B Stories, Archived version, August 5, 2013